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Sixty IS the new Sixty!

September 21, 2011

I'm just plain sixty!

Now that I am sixty I can say with absolute sincerity:

“I’m not the new fifty. I’m also not the old fifty. I’m not next year’s seventy or last year’s thirty-five. I’m just plain sixty!”  

I don’t really  know whether or not I look or feel any older or younger than I should or than my mother did at sixty. She was pretty spry right up until the time she was 95. What I do know is I sure like our styles and attitudes better than hers! I like the emotional and practical freedom we’ve obtained that has allowed us the luxury of sitting around discussing whether or not we feel like our age.

A generation ago, sixty year old women were pretty gosh darn busy just living.  It makes me wonder if  we might benefit from adopting just one or two of their archaic beliefs and remember the value of living in the skin we have, at just the age we are.  Ours seems a fruitless exercise and frankly, I’m tired of the conversation.  Like all clichés, it misses the point.

It is really not about how old, or how young, we look. It’s not even about how old or young we feel. It’s not about whether or not we get the recognition we think we deserve or whether we feel invisible because we have gray hair. The real issues is: Are we happy?

The real reason we are hung up on this old and new age thing is that we are trying to reassure ourselves that there is still enough time to find happiness and because we are terrified that there is not.

What I know to be true is this: It’s time to get the show on the road. It’s time to quit hiding behind our fears. It’s time to quit peeking out from behind our protective masks and just throw them into the wind.  It’s time to be the wonderful, wise women we were intended to be, no matter what our age or hair color. Only then will we be able to answer the question “am I happy” and like the answer.

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38 Comments leave one →
  1. September 21, 2011 2:31 pm

    Wonderful post Dorothy that hits home in so many ways. You are spot on when you say the real issue is not how old we are but how happy we are. BTW I love your new profile picture. You have happiness written all over 🙂

  2. September 21, 2011 2:34 pm

    Thank you Kathleen! I’m celebrating sixty years of living (and surviving to tell the tale!).

  3. September 21, 2011 3:23 pm

    AMEN to your post, Dorothy! And I agree wholeheartedly with Kathleen about your new profile pic! Lovely!

  4. September 21, 2011 5:17 pm

    Another spot-on post, Dorothy! Once again, you’ve written what I’ve been thinking.

    It IS about being happy. Our own version of that — whether we call it joy, well-being, serenity, peace, meaning, fulfillment, etc — is what we all want. And so many of us are not clear what will bring us that. So we go looking for it, as the song says, “in all the wrong places.”

  5. September 21, 2011 5:27 pm

    Dorothy, you have taken the words right out of my heart! Thank you so much for writing what I am feeling but could not put into words!

  6. toni lamberti permalink
    September 21, 2011 6:18 pm

    on my 72nd birthday this past spring, my status said “72 is the new 72” so, yes, i totally agree with you about that and your last paragraph, that what you know to be true, is indeed very much true. 12 years beyond you (both the year of the rabbit) i still work on that……..being the wise women we were intended to be.

    • Amy permalink
      October 28, 2011 7:27 am

      just love this certainty- at 59 years old, I feel precisely the same way! To quote the wise and wonderful Pop-Eye- I yam what I yam! And I am loving this moment right this minute…

  7. September 21, 2011 6:48 pm

    Awesome, Dorothy! You are so right! We should be concentrating on finding what makes us feel like we are alive, not whether or not we look as good as a 40 year old. Of course we don’t. But we SHOULD be wiser, more serene, more content and yes, happier! Thanks for the usual great insights. I love it!

    • September 22, 2011 11:54 am

      Mardron, I completely agree re focusing on what makes us feel more alive. This reminds me of my all time favorite quote . . .

      “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” Howard Thurman

  8. September 21, 2011 6:52 pm

    Please enjoy this great piece by Dorothy Sander!

  9. September 21, 2011 8:22 pm

    I just discovered your blog and am enjoying it. I wrote a song that’s titled Passing for Young in A New Wrinkle, my musical revue on aging. That particular song focuses on the fetish to appear young and the refrain goes 70 is the new 50, 60’s the new 40, 50s the new 30, turn back the clocks! I look forward to connecting more with you and would like to introduce myself and my creative aging work (and blog) via my website, http://www.sagesplay.com….here‘s to appreciating being where we are without all the commercially induced anxiety.

  10. September 21, 2011 8:54 pm

    AMEN!!!!

  11. JANET permalink
    September 21, 2011 10:01 pm

    NO WAY..YOU SURE DONT LOOK 60..YOU LOOK AMAZING!!! I WILL BE 60 IN 5 MOS..ABSOLUTELY DO NOT KNOW WHERE MY LIFE HAS GONE!!! IVE LOST 12 PEOPLE I LOVED IN LAST FEW YRS..AGED 50 TO 58. I LIVE EVERYDAY FEELING LIKE IM ON BORROWED TIME & DO NOT KNOW HOW TO GET BEYOND THIS ..I USEDTO HAVE HOPES, PLANS & DREAMS..NOW, I FEEL LIKE THIS IS ALL BEHIND ME..LIKE MY LIFE IS BEHIND ME, SOME DAYS THERES NOT MUCH TO GO ON FOR..I SO WISH I COULD GET BEYOND THIS..BUT DONT KNOW HOW!!! GOD BLESS YOU!!!!

    • September 22, 2011 11:57 am

      Janet, it sounds like you’ve had a very tough few years. That is a LOT of loved ones to lose. And a great deal of grieving to do. It’s never too late to be happy, never too late for hopes and plans and dreams. I hope you find your way to what you’re longing for. All the best to you.

    • September 22, 2011 12:48 pm

      Janet, how tough for you. It’s hard to feel creative and optimistic about the future when you’ve suffered so many losses. I will never be able to make sense out of experiences like yours, but I’m praying that you’ll get some breathing room and that life will start showing you it’s positive side soon, All my best!

  12. September 22, 2011 8:27 am

    *Stands and applauds* BRAVO! I love this post. I’m so utterly DISGUSTED at myself for getting sucked into the youth-worship culture and considering botox. (I’m 45.) To hell with that! I love being an “older woman” and I’m happier than I have ever been. Can’t say that about Britney or Lindsey now, can you?

  13. September 22, 2011 12:45 pm

    Dorothy,

    Congratulations and welcome to my decade! You are beautiful inside and out! (great profile pic)

  14. September 22, 2011 6:23 pm

    Thanks for all your great responses! I closed my computer after I posted this blog and was so surprised to see so many wonderful friends had read and commented. It’s all of you that gives me hope and keeps me going. Knowing we’re not alone in our pain is sometimes the very best medicine we can take. Bravo to all of you!

  15. Caroline permalink
    September 23, 2011 11:05 am

    Thank you very much for your brand new (to me) perspective on aging well! Of course, the real question is “Am I happy”? That’s it, the whole thing. You’ve taken a muddled, confusing issue and made it crystal clear! You’ve given me a terrific and wonderful gift.

  16. September 23, 2011 11:29 am

    Maybe the basic issue is the language: “how OLD are you?”…We even ask little kids…How OLD they are Why is the word “OLD” even coming into play here? Sooooooo…OK…. it’s idiomatic…and happens to have that @#$% OLD word in there with all its attendant connotations…UGH!

    • September 23, 2011 12:47 pm

      Lillian, You have an excellent point. See my response to Michelle. Your comment made me think about this experience. Language is so powerful! D

  17. September 23, 2011 12:21 pm

    So wonderful that you take the time to help so many through what may be and definitely can be, and difficult transition to make…adding years to our lives. For me the toughest birthday was my 25th. I kept thinking in terms of “quarter of a century old – OMG!”. I think that year taught me a lesson and that is to not think in terms of numbers, but rather in terms of enjoying my every year. Quite often I am amazed when I hear a woman deny her real age and try to ‘dumb down’ herself chronologically. To me I believe every year I’ve lived has been earned and I’ll be darned if I deny a single one – they were earned!!!
    Thank you so much for helping women come to terms with their selves. A wonderful mission and you’re doing it so well. By the way, love your new look!

    • September 23, 2011 12:45 pm

      Thank you Michelle! You were fortunate to have come to this important conclusion at such an early age. It is, indeed, about enjoying our “every years”. While homeschooling my youngest son I came to the conclusion that the segregation of ages in school creates a real disadvantage to people when they become adults. It creates “age” obsession. I remember how I felt in high school about the kids in the class ahead of me, as well as, the kids in the class behind me. We were somehow “different”. More than, less than. when in reality kids are kids, people are people. Using this same example, it was my experience that homeschooled children, because they are around all different ages all the time, they are more comfortable with all ages and respect and appreciate all ages. Let’s just keep celebrating who we are today, in this moment, without quantifiers! I always appreciate your input Michelle. DS

      • September 24, 2011 5:47 pm

        I think you might be right about the school thing. I was a year younger (and in some cases more) than the other kids from the time I started first grade. They double promoted me (this was in a parochial school too) so I ended up being 16 in the 12th grade. Apparently (now that I read your words) may have contributed to my always wishing I was older, because naturally I did not “develop” when all the other girls were and was much younger emotionally too. So the end result is what it is now – glad to be older. OMG! What an oxymoron this turned out to be – LOL!

  18. September 23, 2011 12:32 pm

    So wonderful that you take the time to help so many through what may be and definitely can be, a difficult transition to make…adding years to our lives. For me the toughest birthday was my 25th. I kept thinking in terms of “quarter of a century old – OMG!”. I think that year taught me a lesson and that is to not think in terms of numbers, but rather in terms of enjoying my every year. Quite often I am amazed when I hear a woman deny her real age and try to ‘dumb down’ herself chronologically. To me I believe every year I’ve lived has been earned and I’ll be darned if I deny a single one – they were earned!!! The almost 62 years I’ve lived have come with a price and belong to ME!
    Thank you so much for helping women come to terms with their selves. A wonderful mission and you’re doing it so well. By the way, love your new look!

  19. September 24, 2011 4:25 pm

    Great, positive post. I’m 63 and some days I still can’t believe it. I’ve been following my writing dream and am almost through with my fourth book, Forever Young-Blessing or Curse, about a 55 year old widow who takes a pill to be 24 forever, then finds out the pill may be the catalyst for her husband’s death. I starting writing this book when I realized I was actually getting old.

    I’m having great fun pretending to be young again in my book, but in real life, I’m not sure if I’d want to go through all that again. Still, sometimes when I go shopping for clothes I wish I had the figure I once had, and also wish I didn’t have to dye my hair to get it back to its original color. (g)

    In many respects, I’m glad to be right where I am age-wise.

    Morgan Mandel

    • September 24, 2011 5:23 pm

      I hear ya Morgan! I started writing about the time I turned 50. The first book I wrote was about a younger women as well, but now I’d like to try my hand at something with an older woman. Your book sounds interesting! Is it available in stores? I would think women our age would enjoy reading stories about their contemporaries, at least occasionally!

  20. September 28, 2011 2:02 am

    Great post Dorothy. I think life is all about acceptance, and living each moment to the full. We’ll never be as young as we are today, so if we have a dream why wait? Life life, live your dreams whatever age!

  21. September 28, 2011 2:18 pm

    Wonderful post! My best friend and I got a new fifth wheel this last week and the only thing she asks of me is that I stop saying, “I’m 60 now and…” So what? Yes, I am, but it seems that my need to keep saying it is interfering with the message that I’m giving. I’ve resolved to stop it. My age isn’t the important part. I have a life that is blessed beyond my wildest dreams! (and I can still say that after she sideswiped a short palm tree with the new rig!) We’re both fine. Blessed. Indeed. She wrote about it on her blog: http://wp.me/s1lmv2-dale

  22. vicki permalink
    October 4, 2011 12:00 am

    oh dorothy, i love you! this is wonderful… vicki 🙂

  23. October 17, 2011 7:10 am

    I love your attitude and your posts Dorothy. I love it that most of my friends (mostly well over 60 now) are still living fulfilling and busy lives. Many of us starting out on new ventures and taking up new hobbies that we haven’t had time for during our working lives. I share all your posts on my fb for babyboomers retiring.

    Whatever our age we should embrace life, count our blessings, be thankful for every day and be happy.

    • October 17, 2011 9:09 am

      I’m so glad you stopped by Pat! Your website is wonderful and I am now connected with your Facebook page and look forward to spending some time reading your articles. I experienced a similar midlife upheaval in my life and while it’s over the top stressful at the time it is a great opportunity to figure out what you really want out of life and to re-frame it in such a way to make it happen. When I was caring for my mother I discovered the same thing you did, little to no support. This has changed radically due to women like you. Thank you. Your support is extremely valuable. I look forward to following you and continuing to “compare notes”! Dorothy

  24. November 8, 2011 1:24 pm

    I love it: Sixty is the new Sixty! Not the new 50 or 40 or whatever. I don’t know why I haven’t struggled as much with the idea of aging as some people seem to. I think a big help was realizing that most of what we know for sure about aging isn’t true. How liberating it’s been to discover that growing older does not inevitably bring a precipitous decline of mind and body.

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