Have you reached 60? Are you excited about it or are you being dragged kicking and screaming?
I celebrated this milestone birthday last year and I couldn’t wait. That sounds weird, but because I’ve never identified myself by my age, it was exciting to be reaching a new decade. My guest this week, on the Over 50 & Thriving series, is Trisha, an author who has written a book ‘Embracing 60’. The book is due for release at the end of the year so be sure to connect with Trisha through the links at the end of her post.
In Trisha’s post for the series, she shares her thoughts on her experience facing the ‘6-0 milestone marker’ as she calls it and will resonate with many of us.
RIP 59 – Embracing 60
I didn’t start dreading the 6-0 milestone marker, oh…until my 59th birthday. Okay, I probably started thinking nasty thoughts about that upcoming birthday a few years earlier as I saw how fast it was approaching. But the day of my 59th birthday – that’s when it really hit home. This was my last year in my 50’s. Next was the 60’s and that was the age of grandmas. Even though I am a grandma – that’s beside the point.
Forty didn’t bother me. I was ecstatic when I hit that birthday. Fifty didn’t faze me either. I passed that one with a huge smile on my face. This next one (the one that came a few weeks ago) wasn’t going down quite so well.
Knowing that I had a whole year ahead of me, each day getting 24 hours closer to ‘The Big One’, I knew I had to do something. I try to be optimistic and look on the bright side of things. Some days it’s easier to do that than others. While most of the time it’s fairly easy, there are days that it takes conscious effort to remain positive. This was one of those moments in time.
So, what do writers do? We write about things. I decided to write a book. Embracing 60. The title was already there. By golly, I was going to learn to embrace this upcoming birthday if it took every ounce of effort I had.
I did fairly well with this, as I worked on the book – and my attitude towards 60 – over the year. But, it wasn’t all a total success. The night before my birthday I went to bed just after midnight. I was laying there, trying to go to sleep and thoughts whirled through my head. It’s after midnight. It’s the 20th. I’m 60 now.
Then another thought butted its way into my mind. No, I’m not. I’m not 60 until seven something in the morning. I’m still 59 for another seven plus hours!
Even with this last brief moment of resistance, I slid into the 60’s whether I wanted to or not. And overall, I find that there’s nothing really much different. In fact, I think it possibly made my 84-year old father feel older than I was feeling. He commented that now he felt old because he had a 60-year old daughter!
What I found though is that I’ve really enjoyed this past year, even though I dragged my feet through each of the last 365 days. But, as I’m often reminded – it beats the alternative!
As I’ve bemoaned the fact that 60 was ahead, staring me in the face, I looked around and saw where others didn’t make it to even this golden year.
Children die young, before they even had a chance to reach adulthood. Mothers die, leaving young children. One touching letter circulated on Facebook, written by a young woman that was dying and never had a chance to get married and have children. And here I was griping about the big numbered year coming up.
I felt ashamed of myself. Yes, it’s getting older. Yes, I have more wrinkles and flabbier arms. My skin isn’t as supple. Age spots are multiplying like rabid rabbits. But I’m alive. I’m healthy. I’m seeing my grandchildren grow up. My life is filled with so many blessings that I shouldn’t complain at all about this bigger number. I’ve learned to embrace it after all.
In my journey over the past year I’ve discovered other delightful women that embrace their age. They’re celebrating with joy and delight. I met Sue as she sizzles her way to sixty and beyond. I met Leanne as she crests the hill embracing her midlife years. I discovered women that celebrated fifty and sixty by entering marathons and teaching martial arts. I read of one woman that became an accidental fashion icon in her older years. And I read of Eileen Kramer, a woman who celebrated her 103rd birthday by choreographing a performance and playing the lead role of the 17-year old princess.
Eileen was interviewed and shared her thoughts about 80 – a year far ahead of my dreaded 60. She said,
“80’s boring! Never let yourself be 80…Just skip 80. 103 is quite interesting.”
What a spirit this delightful woman has.
So even though I joked about wearing black for mourning on June 19th, the last day of my 59th year, I didn’t. I think I’ll take a dose of Eileen’s medicine and learn to embrace whatever year I’m celebrating that year. If there’s a 103-year old woman out there running circles around me, I’d better step up my game and prove that being 60 is the greatest joy.
How did you react to your milestone birthday?
Share your experience with us in the comments below.
Let’s celebrate life and aging with an ageless attitude!