Sometimes Mondays
Unraveling . . . On Paper

Thinking About . . . 60

Way back . . . in 1996 . . . as my mom was getting ready to celebrate her 60th birthday, she struggled.  The whole concept of aging was hard for her to accept, and she fought it.

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(My mom and dad in July 1996, as they celebrated their 40th anniversary -- days after my mom's 60th birthday.)

I think that, somehow, for my mom, "turning 60" meant walking through a door clearly marked ELDERLY.

I didn't understand this at all at the time, and quite frankly, I probably didn't try that hard.  Because as my mom was turning 60, I was 37.  With a 7-year-old and a 4-year-old. . .  

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And a job.  And a dog.  And a husband who worked really hard.  And we were building our cottage.  And I was applying for grad school.  So.  Probably not at my most sympathetic.

And especially because my mom was vibrant, active, beautiful!  Not . . . OLD.  And certainly not on the verge of elderly.

But, at 60, she was mourning her younger self.  The smooth skin.  The tiny waist.  Jeans that fit.  Feeling good in a bathing suit.  A sense that life had meaning and purpose . . . and a future.  She was beginning to feel time slipping away.  And she didn't like it at all.

Eventually, she snapped out of it and got through it.  She turned 60 and settled into her life and pretty soon, we kind of forgot the difficulties she had . . . turning 60.

Fast forward . . . 23 years.

Now, it's me on the cusp of 60.

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I've been thinking a lot about my mom.  Remembering what a hard time she had when she was standing where I am today.  And I've been thinking about how . . . I don't feel like my mom did.  At all.  Not even a little bit.

It makes me wonder why.  What's the difference?  Why was 60 so hard for my mom . . . but not for me?  

First, there's the cancer thing.  Once I got through chemo, I just didn't care about how old I was anymore.  Because getting older . . . means you're still alive!  And, for me, that's a gift.  (More birthdays!  Yes, please!)

So there is that perspective.  But even without the cancer thing, I just don't feel bad about getting older.  Sure, there are things that just suck about aging (lack of collagen in the skin, for example, or degrading eyesight; colonoscopies; the shingles shot. . .to name just a few), but generally, I feel READY to to turn 60.  
Ready to embrace my years -- ALL of them.  
Ready to tackle aging -- with intention!

Because, really.
What ELSE is there to do about it?

So.
As I turn 60 next year, I'm going to be exploring . . . aging with intention.  I want to embrace turning 60 (and 70) (and 80) . . . 

  • feeling as good as I can
  • feeling as happy as I can
  • feeling as badass as I can

So stay tuned.
(Because we're all in this together.)

Comments

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Carole

Growing older may be a bummer but, as I always say, it sure beats the alternative! I know you will rock your 60s!

Juliann

Life was not so kind to women in our mothers’ years. 60 probably did seem old and an ending. We have so many women who are well past 60 and doing amazing things so it doesn’t feel as daunting. I would not want to be getting younger (although the dry skin and blurry vision - yuck). So much pressure. I think you have a great outlook!

Patty

I'm 100% with you! I'm not so happy about the wrinkles, which seem to be arriving fast and furiously but whatevs! We are going to rock 2019! xo

margene

We have more options than many of the women in past generations and we know how to use our use our skills. I've come to embrace my aging face (no PS for me!) and I know I can replace the aging knees or hips when the time comes. Doing what we can to stay healthy, happy, and badass is the right thing to do!

Bonny

Now THAT is a great attitude! I struggled more with getting older with my 61st birthday and stumbled upon "compressed morbidity". It's basically maximizing healthy lifespan and minimizing the time spent suffering from chronic illness. My father spent 25 years suffering from various chronic illnesses and it greatly reduced his enjoyment of the last years of his life, and I'm now doing everything I can to prevent that. So here's to healthy, happy, and badass!
P.S. I see so much of you in your beautiful mother.

Vera

Yup - 100% with you. I've felt this way for some time (and I turned 65 in September). I'm more comfortable in my skin today than I was in my 20's or 30's...or even 40's. I'm happier with myself. The aging side effects are not always fun, as you mention, but I'm willing to put up with them.

I also agree with others that it was much different for our parents as they aged than it is for us.
As I ended my comment yesterday - onward and upward! Enjoy the trip.

Vicki

YEAH, BABY!! As a freshly minted 60-year-old (+ a week!), I am SO WITH YOU! My mother fought the aging process in every conceivable way... to the point of delusion, to be truthful. She'd have been 80 this year, and I just can't even imagine...

HERE'S TO IT ALL!! xoxo

Debbie

I celebrated my "Beatles Birthday" in September when I was serenaded with "When I'm 64" and what a lot of fun we had! Here's to good health, good times, and a badass attitude!

Jo

You go girl! The best part of each new birthday is the fun, the love, and everything we enjoy—our families, our friends, the things we like to do. And mostly, just keepin on, keepin on!

Jane

Whoo hoo for you! Lately I have also been thinking about aging and reading a few essays about aging. I sure like the idea of aging with intention and focusing on the quality of life. Right now I'm embracing life as often as I can as much as I can. Let's head off on another trip around the sun.

Dee

I am looking to you for inspiration on how to grab hold of this aging thing and not look back!!!

Mary

Great post, Kym! I love "aging with intention" and look forward to watching you blaze the trail for all of us who are coming along behind you!

Kat

I love the aging with intention idea. And, my grandmother definitely struggled with the aging process right up to her death at 87. I don't want to be that person... life is way to short to fight a process that we should embrace wholeheartedly! Why even if just for the wisdom factor alone... I will soon be 58 and I am happy and ready to continue on this journey!

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