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On Turning Sixty . . .



Looking back, I accepted my birthdays quite happily and proudly except for the last year before the decade turned and the first year of the new decade.

For instance, I grieved turning 19, as I knew this was the last year I could call myself a teenager, and grieved a little more at 20, as I knew I was not only no longer a teenager, but never will be again.

This happened at ages 29 and 30, as I knew I was leaving "young adulthood" behind.

Again, at ages 39 and 40, I knew I was definitely middle aged.

At 50, I realized I was medically a senior.

And now, at 59 turning to 60, I definitely was a senior!

Sometimes, I am unexpectedly reminded that I am getting older, such as the time I visited a beautiful library in downtown Brooklyn, that was filled with young people.  Finally I found a seat, among a large group of teenagers, and I settled down to my work.  Noticed adults pacing up and down between the tables.  Finally I got up and asked the librarian if it was OK to sit where I was, and she answered that I was sitting among high school students taking their SAT's!  The adults walking around them where proctors!  Apologized, and moved my stuff.  This scene reminded me so much of myself when I was their age, and how different I am now to what I was then.

Somehow, I seem to see my life by decades.

0 - 10  Child

10 - 20  Preteen and teen

20 - 30  Young adult

30 - 40  Young middle-aged

40 - 50  Older middle-aged

50 - 60 Young senior

Interestingly, the last few years I dream about being 18 - 22 years old and not using mobility aids (a cane)!

In my case, I feel like in my early 40's, except when I am reminded that I am 60 when I look in the mirror or notice I suffer more aches and pains than in the past.

Recently I had what I call, "The Linear Dream."  At the time I was 58.  There was a marked linear line, marked off by feet.  At the other end of the linear line, was my two year old great niece, standing, facing me, at the two foot mark.  In my case, I was at the sixty foot mark, having stepped forward to the fifty-eight foot mark, as I was fifty-eight years old.  Know the dream was about age, but, beyond that, I do not know what it means.

Somehow, I feel more comfortable about aging, when I think in terms of "the circle of life," rather than linearly.  

Here are some of the changes I have observed in myself due to aging:

  • Fear of being "out of date."
  • Fear of being alone (dying alone).
  • Don't have as much a sense of purpose as I used to.
  • Can't be as much "hands on" as I used to (accepting physical projects)
  • More "word finding" difficulties.
  • Having trouble with spelling and grammar.
  • Chronic pain.
  • Can't run.
  • Less balance.
  • Feel "underfoot" by society at large.
  • More spiritual.
  • Less eye/hand coordination.
  • Difficulty learning new material.
  • Feel less confident in finding a partner.
  • Don't feel needed by my family.
  • Can't walk far.
  • Difficulty hearing with background noise.
  • Intermittent tremor.
  • Greater difficulty losing weight and keeping it off.
  • Can't see as well, requiring a magnifier as well as glasses.
  • Dry and thinning skin.
  • Dry scalp and hair falling out at the scalp, as well as thinning and finer hair (don't mention the gray!)
  • "Age spots."
  • Dry mouth and eyes.
  • Easy bruising.       

May I ask how you have coped with aging?


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I’m 62 so a tad older but similar in age. I’m more self-conscious about my voice and face than about my age spots, easily bruised arms, and stuff like that. I think that most people are self-conscious and worried. It’s part of the human condition. The trick is to have awareness of our feelings, let them breathe within ourselves, but not allow them to hold us back. 

Carpe dium, make every day as precious as you can.


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Dear Emma,

My mindset is like that of a 40 year old, but my body tells me different.

It is like a conflict.  It might have to do with that I live in a senior apartment complex.

Saw your picture with your friends, and I feel I would fit in with that crowd!

Your friend,


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Happy belated birthday, and I hope it was as lovely as you are.  :)  

As for society at large, make them give way!  Dont' let them put you under any feet!  :) There is one benefit we tend to forget as we age, along with all the changes you outlined, comes knowledge and the realization that we don't have to care anymore and can be who we want to be.  I'm working again, but my hair is still blue and they can like it for example, where I spent most of my youth too scared to do things I wanted that were outside the norm.  There is still much to revel in my friend, and I wish you joy exploring and find it all!

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