“When grace is joined with wrinkles, it is adorable. There is an unspeakable dawn in happy old age.” Victor Hugo
When you turn sixty, you’re entering the golden years of life. That’s what they tell you – who are they anyway and what do they know? Unlike most women, I wasn’t upset or depressed about this milestone. I’d begun my own business. I was busier than ever and felt I had purpose.
When we turned fifty, our life came crumbling down on us. My husband lost his successful advertising agency and we lost everything when we had to file for bankruptcy – our house went into foreclosure – our vehicles were seized. For a year or so, life was pretty dreary.
Our children were leaving the nest – or abandoning ship, depending how you look at it. In other words, our time of middle age could be construed as grounds for divorce or at least the loony bin. Still the pledge we made to each other 25 years prior meant something to us. So we pushed on.
At sixty another business or two was started. My husband discovered his love for wood sculpture and began creating works of art for some of the resorts and luxury homes. I, with all my years of volunteering in drama productions, focused my attention on building a children’s theatre company. When God closes a door, he also opens another. We continue to bump into closed doors, but have never failed with God at our side.
We were looking ahead to retirement, but the expenses incurred through average spending, were more than our income, so we had to downsize. De-cluttering is necessary for a number of reasons. Leaving that job to your children after your demise is just another thing for them to deal with. Also the longer you put it off, the harder the job becomes. The house was sold and we moved into a smaller one. Our expenses were cut in half, but our only source of income was Social Security. This meant we had to continue working to make ends meet.
During this decade doctors ask if you feel safe at home? – How many times have you fallen? You’re being prepared for old age whether you like it or not. You start holding on to things to help you stay upright. You ask friends how they are and the proceed with a litany of ailments that you can relate to. Prepare for a long answer.
During this time, we took my aging mother into our home. We had an extra bedroom and she needed constant attention because of her dependence on prescription drugs. It’s not easy taking over the role of parent to your parents, but again we muddled through. She lived with us for a year. The whole experience gave me another few years to enjoy her company.
While in this age group, we can easily fall into a trap. We sit in our chair, watch game shows on TV, look out the window, read a book or three and wait to die. Another much better option is to find a part time job, volunteer, join an exercise class, get involved in something you love to do and do it. I prefer the second option. I’d like to be around when the clock turns eighty. How about you?