One year is ending and another is beginning. I've been pondering what to write about. It seems fitting to make it personal.
I am about to turn 70-years-old. It's hard to say that in public. What will people think if they know that about me? Since I'm not the only one experiencing that sort of panic, I thought I would share some of the deep, dark thoughts about it and some of the positive thoughts about it as well.
What's different for me is that I turn 70 in a very public way. I was born on the first day of the Baby Boomer Generation -- 1946. When I was 50, I was interviewed in the newspaper (my 10 minutes of fame). I write about boomer issues, am an advocate for aging gracefully, help companies be more compassionate about age and illness, etc.
Some of the "darker" thoughts I can share are these (but I'll try for a humorous spin):
1. Chronologically, 70 is pretty "old." It's hard to search for work or even if self-employed, to be seen as hire-able. Seventy doesn't look like 40 or even 50.
2. We live in a much younger world. People who have the type of work we want are vibrant and decades behind us. And, the bosses who do the hiring are also probably 30 years younger as well.
3. We are often not respected for our wisdom or knowledge ... but we are offered a chair or a seat or have doors held open for us. That's cool!
4. We haven't kept up with the technology that comes so easily to the next generations. And, wow, are the young ones sometimes really intolerant of that lack of knowledge.
5. Our bodies don't function as well and our skin is saggy.
6. We are more prone to health challenges.
7. Many of us live alone (due to divorce or loss of spouse) ... unless, of course, our children move back in.
8. Some of us live on a fixed income and then have fewer opportunities to travel and have the fun we used to have.
But, as with most things, there is a silver lining.
1. We are old enough to remember movies on the Classic Movie Channel and love seeing them again.
2. We are pros at dancing to Rock and Roll music -- we invented it.
3. We do get the good seats and the doors opened for us.
4. We qualify for many discounts through AARP -- from travel, to car rental, to movie prices.
5. We can say nearly anything we want to say because we don't care what others think.
6. We probably have more idle time because our children are raised ... so we can workout, walk, travel.
7. We can make fun of how are bodies are AND accept them. (I for one, have not had any plastic surgery, etc ... I'm pretty proud to be who I am and how I look.)
8. We are SAGES, WISE PEOPLE, EXPERTS ... all you have to do is ask us and we probably know more about things that our young counterparts are clueless about. Our knowledge and wisdom are amazing.
So, although I'm a bit freaked out about turning 70 on New Year's Day, I'm GRATEFUL for so very much.
1. I've raised an amazing, talented and kind and generous child who I am very proud of and have a great relationship with.
2. I look pretty darn good given the age.
3. I continue to work (self-employed for 30 years) and am always filled with ideas for what is next.
4. I never give up ... I always keep trying.
5. I continue to grow and learn as much as I can and I read voraciously. It keeps my brain sharp.
6. I drive a pretty cool car.
7. I spent the last 10 years living, on my own, in NYC ... a life's dream. I went there on my own and made it. (As Sinatra says, "if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere"--- and I did.)
8. I have wonderful, long-term friends, around the globe and lots of support when I need it.
9. I'm respected for who I am and the work I do.
10. I'm already beginning to invent my next new business ... my mind works well ... and
11. I am THRIVING after cancer and have been cancer-free for over six years now. So, turning 70 is a GIFT for sure.
Now, I hope you might take a few moments to assess where you are in your life -- the pros and cons and then finish up with the things you are grateful for. This will give you a great perspective for entering the new year.
Ann Fry, MSW, is a Professional Certified Coach, a Professional Speaker, and a cancer survivor/thriver. She coaches executives and works with people who have a desire to re-evaluate and re-invent their lives or their corporate culture.