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What Turning 60 Means

Updated on August 13, 2015
PAINTDRIPS profile image

As a Baby-Boomer, Denise and millions of others are becoming senior citizens. She explores what it means to be over 60 today.

Denise McGill, photo of me by me.
Denise McGill, photo of me by me.
Me and my little sister.
Me and my little sister. | Source

A Significant Summer

So this is a significant Summer for me. I was born in August 1954, that means this Summer I turn 60. The interesting thing is that when I turned 30, it was no big deal. My sister had a melt down when her turn came but I felt really good about myself and my future at 30. When 40 came, I was too busy to notice. There were some life-altering things happening with my family, my teenagers and my marriage, so grieving over age just didn’t really happen. Also 50 came and went rather peacefully. My husband (28 days older than me) and I were happy to have lived through another year and our marriage was strong, our jobs still relatively secure. However this past decade has held some twists and turns we didn’t see coming at 50. We both found ourselves jobless and started working on self-employment, which sometimes flourishes and sometimes leaves us wanting. We downsized into a smaller place than we had ever imagined we would live in but found we were happier than ever before with the smaller price and utility bill that came with it. This year we have faced the 60’s together. It will be an interesting decade.

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Source

Living on borrowed time.

But the most significant thing about this year for me is that my father died at 60. He was so young. Not even retired yet. They found a brain tumor in October the previous year, but it was one of those tumors that even with surgery, always grows back. By December of his 60th year he was gone. I can hardly believe that was 23 years ago. And so I am now the age he was when he passed. It makes me feel from here on, that I am living on borrowed time. That I somehow have something my father was denied. I feel humbled and hurt, dejected and determined. It is a whirl of emotion. I am determined to live purposefully for him. It is as if I am packing into my years ahead, what he could not have; I’m living with and for him. I remember reading recently about the life of Jim Henson who felt he had to live for his brother after his brother died in a car accident at the age of 21. I actually understand the sentiment. I feel that way too. Each sunrise takes on a whole new meaning. I am grateful for each one and count them all as blessings filled with promise.

My own Fall design in Photoshop.
My own Fall design in Photoshop.
My Princess Leah look.
My Princess Leah look. | Source
I used to work for a radio station.  I have one of those "gather round kids; I'm going to tell you a story" voices.
I used to work for a radio station. I have one of those "gather round kids; I'm going to tell you a story" voices. | Source

If you were born in the 50's...

Being born in 1954 means that we are at the tail end of the Baby Boomers (1945-1955).

It means a good number of the Baby Boomers are already retired or soon will be. Becoming a sexagenarian isn’t nearly as encouraging as it sounds.

It means I can laugh, cough, sneeze, fart and pee, all at the same time.

It means I can order off the Denny’s Senior Menu.

It means I get carded again but now by the cashier or theater ticket taker checking to see if I’m old enough to get the Senior Discount.

It means I only have a couple years before officially retiring and getting Social Security (if they still offer that by that time).

It means I’m old enough to know better but too old to care anymore.

It means those character lines and laugh lines are just plain old wrinkles.

It means I get more doors held open for me by men and women not being chivalrous but just helping an old lady along. I’ve decided I actually like it.

It means when I go to the Senior Center, people don’t try to help me find my mom or grandma.

It means all those times as a snarky teen when I made fun of the flappy skin hanging off my grandma’s arms, is now coming back to haunt me.

It means if you had long hair you may have been one of those girls sporting a Princess Leah hair do.

It means if you needed glasses you may have been one of those unfortunates wearing the "cat's eyes" glasses.

It means the obituaries have become interesting reading, almost like a high school yearbook.

Arnold Bennett said that turning 60 means you have spent twenty years in bed and over three years eating. That is humbling.

Washington Irving wrote that after you turn 60 your mischief is mainly in your head. Good to know.

My mother and father with me in 1954.
My mother and father with me in 1954.

Regular Exercise

Do you get regular exercise?

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Happy

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I just hate those glasses.
I just hate those glasses. | Source
Me and my sisters.
Me and my sisters. | Source

Turning 60

How do you feel about getting older?

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So what can we do to get the most out of these years ahead?

* Read more

I think reading and writing make me more mentally alert (and that is what the world needs: more lerts). I feel sharp and informed when I read. I feel sure this will be a bedtime habit that will continue in my future. But writing as well as, reinforces what I have read and makes it easier to remember and save what I read. My interests are varied and I think mixing biographies and romance novels, do-in-yourself and psychology books, make me a better, well-rounded person.

* Take care of my health, my blood pressure.

See a doctor regularly. Do regular breast exams.

* Eat better

My weight has always been a battle for me and as I get older, I can see this battle is not getting easier. I need to be more vigilant with myself about overeating which is a factor in many diseases and disorders in aging.

* Exercise more

I hate exercise but see the benefit when I bother to do it. This has got to be more of a priority with me in the future and would certainly help with my weight issues.

* Visit with and enjoy my grandkids more

This shouldn’t be a difficult task, however I don’t like driving much and my grandkids don’t live nearby. When I get there, I’m ecstatic, but the drive is exhausting. I just need to bit the bullet and swallow the frog.

* Keep learning

Never stop learning. I think it keeps me young to be continually learning and trying new things. I actually don’t understand my peers who refuse to get a computer or learn how to use a cell phone. Technology is a fabulous thing. It is going to continue with or without me, so I might as well embrace it while I can. Not to mention, the Internet is a great innovation, making the world a smaller place than ever before.

In 1976-77, I lived in Spain. It took 6 weeks for a letter to get to my mother in California. A trans-Atlantic phone call cost us $25 per minute (hundreds of dollars today) and was reserved for the birth announcement. What I wouldn’t have given to be able to Skype her and ask questions about my newborn or just visit on email. Today we don’t have to wait a day before we can get answers from loved ones mail. This is a great thing.

I heard someone say once that the day they stop learning is they day that they die. This makes perfect sense to me. I want to learn something new everyday, even if it is something I didn’t know about myself or my honey.

* Remember I’m not alone

There are lots of people turning 60. I’m in the company of greats:

Katey Sagal, (Married with Children); Oprah Winfrey, actress and talk show host; Billy Mumy, (Lost in Space); John Travolta, (Welcome Back Kotter, Pulp Fiction); Ron Howard (American Graffiti, Happy Days); Catherine Bach, (Dukes of Hazzard); Jackie Chan, martial art actor; Dennis Quaid (Dreamscape, Right Stuff); Jerome ‘Jerry’ Seinfeld (Seinfeld); Barry Williams, (Greg-Brady Bunch); Denzel Washington, actor; Scott Bakula, St Louis MO, actor (Quantum Leap, Enterprise); Just to name a few.

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    • PAINTDRIPS profile image
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      Denise McGill 2 years ago from Fresno CA

      Good point, Robert. I remember watching "computers" on TV in the 60's and they were the size of whole buildings or at least underground basements. Not I'm typing on one that fits on my desktop. Amazing. Thanks for visiting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 2 years ago

      Turned 60 a couple of months ago. Got laid off from my job in 2011, now I'm working at a job that pays 60% less and the company apparently doesn't believe in pay raises. Everything seems good, except my economic situation. You're spot on about the technology. Except for the flying car the 21st century really has some marvelous devices, including the one I'm using as I type this. Thank you :-)

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image
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      Denise McGill 2 years ago from Fresno CA

      Thank you, mama Mac, I think so too. I am embracing life beyond my dear dad.

    • mama Mac profile image

      MacAllister Bishop 2 years ago from Bonne Terre, MO

      While I am only in my early thirties, I had some sadness about growing older, then I saw a meme that said, "Don't regret growing older, it is a privilege that is denied to many." It made me think of my father in law who died at 47, and a good friend who died at 29. Now I embrace my birthdays and I tell my mother who also just turned 60 to do the same. Good article.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image
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      Denise McGill 3 years ago from Fresno CA

      Irc7815, thanks and welcome to the club. It's not as scary as it seems. Although I don't know how I feel about having to check a different box on the questionaires that ask your age.... I'll have to get back to you on that.

    • lrc7815 profile image

      Linda Crist 3 years ago from Central Virginia

      I sure am glad I found this hub tonight. I'm approaching my 60th and your hub made me feel like a member of a club. God knows I can giggle, cough, sneeze and pee at the same time. I found so much truth in every paragraph that it was like looking in mirror.. You did a fabulous job of putting it all in perspective. Needless to say I voted you up and awesome and I'll be sharing it too. I'm a fan!

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image
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      Denise McGill 3 years ago from Fresno CA

      I'm so happy you appreciate my humor. You are so right. I used to make fun of the hanging skin on my grandmother's arms, only to relive that as my grandson makes fun on mine.

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      You youngun', you. Happy birthday today! You made me laugh, and that is always a good thing. It's so true. All the things I complained about old people when I was youthful are back to haunt me now. I suppose it's karma. I was especially scornful of the neighbor ladies who had their nightgowns and robes on at six o'clock in the evening. Good grief, I was still getting dinner. In a couple of hours, the kids would be in bed and I'd finally have a few quiet hours to myself. How could they possibly waste that time! Now I know.

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Happy Birthday Denise. Well done! While reading, I laughed, I reminisced, I agreed, and thoroughly enjoyed this Hub. Been there and done that, so to speak...since I'm 15 years past that milestone. Excellent work!

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image
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      Denise McGill 3 years ago from Fresno CA

      Wow, thank you so much for the encouragement.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Congratulations on reaching your 60th birthday! You have such a positive acceptance of your good fortune, you will enjoy it; and sharing it with your husband must be a double blessing. Your Dad would have been happy to know that you keep marching past the spot at which he halted. Beautiful baby photo, and also the golden girl one.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image
      Author

      Denise McGill 3 years ago from Fresno CA

      Embarrassing but so true. And did I forget to say snort? My husband looks at me funny because I snort when I laugh and, as he says, I never used to. Oh well. Getting older.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 3 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      This is so well-written! I really enjoyed reading it. Laugh, fart, sneeze pee at the same time is sounding familiar, lol.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image
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      Denise McGill 3 years ago from Fresno CA

      Me too, Audrey. Me too.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 3 years ago from California

      Well I am right behind you at 58. I recently read a horoscope that said that the happiest time of my life is just beginning--hoping that is true!

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 3 years ago from Deep South, USA

      I can see how that would put worrisome thoughts into your mind. But genetics is only a part of what influences our life's 'map.' Healthy lifestyle choices has a lot to do with it, and even if one didn't make those choices early, 'better late than never' is a good motto. It's mine.

      Jaye

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image
      Author

      Denise McGill 3 years ago from Fresno CA

      Wow, thanks for the good advice. I guess it's the thing that my dad didn't live to see 61 that bothers me most.

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 3 years ago from Deep South, USA

      Since I recently hit the 71 mark, your 60 looks like a spring chicken to me! Enjoy your sixties. It's a good decade.

      Voted Up++

      Jaye

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image
      Author

      Denise McGill 3 years ago from Fresno CA

      Oh, I hear ya. Feeling your pain, as it were. As an artist I won't ever retire, they will have to pull my paintbrush out of my cold dead hands. :)

    • gmwilliams profile image

      Grace Marguerite Williams 3 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      Yes, I will be 60 in September. Got to push the body more......Got to push the body more.....The mind is more than willing but the body sometimes can't keep up. Well, got to exercise more. I have things yet to do.....refuse to tire. Excellent hub. Can't believe that I will be 60......SOON.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 3 years ago from California Gold Country

      I can't vote in your last poll, because none apply. I did write a hub about turning 60,, and now at (..72? . I forget :) )I stand by my observations.

      It is a good age.. be aware (as you obviously are) and there are still good things to be done.

      Happy Birthday!