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What Can You Do After 60?

Updated on May 30, 2016
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.

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I have been reflecting a lot lately.

As an artist, I spend a lot of time alone in my own thoughts; in a wonderful place I call “the meadow.” It is a place inside my head where the air is clear and clean, there are no distractions or emotional baggage to deal with. The meadow has a little stream rambling by, wild flowers of gold and blue, birds add music from time to time but mostly it is quiet. It is simply a safe place. This is the place inside myself I go to when I want to create. There is no time there so when I am called out, back to the real world, I am usually amazed that hours have flown by.

I like to go to the meadow to think about my life and my future and sometimes my past. It is interesting to note that in the meadow I am still 19. I still have dreams and hopes and I don’t usually take into account that I am spent. Recently I was thinking there about what I want to be when I grow up.

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What I want to be when I grow up:

With the end of my college career approaching, it is an interesting thought to consider all the things I wanted to be as I grew.

Primary grades: a mommy

Middle school grades: a ballerina

High school: an artist/illustrator of children’s books

College: a fine artist/painter

Early 20’s after marriage: a good wife to an abusive husband

Mid 20’s: hermit/divorcee/a good single mom

Thirties and forties: a good remarried wife/teacher/homeschool mom

Fifties: an illustrator of children’s books

Sixties: Finished with school

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Things I want to accomplish now, in the last half of my life.

Like a lot of girls, I had dreams and wanted to go to college, but like a lot of girls, I got sidetracked and got married instead. Soon I was raising a family, divorced, remarried with my own and step children and finally and empty nester. The time for college, it would seem, was gone long ago. But I still had the dreams. It seemed to embarrassing to enter a college campus at my age and so I didn’t.

Enter: Online Colleges. What a great idea. I could go to school in the convenience of my own home. Now after the age of 60 I will be getting a Master’s degree in Illustration. Is it too late for me? Is it too late for anyone? I figure it will be too late when I’m in the grave and before that time, I still have plenty to offer.

Some people, even me at times, may say I’m too old or my time has past, but I just can’t give up on the dream. Here are just a few that didn’t give up or let age decide what they could or could not do after 60.

Dreams?

Have you dreams you didn’t realize or failed to pursue? Would you have the courage to pursue them now?

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25 Oldest People to Accomplish Amazing Feats

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Stairs for ascending or descending?
Stairs for ascending or descending? | Source
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Life after 60

** At 59, Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross.

** George Bernard Shaw, at 60 years old, completed the play, “Heartbreak House,” which was regarded by some as his masterpiece.

** J.R.R. Tolkien was 62 when he published the first volume of the fantasy series, Lord of the Rings, although he had been writing it for a total of 14 years.

** Benjamin Franklin was 70 when he helped draft the Declaration of Independence and then served his country as Ambassador to France and the Postmaster General.

** At 85, “Coco” Chanel was the head of a fashion design firm.

** Pablo Picasso was still producing drawings and etchings at the age of 90.

** At 95 years old, Nola Ochs became the oldest person to receive a college diploma. The degree was in general studies with an emphasis on history.

** Greta Pontarelli, 63, was diagnosed with osteoporosis. Finding weightlifting boring, she started pole dancing.

** Wini Yunker took a two-year Peace Corps assignment in Ukraine at sixty-five.

** Evelyn Gregory whose childhood dream was to be a flight attendantachieved that dream at 71.

** Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote and published her best-selling series of books including "Little House on the Prairie" in her 60s.

** After surviving cancer and at the age of 75, Barbara Hillary became one of the oldest people, and the first black woman, to reach the north pole.

** Lloyd Kahn first tried skateboarding at 65. Now 79, he says "I don't do any special tricks. I don't ride like the teenagers. I try not to go too fast."

** Susan B. Anthony was past 80 when she formed the International Woman Suffrage Alliance.

** Japanese uklyoe painter, Katsushika Hokusai, at the age of 75, created “Painting Hundred Views of Mount Fuji” and prepared the release of the 15th and final volume of his “Ten Thousand Sketches.”

** Harlan Sanders, Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame, was 66 when he started to promote his chicken and build an empire.

** Yvonne Dole is still ice skating at 89 and says, "If I ever get in a bad mood, I look at [my] peers with their oxygen bags, put on skates and smile."


Success After 60

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** In his "retirement," Peter Mark Roget began a project of grouping words according to classification. His project was first published when he was 73 and became the enduring (I still have my copy from high school!) reference book, Roget's Thesaurus. He oversaw every update until he died at age 90.

** Charles Chagall, at the age of 90, became the first living artist to be exhibited at the Louvre museum.

** Montserrat Mecho, 80 is happiest when she jumps out of an airplane with a parachute strapped to her back. She is also a downhill skier, a windsurfer, and a diver.

** Ruth Flowers decided to become a DJ at 68 with no prior experience whatsoever. She enjoyed flying around the world, performing at popular clubs, until her death in May 2014.

Dream scape

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Not ready for the end.

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It's not over.

With so great a company of people who didn’t let a clock or calendar stand in their way (or people’s opinions about their age), how can I? I have decided that my life is still going on and not over. I have decided that I still have things to do and important contributions to make to society. I have decided that there is still work to be done in my lifetime. It’s not over.

Courage.

In my meadow, in my peaceful place in my head, I have found there is no age, no time to deal with, no need to give up on dreams and hopes unrealized. I am going to accomplish more maybe, now in the second half of my life than I did in the first. After all, I have more experience and wisdom than I did then. And now I have fewer distractions. Sure I have some wonderful grandkids to spend time with but, thank God, I do not have to raise them. I only get to visit and love on them, then go home and pursue the dreams I put on the back burner so long ago. I’m so glad those dreams didn’t boil away, but are still stewing. Wish me luck.

Have you dreams you didn’t realize or failed to pursue? Would you have the courage to pursue them now?

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Pursuit of Dreams Commentaries wanted

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    • PAINTDRIPS profile image
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      Denise McGill 12 months ago from Fresno CA

      Well, Scott, I could be wrong but I think the ambition is what gets us up in the morning in the first place. If you have that, even the energy will come. And all that brings such joy!

      Blessings,

      Denise

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      Scott Bateman 12 months ago

      Thanks, Denise. I still have ambition which drives me to keep trying despite the loss of energy. Ambition is the mental part and energy is the physical. I appreciate your encouragement!

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image
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      Denise McGill 12 months ago from Fresno CA

      Scott,

      I know my energy has declined after 60 but my motivation (or is it ambition?) has increased. This is probably because there are so many things that I wanted to do and I sort of hear the clock ticking that I haven't that much time left to do those things. Fortunately those dreams are mostly children's books and not climbing a mountain or anything that would be physically problematic. I think that goals are part of what gives us the motivation to get up in the morning; the motivation to FIND the energy somewhere to do what we can with the time we have. So the question is: what do you want to do? Do you have dreams that are as of yet unfulfilled? Things you want to do and haven't found the time to do them yet? Now is the time! Get out a calendar and but small goals on each week and month that would step you up towards fulfilling that goal if possible. Physically I haven't been able to create drawings and paintings like I used to at 20. My hands don't work as well as they used to but I'm not letting that stop me. It only makes the process slower. I take plenty of breaks to rest my hands and wrists but then I go at it again. I recently got my Master's Degree in Illustration through an online program at a prestigious art college. I always wanted to have a degree and now I do.

      Thanks for visiting my page and commenting. I wish you well in your future goals. Let me know if there is anything more I can do to encourage you to reach for the stars.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • promisem profile image

      Scott Bateman 12 months ago

      I find that my energy and motivation have declined since turning 60. Have you experienced the same? Have you found any ways to regain it?

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

      Kailua-KonaGirl,

      I think people tend to think after a certain age, it's all over but the sad singing and slow marching. But as you say, people live so much longer today that, short of a tragic accident we could have 30 or 40 years to fill. I have noticed that I move slower and I don't want to tackle anything that will be too physically demanding, but my mind is still semi-sharp and so are my fingers and my sense of humor. So I feel I could do a lot of things still, like all those I listed. Thanks so much for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • Kailua-KonaGirl profile image

      June Parker 2 years ago from New York

      This is such a great article! We never realize when we are younger how much we can actually accomplish in our lives. People are living so much longer these days that the "twilight" years can actually be full of many new possibilities, events and learning experiences.

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

      Glenn Stok,

      Yes, I whole-heartedly agree. I feel like that often. I may be over 60 but I'm not done yet. There are lots of things left for me to do. The key is starting NOW! Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

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      Glenn Stok 2 years ago from Long Island, NY

      This hub gives hope to those of us who feel time is running out. It shows that it's never too late to accomplish your dreams. The thing to remember is that the best time to start doing something is - NOW!

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      Denise McGill 2 years ago from Fresno CA

      Kailua-KonaGirl,

      That is so nice of you to say! I am enjoying the journey and I'm surprised at the joy I have found along the way. It's amazing following a dream and even if I never achieve notoriety, I know I will have done the best I could with the gifts I've been given. What else can one ask of you?

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • Kailua-KonaGirl profile image

      June Parker 2 years ago from New York

      Denise,

      I bet you are enjoying the journey! I know I would be. I am so proud of you and the things you are continually accomplishing. You go girl and the best of luck. My warmest aloha to you!

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

      eilval,

      My pleasure. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I appreciate all the kudos.

      Blessings,

      Denise

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      Eileen 2 years ago from Western Cape , South Africa

      Fascinating and inspirational hub indeed . Thanks for reminding us age is just a number and dreams and goals can be realized at any age .

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

      Kailua-KonaGirl,

      I absolutely understand. I am a little afraid of the debt but I have learned an incredible amount and find I couldn't have achieved the same amount of excellence without the extra education. Still it will be hard to pay back but right now I'm enjoying the journey. I'm glad for your success.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • Kailua-KonaGirl profile image

      June Parker 3 years ago from New York

      Our lives have run a bit parallel, except you went back to school and I didn't. I thought about it, but I didn't want to put myself in debt for $45, 000 (how much I would have to pay beyond the government grants) at my age.

      I have taught myself how to build simple websites and created simple graphics so that I have had to be satisfied with that while I make my living online.

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

      Grand old lady, thank you so much for visiting and commenting. I hope you are pursuing your dreams as well.

      Blessings,

      Denise

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      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 3 years ago from Philippines

      What a truly inspiring article. I'm 60 and often feel over the hill. There are dreams I have yet to reach, and dreams I'm working on, but I still need to discover that quiet place in the mind when you are filled with peace and "can do" and any negative holding-back thought can gain no entry. I loved your sketch of the ballerina. And I loved how you took online courses, too:).

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      Denise McGill 3 years ago from Fresno CA

      Wow, aesta1, a world traveler. That is so very awesome. And you can share you gift and talents with the world. I'm sure there are awesome things to see and paint there... touch of envy hitting me.

      Blessings,

      Denise

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      Mary Norton 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I, too, have a meadow I escape to and sometimes, I get lost in it that I don't even notice my husband calling me. He thinks I sometimes forget I am married. We are now beyond our 60s but still working because we enjoy it so much. We just came from Florida to Cambodia and my husband's first week in the new contract was so much fun, he couldn't imagine us being in Florida.

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      Denise McGill 3 years ago from Fresno CA

      Nellieanna, what a great pleasure to meet and get to talk with you too. I agree with you about dreamers. Dreams are important to life. When we stop dreaming, we stop living and then it's time to look for our name in the obituaries. I, for one, want to keep dreaming as long as possible and completing goals, even it they were goals I set for myself decades ago. I am finally ready to finish up my thesis and get my master's degree. It is a very exciting time for me and in the future, I look forward to illustrating books. I know there won't be a lot of money involved... no rich and famous dreams, just dreams of being published and then encouraging children to read through the joy of illustrations. What greater goal and dream could there be? For me.... none.

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      Nellieanna Hay 3 years ago from TEXAS

      It is such a pleasure to meet you, too! Yes, that 16 cooperative chapters project was great fun, as well as challenging. There was varying technical experience among the participants, so I was happy to sort of coordinate that aspect. The Hubber who conceived of it and kicked it off was really inspired, but I doubt that he'd undertake another such project.

      Yes, I find that setting a goal of 100 years is rather too limited, as well. I've been proclaiming it so long now, though, that perhaps, like O'Keefe, waiting till nearer the fulfillment of that goal to step it forward is good all the way around!

      The main thing about it is the positive attitude about the years passing. I call myself an optimistic realist and a realistic optimist, to include good attitude & common sense, too! It is a journey, not a destination and like all journey's there are all sorts of unexpected choices along the way. Besides, claiming to be realistic silences those prone to call us optimists idle dreamers. Nothing wrong with dreams! They are one of the workshops of the brain, perhaps! Realistically, it is a matter of keeping the dream in sync with the reality and the reality lifted by the dream, by doing what it takes to stay healthy in all parts of one's being. The fun is that it's a path to keep one happily occupied with being fully alive! What fun!

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      Denise McGill 3 years ago from Fresno CA

      Nellieanne, I'm so happy to meet you. The 16 chapter hubs sound like a great fun in writing. I'm intending for a 100 years myself. It was Georgia O'Keeffe who said she was going to live to 100 also but as that number approached she decided she would live to 120. I loved her optimism. In the end she lived and painted till 99. Awesome. I hope to do the same.

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 3 years ago from TEXAS

      Hi, Denise - First, welcome to Hubpages! You’re a perfect fit here. I’ll soon be beginning my 5th year as a Hubber and I’ve loved every one of them.

      I love your hub here. We’re in agreement about its message. Coincidence is that a few years ago, I participated in a 16-member series of hubs about the journey of life as it advances. Each of us was asked to pose a question about the process of aging and then we collected all 16 replies on each of our own hubs in the series. It was so exciting.

      Since I was the eldest, I was asked to kick it off with the first of the 16 chapters: https://hubpages.com/health/The-Journey-1 - As has happened, some of the 16 participants are no longer Hubbers, so some of the links between the chapters have become inactive.

      I very much admire your positive perspective about going on with life as one lives, both in your own life experience and as you discuss it in your hub here. I have to mention that it seems we’ve shared some of them.

      I am so pleased to welcome you to hubpages and thank you for bringing your work to my attention by following me! By the way, I turned 83 this past Feb. 2nd. I’m going for at least 100 with full life functioning all the way!

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 3 years ago from TEXAS

      I thought this didn't post so re-tried it. Hence the extra comment box!

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      Denise McGill 3 years ago from Fresno CA

      vkwok, thank you so much. I was kind of amazed how many people did important things after 60. Gives me hope. You know?

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      Victor W. Kwok 3 years ago from Hawaii

      Definitely a hub to share!

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

      We are all headed there at one time or other. The only other option is to die young. Not really a very pleasant option. Thanks for visiting.

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      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Interesting and helpful Makes me think far off. A useful hub for the much older.

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      Denise McGill 3 years ago from Fresno CA

      So true, phoenix2327, so true. I don't know where I got those voices from that were trying to convince me it was too late for me.. some defeatist thinking or something. So glad I dismissed it and pushed through it.

      Blessings,

      Denise

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      Denise McGill 3 years ago from Fresno CA

      Amen, sister, travmaj, bring it on. We need to be encouragement for each other and those following us too.

      Blessings,

      Denise

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      Denise McGill 3 years ago from Fresno CA

      Thank you, Denise. I'm sure I will.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 3 years ago from United Kingdom

      Right now I'm pursuing as much as I can. I started writing a few years ago and am having a wonderful time with it. I picked up crocheting again after a 40+ years and am amazed every time a produce something. It's never to late to chase new dreams or resurrect old ones.

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      travmaj 3 years ago from australia

      Well said and I'm with you all the way - I expected life would be slower at this 'certain age' However, it's passing at an enormous speed. So much to see and do and experience and learn. I'm still travelling, working, learning Tai Chi and, of course, writing. Bring it on... thank you for this.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 3 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      I wish you the very best! Like you, I am pursuing dreams that were set aside while the responsibilities of family and career took over. I hope to see you out there in the published world! Until then!

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      Denise McGill 3 years ago from Fresno CA

      MsDora, aren't we all? I think youth is wasted on the young. When I was stronger and healthier, I didn't know what to do with my life. Now I am moving slower but I have definite ideas about what to do. Oh well. Better late than never, as they say.

      Blessings,

      Denise

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      Denise McGill 3 years ago from Fresno CA

      RoadMonkey, good for you! I'm glad to hear it. It is interesting how many of us are doing this after retirement. God Bless Online Schools!

      Blessings,

      Denise

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      Denise McGill 3 years ago from Fresno CA

      Venkatachari M, Thank you for visiting. I'm glad to hear you are pursuing your dreams too. Everyone should.

      Blessings

      Denise

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      Dora Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      For a sixty-ager, this is the best article I could have read today. I'm still pursuing my dream of writing a best-seller. Besides, being forced to return home to my birthplace, I am slowly but surely bumping into life as I always wanted it.

    • RoadMonkey profile image

      RoadMonkey 3 years ago

      I am like you - back at University, completing my education. Great hub, very inspirational examples.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 3 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Awesome thoughts, Denise!!! I am very glad to see your positive attitude and determination to achieve your goals. It is never too late. So you can achieve anything within and until the last moment of your lifetime.

      I started writing now only after my reaching 60th year. Prior to that I had no idea of this. I was simply accountant playing with numbers. My father was a writer and Editor of magazines and was artist also. After my retirement only I got the desire of pursuing writing which was in my blood. So, it is never too late to achieve anything.

      Thanks again for your article. Voted up and awesome. Wish you all the best in successfully achieving your dreams.

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      Denise McGill 3 years ago from Fresno CA

      Homeplace Series, glad you enjoyed the hub. I agree that people should remember at any age that life isn't over till it's over.

      Blessing

      Denise

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      Denise McGill 3 years ago from Fresno CA

      Rachel, I'm glad you are doing what you want with your grandchildren. I have the same problems with arthritis but it isn't stopping me from doing artwork.

      Blessings

      Denise

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      Denise McGill 3 years ago from Fresno CA

      Barbara, so true. It's a joy to have the time.

      Blessings

      Denise

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      William Leverne Smith 3 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Very timely, actually timeless, article. I'm working on an article related to longevity... everyone needs to read your article. The younger folks need to understand, now, that many, many great years are ahead of them, and don't think that life just stops at 50, 60 or even 70. In my view, the 50s are the best, and should be used to prepare for the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and beyond. Thanks for sharing this neat information. Love those stories of great success after 60... they have only just begun! ;-)

    • Rachel L Alba profile image

      Rachel L Alba 3 years ago from Every Day Cooking and Baking

      I think it is wonderful if you can do something new or just follow you dreams after 60. I thought I would still be a secretary at 66 but the company I worked for closed it's door. So I pray every day for the Lord to show me what He wants from me now at this stage. Since I have been afflicted with arthritis in my hips and knee and can't do much, it seems that now I have time to help my grandchildren by driving them places and spending time with them. I did find HubPages, which I love. I gives me a chance to express myself even if it is through recipes. I think this is where God wants me now and I am secure and at peace with it. Keep up what ever you are doing.

      Blessings to you.

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      Barbara Badder 3 years ago from USA

      What I find wonderful about Social Security, is now I can pursue anything I'd like without the worry if I have enough to pay the bills. Life is wonderful when you get older in that way. You can try out some of those dreams.

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      Denise McGill 3 years ago from Fresno CA

      Dip Mtra, thanks for the vote.

      Blessings

      Denise

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      Denise McGill 3 years ago from Fresno CA

      Sparklea, I'm so happy to follow you . Thank you for checking out my hub. I appreciate the vote of confidence.

      Blessings

      Denise

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      Dip Mtra 3 years ago from World Citizen

      Thanks Denise. Beautiful read, and voted up all the way, awesome!!!

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      Sparklea 3 years ago from Upstate New York

      paintdrips, voted up and awesome! Your perspective is so motivating, and I LOVED the 'follow your dreams' video and the examples of people who have done something substantial with the second half of life! You are so inspirational and it is my pleasure to follow you! Thank you for following me - God bless, Sparklea :)

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      Denise McGill 3 years ago from Fresno CA

      Say Yes, thanks for the link. I will go check it out. Always looking for more inspiration! Aren't we all?

      Blessings,

      Denise

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      Denise McGill 3 years ago from Fresno CA

      Audrey, I think I needed the inspiration today too. Thanks for the kind comment.

      Blessings,

      Denise

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      Yoleen Lucas 3 years ago from Big Island of Hawaii

      This is VERY inspirational! I'd like to add that Beatrice Sparks, the editor of numerous teen books including her most famous one, "Go Ask Alice", published her first book (this one) at age 54, and it was made into a movie. Yes, that is significantly younger than the ages you listed, but her death in 2012 has generated some controversy. It turns out though all her books were supposed to be about real people, all but one ("Jay's Journal" were fiction. LOL!

      Here's a link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beatrice_Sparks

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 3 years ago from California

      I think I needed to read this today! Thank you!!

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