The Old Age Issue

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Well, my friends, this week I crossed the Rubicon, in a sort of way. I moved into new and foreign territory. Not exactly enemy territory, I didn’t stop to ruminate over whether to cross or not, like Julius Caesar in 49 BC for whom crossing the Rubicon meant inevitable war. But I entered emotionally foreign territory, and have been, while not exactly at war with my feelings, certainly ruminative. On Wednesday I turned sixty-five, and I am now legally, according to the government anyway, a senior citizen. I have entered the country of old age.

That’s because sixty-five is retirement age in Canada. At sixty-five the government old-age pension starts. We can begin drawing Canada Pension at age sixty, but not everyone is eligible for CPP, as it’s called. OAP starts at sixty-five, and is for everyone, even if you’ve never been officially employed. Of course lots of people pay no attention to that marker when considering when they will retire.

My step-father retired at age sixty-five from his government job, but he just pivoted, with lots more time to spend farming and logging. I retired from teaching at age fifty-seven, so did Hubby. My sister retired from her job as a pharmacist and manager of several stores at age seventy-one. Reluctantly, in his late seventies, my grandfather finally retired, at the insistence of his sons who had taken over the business and were tired of Grampy showing up on job sites and trying to run things. My brother was the exact same. If his health had not failed, he’d still be sticking his nose into the business my niece and her husband now run. One of the drawbacks of a family business, at least as far as the second generation is concerned. But I digress.

So if you retire at age sixty-five, or after, or before, when you hit that age-related Rubicon, you are part of the old age club. Like it or not.

So. Do I like it or not? Let’s discuss.

Me in my purple cashmere sweater the day after I turned sixty-five and entered old age.
First day in the new club.

My mum was gleeful when she turned sixty-five. She’d quit her job when she married my step-father over twenty years before, glad to be relieved of the stress of working fulltime and pinching pennies to raise four children on her own. By the time she remarried the hard part of parenting was over; my brother had married and my two sisters were pursuing post-secondary education. To have a life partner again, one as steady and lovely as my step-father, must have felt wonderful. Still, she had no income of her own when she had been used to earning a salary for years.

So when she hit sixty-five she was back in business, so to speak. Her own cheque came in the mail every month, and she was independent again. In her old age. Ha. Not that I’d have dared say that last bit to her face at the time.

I am not quite as gleeful about being sixty-five. I feel as if I’ve been catapulted into one of those chunks of life that I wrote about back in 2016 when I turned sixty. You can read that post here if you’re interested.

At the time I was philosophic about becoming sixty. I’d been retired for a little over three years, Hubby and I were travelling a lot. And after the stressful times of his heart surgery and then his shoulder surgery, life was good. In my post I commented that it seemed as if life chugged along unchanging for years until one was catapulted into a whole new phase. And I could see those earlier phases clearly, even if I hadn’t been able to see them at the time.

At age sixty, I felt wise… or at least wiser than I’d been in my forties and fifties. And I felt good about myself. I still feel that at sixty-five. But the one big difference is that now my hair is white. That made turning sixty-five harder for me. Because having white hair marks me out as old in many people’s books.

Hubby and I laugh about this sometimes.

Last winter, out skiing, a much younger couple swished by us on the trail, and I recalled how galling that had always felt when I was younger. “Why can I not keep up to them?” I used to moan. “Was I so out of shape that virtually everyone we met could pass me as if I were standing still?” And Hubby would always counter that most of the time the other skiers were much younger. Or that I should be worried about competing with myself, not with strangers whom we didn’t know, and who skied daily as far as we knew. Or something equally supportive. But last winter, I laughed, and said, “One benefit of having white hair is that now, instead of looking like a slow skier, I look as if I am amazing for a little white-haired old lady.” And we both laughed.

But I’m not always so sanguine. Especially now that I am officially a member of the old age club.

I’m a bit defensive about the whole thing, in fact. I know that having white hair makes me look older. Not if you look closely. But who does? Having dyed hair makes it easier to pass for younger, at a distance. Of course it does. And I’m a bit sensitive about comments with respect to that. I feel as if I have to present my arguments. That I chose to let my hair go white because I was tired of covering it up. That I like the white. I do. I feel more like me, as if I am embracing the me I am now. So why, when I say this, do I hear Queen Gertrude from Hamlet in my head? “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” Why do I think that is what others are thinking when I say that I like my white hair?

Oh my god. I am so overthinking this, I know. Blame the pandemic. Lockdown has lead to way more introspection than is good for me.

May 26, 1957. Sixty four birthdays ago.

My friend Grace called me on my birthday. What a fabulous conversation we had. We’ve been fast friends ever since we met way back in 1985. Grace is the kind of friend that you bond with immediately. Anne Shirley would call Grace a kindred spirit, and so do I. Anyway we had a wonderful chat. I shared with her some of my ruminations re: turning sixty-five and joining the old age club. “Susan,” she said in that way only Grace has, chastising and laughing at the same time, “You are sixty-five. Get over it.” “I know,” I laughed back, “I will. Eventually.”

You have to love a friend with whom you have no compunction about sharing your embarrassing weaknesses, and who doesn’t mind calling you on your shit in return. If you’ll excuse the profanity. After that, we had a most reviving conversation on society and the pressures to be young and beautiful instead of just whatever the heck we want to be. Grace has always been so much wiser than me. Even if she is only sixty-three.

So yeah, turning sixty-five feels a bit like crossing the Rubicon. And entering new territory. Territory where I am eligible for my Old Age Pension. That feels very weird. At age sixty-five I can no longer be considered the young retiree. Most people my age are retired. I’m the last of my family to cross this river. Although I was first of all my siblings to actually retire. And I am now officially a white-haired senior citizen.

The original Rubicon crossing by Julius Caesar, the one so well known from ancient history was a momentous occasion. Or at least it triggered momentous historical events. But now, according to my reading, the actual Rubicon River is not momentous at all, nothing more than a small stream, diverted and diminished over the centuries by floods and agricultural works. One might wade easily from one bank to the other.

I think I should take a lesson from that. And not let my own personal Rubicon worry me. I should just shut up, don my fishing boots, and start wading.

How about you my friends? Any momentous events in your life this week? Real or imagined by a brain overwrought from too much pandemic introspection?

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96 thoughts on “The Old Age Issue”

  1. Mary Lou Hartman

    I turn 74 in August and except for my birthday I really don’t think about my age. I just try to focus on enjoying each day and trying to do everything within my control to stay healthy so that I can continue to enjoy life. I am not ready to embrace white hair but you look great!

    1. Desna Campbell

      Hi there I turned 75 one week ago and can’t quite believe it. I’d better though as my daughter turns 55 next week! I enjoy great health and am rarely at the doctor’s, play tennis twice a week and see my family regularly. I know I’m very lucky but it’s that number 75 that gets to me. Get over it I hear you say and be grateful for what you have. I am!!

  2. Well, the white hair arrived before the old age in this instance. I became very allergic to hair dye many years ago and found out that I am one of the many on my fathers side of the family that goes white early. 65 is a number to ignore if you want to and go with what it feels like inside, and some days that is 45 and others it is much much more. You ask about this week, well, as soon as the announcement that the surgeries opened up I got a call, and had knee surgery on Friday. Talk about no time to prepare, but at least it is over with and I am on the road to a better summer. So that is good news. Bye the way, I should have said it at the beginning, Happy Birthday and welcome to the club. Actually, the seniors discounts are great.

    1. Most days I feel forty, or what I always thought forty would be like as a kid. When I was forty I didn’t feel any different than when I was twenty. Ha. It’s the number that psyches me out.

  3. I see some “older” women around here with creative coloring. I don’t think it’s permanent. One day, I was behind a lady at the bakery who had lavender hair, which matched her very out-there eyeglass frames. I regularly see fire-engine red. Also green. If it’s wash-in (spray on?), wash-out, why not have fun? It could look great on your short hair. Nothing says attitude like purple hair.
    There are three stages to retirement: the go-go years, the go-slow years, and the no-go years. Ideally, one stays healthy enough and has resources to make the go-go years last as long as possible and squeeze down the others. The pandemic has messed with our collective heads, forcing everybody into no-go mode, and it’s no fun.

    1. I dyed my hair purple and teal last summer and it feels more like me than any other color I’ve ever had. The upkeep wasn’t too bad – until I went to Arizona for vacation and it faded DRASTICALLY while I was in the sun. And I’ve been deliberately fading it with clarifying shampoos in preparation for a new color. But even then, the color was interesting. It’s kind of a seafoam green in the front and blue in the back (I’m told). I’m getting it done again on Friday, and I think I’ll be going with the same colors – I may add a splash of silver.

    2. Oh, gosh. The green hair is not for me. Staying healthy and fit is the goal so I can keep up with my husband who at 76 still appears to be in his go-go years.

  4. Wendy in York

    The last paragraph by Taste of France made me smile , so true . There does come a point when age hits you . You can ignore it , fight it or begin to accept it I think . By accepting it I don’t mean flop onto the sofa & give up . At 73 I’m learning to accept my physical restrictions . I don’t set off on 10 mile walks anymore , it’s 7 miles maximum . I don’t spend hours gardening without a break , an hour or two is enough . The housework isn’t a quick blitz these days . I spread it over a couple of days . I have an afternoon nap if I want one . I guess my newly grey hair is part of that acceptance & yes it probably does make me look older . That’s my hair now . I’m not about to have any ‘ procedures ‘ to alter my face either . That’s my face now .
    I try not to worry about what might be coming along . There was a survey recently in the UK amongst elderly people asking about their regrets & the main regret they had was spending time worrying about being very old . They said life still had lots of pleasures & it really wasn’t worth worrying about . That’s my experience- so far 😁

    1. At last I can enjoy my afternoon nap without guilt. One of those pleasures you mention. Those survey results holds some wisdom, don’t they? Because Stu is so much older than me, I spend too much time worrying about how much time we have left together. I have to stop that.

  5. I am about a year behind you but my pension won’t arrive for a while yet, the way things are in UK. It’s not years that make me pensive, but family seniority; at my mother’s funeral, when we were all gathered together with food, drink, sunshine, I realised that my brothers and I were now the senior members, the top tier. Below us were children and grandchildren. It did not seem possible because, surely, I was about…21?…30? In and of myself, age does not make much of a difference to me.

    1. My old age pension won’t arrive for a while yet either. I plan to defer it for a few years. The family seniority thing I have yet to experience, since I still have my mum and my uncle, her brother and his wife. I feel in a different category than my cousins and siblings with children and grandchildren, though. I can easily forget the years are slipping by until I look in the mirror.

  6. Gail in Ireland

    I don’t suppose it matters how many people tell you how terrific you look with your white hair – you need to feel terrific about it. But, I will add my two cent’s worth anyway – I love your hair. I’m 78, started going gray in my 30’s and have never attempted to cover it up. It’s now nearly white and I love it. What does concentrate my mind however, is the fact that in 12 years I’ll be 90! And we all know how fast time seems to fly by! So my thinking is – the words ‘elderly and senior citizen’ are not in my vocabulary and I shall continue to live life full tilt for as long as I am able. Hope you do too!

  7. My husband turned 65 last Sunday, so we had a crossing of the Rubicon as well. We’re fortunate to be doing it in Portugal, which lessened the sting for him, I think! I’ve got another couple of years to go, and am doing my best to prepare for it – exercise, healthy eating, keeping the brain engaged – as Taste of France would say, extending the go-go years. 🙂 Happy Birthday to you!

    1. Here’s hoping the go-go years can be experienced again once we are back to normal. I am so itching to travel! Hope you are enjoying Portugal. What an adventure.

  8. Oh my goodness, you’re young in my book. I am 71. I am a new blog friend to your musings and your lovely blog but I can say that I think you are lovely inside and out. Your white hair is wonderful and in comparing the two pics you posted I think you are striking in white. Now don’t hate me but I have not had to color my strawberry blonde hair yet, but I’ve got wrinkles to spare! My friend and I walk daily on a popular park trail and it seems the young admire us for our enthusiasm and consistency at our age. I am sure this is a temporary concern and that by tomorrow you’ll be happy about your fitness and who you are at this particular age. Happy Birthday.
    Karen

  9. Happy birthday, fellow Gemini! I am 2 years and 3 weeks behind you and the worst thing about it is having aged out of some things I’d like to do as a performer. Not necessarily for roles that aren’t age-appropriate but for ones that ARE that younger people are cast in. A local company did GREY GARDENS a couple of years ago and cast a 26-year-old in the role of the 57-year-old Little Edie. I was not pleased.

  10. For the heck of it, I looked up synonyms (a favorite habit of mine) for the Rubicon. A few of the better ones–moment of truth, defining moment, turning point–they seem to fit your ruminations about entering society’s marker for old age. But then I think of some folks who seem old at 40 and others who at 88 appear brilliantly young (if not as physically mobile as they might wish). Such an arbitrary marker. Having waited until 67 to retire and quite happy to be nearing 71, I am still mobile and healthy, even if my joints do seem to have a particularly strident voice these days. My hair has been silver for well over a decade. It happened gradually over time while I was still working that I hardly noticed. The fact that your hair transition took place when you had too much time to think and too little opportunity to do anything about it likely made it more challenging than it might have been in other circumstances. Though I must say, in your photos, I always see you as more blonde than white-haired. So that’s my two cents (and just as valuable) to crossing the Rubicon of 65. Grace is required. As is a sense of humour. You have both.
    The only momentous event in my life this week has involved the demolition (by my contractor, not me) of the master bedroom bathroom and subsequent rebuilding. Very loud and thump-worthy. But all the trades have shown up each day as scheduled; all have been wonderfully good at their job and uniformly pleasant. Who could ask for anything more?

    1. Yes, my hair was forced upon me, and then I decided to keep it. And it is weird to look at photos of myself last year with no grey at all and then, bang, totally white. So happy that your contractors are diligent. That saves a lot of angst doesn’t it?

  11. Good Sunday morning Susan,
    Old age never troubled me. I looked forward to my 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s with great anticipation, much to the utter bewilderment and sometimes disbelief of friends and family. Staying and/or looking young was not important even in the swirl of friends, many of who continue to fight age as if they can win.
    As a child, from about the age of 7 or so, I was intrigued by my mother often talking about and planning for my father’s retirement at the age of 60.
    In my seven-year-old mind and in the ensuing years, I crafted a dream:
    God sparing life and granting health, I will retire at 50, so that I can enjoy more years than if I retire at 60 (retirement age here in Trinidad & Tobago).
    I studied and began working in 1975 with the first step of my plan – get married and have 2 children by age 30, which will give me 20 years to nurture and prepare them to stand on their own two feet. I often said that I didn’t want to be 45 and still talking care of little children.
    My dream was constantly bolstered by my mother begging my father to retire earlier as she feared that if he waited too long that by the time he stopped working, he will be “old and doddery”. Needless to say, her pleas fell on deaf ears, He enjoyed his job, so he took his own cool time and retired at 65.
    God was gracious and in the fullness of time, allowed me to realize my dreams.
    As I approached 50, my son and daughter, with university degrees in their hands were launching out into their respective chosen fields.
    As my 51st birthday (September 17th 2006) inched closer, I handed in my resignation letter and left my office on August 30th 2006.
    Yeah, it was cutting it close, but on target.
    Graying hair:
    I began graying in my 30’s (just a small patch at the crown), which I liked. Although I dabbled with colouring my hair several times over the years, I always found it a burden and in my 40’s, I stopped, refusing to be a slave to colouring and straightening. I left my salt and pepper coily hair to travel her journey, while I lived mine.
    Naturally, questions came. Sometimes, I answered and other times, I just smiled and left inquisitive people to come up with their own answers.
    I joined the 65’er club last year but with COVID in the air, I put off applying for the Senior Citizen’s Grant as it was still an in-person process. Thankfully it all went digital in April this year and I emailed PDF’s of my application and accompanying documents. WOO HOO, I am in the system and they are checking and verifying, albeit with minimal staff on rotation as we battle a third COVID wave.
    In my mind, Hey 70, I’m look at ya!

  12. I’m with Grace! If I or my friends start to bemoan ageing, I think of all the fantastic, beloved women friends who were born around the time I was, but who did not survive to make it to this age. How deeply they wanted to live, how fiercely they fought for every day they could have.

  13. Happy birthday and welcome to the pensioners’ club. Age is but a number, it’s how old you feel that counts. I have to admit that some days my brain tell me I am 18 but my body won’t cooperate feeling more like 98! As long as you can keep the ‘go’ in your get up and go you will get through this and emerge on the other side of the Rubicon.

  14. I really liked “Taste of France’s description- I think I am in the NO-go stage now. About 10 months ago I had several)(3 to be exact)hip dislocations and then a revision(new parts)on that hip which had been done 19yrs ago. Spent a lot of time in hospitals and rehab. In addition I had both eyes done for cataracts and stints put in(sounds awful) because of glaucoma.I had been in the go-slow stage and been doing pretty well. After that it was all she wrote! to be honest, I am having trouble accepting the NO-go stage. This period of inforced introspection has been nothing but frustrating and depressing because I am having so much trouble doing anything . I had not expected this! It is so much easier to vent this way. The dear friends who had listened and advised are no longer here to listen and advise or having their own issues! I find one of the hardest parts with the no-go stage is that after all these years and experience,no one wants what one knows! So I guess I am having trouble accepting that I am now in the no-go stage and enjoy it! Any and all suggestions are welcome!

    1. Gosh, I am so sorry to hear that, Susan. My sister had a hip “revision” last year for a replacement she had 20 years ago. I know from her experience that it is not an easy recuperation. I’m hoping you can get back to some level of mobility. But I do know it is SLOW.

  15. I also had my 65th birthday this month. It’s definitely a milestone, causing much introspection. I retired a year ago, at the beginning of pandemic lockdown. Had intended to hit the ground running upon retirement, with the luxury of time to pursue delayed interests that were always back burnered due to a high stress corporate job and many children. Although very grateful that life is opening back up, it’s going to take some discipline to break the newly developed sloth habits of 14 months duration. I miss working more than anticipated. Being an integral part of a high performing team left little time for worrying about aging. I find the worst part of aging is having checked off the boxes over the years, and needing to find new ones. Education, career, marriage, child rearing milestones all successfully done. Now deciding what will bring meaning and fulfillment to the remaining (hopefully) 20-30 years. It’s easy to feel the best years are in the past.

  16. Anita Jenkins

    I am 77. As others have said, at my stage of life – if we are lucky enough to have reached it – the daily schedule becomes somewhat limited. Another blogger (The 80-something blog) says, “No matter how much we exercise and eat right, our bodies are tired of being perfect. We have less energy. It takes longer to do everything.” So enjoy being 65. In some ways you are just a kid.

  17. Wishing you a very happy birthday Sue! I remember some years ago hearing someone commenting about “getting old being better than the alternative “ I didn’t think much of it at the time but it resonates now, especially as the years seem to be passing at warp speed!
    Inexplicably I feel proportionally so much older than I did a year ago. No idea why, unless it’s simply, less of the following .. human contact, stimulating and varied conversation, travel etc … although it’s been wonderful to take part in conversations here and on other blogs.
    I do know however, that I’m healthier,🤞can walk faster, run 5k and weigh less than I did a year ago … all positives that I’m trying hard to focus on.( Still a work in progress.)
    So many great comments here.
    I too like the idea of being in the Go go years🤣 (Thank you “A Taste of France” ) and a friend like Grace is someone we all need!
    I hope you’re having a lovely weekend Sue. We’re finally getting some sunshine! Yay! I hope you are too.
    Rosie xx

  18. Of course, Caesar was making a choice, committing himself to irrevocable actions and consequences. . . We just have to keep stepping; not much chance of retreat!
    Funny the birthdays I remember giving me pause: 22, because after the “She’s got the keys to the door, never been 21 before” birthday, it was surely just a slip-and-slide to 30 (“don’t trust anyway over” etc, etc). . . .When I turned 40, I felt very clearly that I was now in the half of life when most people die (although I’d already experienced deaths of younger loved ones). . . 50 felt good, an age of poise, power, confidence, achievement. . . But at 60, I felt more starkly confronted with the mathematical reality of a number that represented six complete decades lived. Funny that 65 hardly seemed significant at all. I expect 70 will be a bit of a jolt, but I’ll have got used to having a husband that old by then, so 😉
    A thought-provoking post, and interesting conversation here in the comments. . . I hope you and your beautiful and chic white hair (and your wading boots!) are comfortably adjusted to your new numbers. . . and of course for cold comfort there’s that extra pension money flowing in. . .

    1. No. The prospect of retreat did not come into it for me. Ha. My wading boots are chic, too, thanks to Stu. He bought my Hunter boots way back before Hunter boots became a thing. That always makes me laugh.

  19. Happy Birthday! Your hair is lovely and it suits you (and by that I don’t mean in an “old lady way”. It looks pretty and natural.
    I’m a few months behind you. I’ll catch up in July. Unfortunately, in the U.S. 65 is not retirement age. For full retirement eligibility, I need to wait until 66 and some months. For the best benefits, I need to wait to 70.
    During the pandemic, I stopped coloring my hair and got a short outdoor haircut. I always knew that I would stop coloring at some point, but I thought it would be after I quit working (a vague future time in the future). However, the pandemic changed all of that. Like you, I love my hair. I think that the white and silver suit me. My hair is so soft compared to when I kept it long and dried it out with color.
    Back to you. 🙂 You look great! You are obviously in good shape and take care of yourself. Sure, the kids will think that you are old and you will sometimes feel old. But, you are making the most of life and looking darn good while you do it. I am impressed.
    Happy birthday. Happy beautiful white hair. Enjoy your next year.

  20. Belated Best Wishes Sue!
    Some days I’m in shock when I stare in the mirror, how did 66 happen, then I laugh…high five myself and move on. I live with a realist who says “there’s no looking in the rear view mirror” and “the birth certificate doesn’t lie.” Ha!
    My body has changed big time and that’s the part I struggle with…what I can and cannot do. But I’m going to remember your wise words when someone passes me. I’ll extend my smile and think “….I am amazing for a little white-haired old lady.” I think I’ll take out the old! 😉
    Robin.

  21. Happy Birthday!

    I AM 63 and a half and just want to be 65 so I can OAS(I took CPP early). I feel like I am in. O woman land. Not young enough to be young and not old enough for all the perks.
    Hey I do get the seniors discount at Shoppers!
    We get to travel free on BC ferries when we turn 65 and that is a perk I can’t wait to have.

  22. Happy Birthday. I think you carry off your white hair with aplumb, it looks beautiful. I have a huge white streak that emerged during lockdowns, my husband hated it, so I am back to coloring my hair.🤨 In my mind I am in the go-go stage. My arthritic body says slow go, either way I keep trying to go. 65 is fast on the horizon for me, but I want to be able to dance at all my grandchildren weddings…so it’s keep going.

    1. Hubby didn’t like my hair when it first started growing out. But he changed his mind. One of my sisters has arthritis, and degenerating back problems. It is a struggle to keep moving for her. But like you she still wants to dance with her grandchildren. And not just at weddings. 🙂

  23. Happy Birthday,dear Sue!

    Rubicon? Well,well….

    ” Alas! Where have all the years gone? 

    Did I dream my life,or is it real?”

    Your post and all the other reader’s musing are so interesting-I agree with all that is said and written and I’ve learned a lot: first ,all of the ladies sound much younger and I was surprised to hear their age

    Next: if it’s a go-go, than it’s all good,go for it and enjoy,the years are just a number

    Next: Lucky all of you who get national pension at 65 or whenever

    Wonderful to hear from Trinidad and Tobago

    I never did care a lot about my years (although I colour my hair, if I had gorgeous hair like you or Frances,I would go white), much more important was mobility and other  super powers of young(-er) people

    But-after I’ve operated both cataracts-there are suddenly so many things I notice- maybe I was so pleased before because I’ve got natural filters :). Technically ,I’m still 62 for next couple of months and I think that Beatles and their “When I’m 64” is to blame for all the blues
    Dottoressa

    1. Dottoressa, the year I turned 64, I used that particular Beatles’ tune as the ring tone on my mobile for the whole year. 🙂

    2. Hi D. I’ve just realised we’re both 1958 babies! Like you I’m technically 62 for a few more months ( October ) but for some unknown reason I’ve been thinking of myself as 63 for ages now!
      I love that Beatles song! 🎶
      Rosie xxxx

    3. Keeping moving is the big thing isn’t it? Whatever age we are. Even though I downloaded that Beatles song last year as my ringtone…I think because of a comment from Mary 🙂 ) I still find the song a bit sad. As if sixty-four is old or something. In fact I get ticked off regularly at some novelists who seem to consider seventy old. I read this one recently: “He’s seventy if he’s a day.”… referring to a character who was thought of as almost senile. When I read that I thought of an expression my old Scottish boss used to say when someone said something particularly stupid: “Does your mother know you’re out and about on your own?”
      I recently changed up my ringtone from “When I’m 64” to Dion’s “Runaround Sue.” Much more hopeful.

  24. First, happy birthday!
    You have earned these years, and are still lovely and lively. I remember 65…
    These days, I am newly turned 73, and feel quite happy with how things are going. But reading over the comments, I definitely related to Wendy’s reply to you in which she said she has shortened her 10-mile walks, gardens now for an hour or two instead of all day, and cleans her house over several days rather than a blitz. That’s me. When did that happen? And why do I not mind it at all?
    Celebrate who you are and the blessings of being healthy enough to do most of what you would ever want to do.

  25. Happy birthday Sue and welcome to the “over the Rubicon club” – sounds heaps better than the “over the hill club” 🥳 I’m 67 so have been playing on this side of the river for a while. Social invisibility seems to get a little worse every year – I do so hate being ignored in shops and I don’t much like that people my daughter’s age (early 20s) can’t imagine how anyone could be so old. I’ve had some recent health issues too but these have thankfully been resolved. Otherwise, being over 65 isn’t too bad and is definitely better than the alternative. I care less about others’ opinions on my appearance and choices, I spend more time doing exactly what I want, and I love no longer colouring my hair. There’s much to be grateful for 🎂🎉👏💕

  26. Nothing momentous this week, real or imagined Sue. I did want to share a conversation I had with my widowed Aunt though. When I told her that Hubby had turned 68, she earnestly stated “I would give anything to be 68 again”. My Aunt is 94. Suddenly at 67, I felt very young. I’m sure Stu helped make your birthday very special. All the best for a wonderful year ahead Sue!

    1. Stu made me a lovely birthday dinner and I had a great day. You aunt sure helps to put things into perspective, doesn’t she? I will remember that.

  27. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Sue and welcome to Our Club. As I read the comments above, We are in Good Company! I think you are a shining example of what it means to be a “Modern Mature Woman”. We are certainly not our grandmothers or even our mothers, for the most part. We have, many of us, had full careers and much exposure to the arts and travel . Here’s to a full life that we can keep enjoying as things start to open back up again and we appreciate it all the more.

  28. Turning 65 did not bother me. Hitting 60 was more of a take stock time of life. I retired at 54 and still felt young. I even thought of myself as middle age. My husband often asked if I was going to live to be 108 or so. Lol The years since retirement have passed so quickly. I turn 68 in a month and dread the big 70 so I constantly remind myself that I’m still here while some are not so lucky, including my sister who passed a month after turning 65, and too many friends.
    Having white hair does not make us look old, anymore than our wrinkles do. So embrace your lovely head of white hair. And celebrate turning 65. Look forward to all the senior discounts at stores, even some hotels.
    Something to think about – you’re fit, you’re healthy, you have a loving spouse, a beautiful home, good friends, enough money to travel and do most anything your heart wants. Let’s celebrate every birthday!

    1. That’s what my friend Grace was trying to say to me on my birthday. You’re sixty-five… and still you in every way. And you’re right; I have every reason to celebrate. 🙂

  29. 60 was the tough one for me. I’m not sure why, but the entire year that I was 59, I dreaded turning 60. It just seemed so old! Then it happened and I discovered that it was no big deal. Shortly before turning 61 I was diagnosed with an incurable cancer, so when I reached 65 I was ecstatic. I even threw myself a “still alive at 65” party! Now I’m 68, still going strong, and hoping to celebrate many more birthdays.

  30. Happy belated birthday, Sue! You hit one of those monumental years that loom large in our minds, are never prepared, left wondering how did this happen so soon?! 30 and 65 are emotional whammies. 30 was hard for me; no other numeral since. 65 arrived 3 years ago, after a welcome divorce from a hellish marriage. The peace I felt on that big birthday over-road the age milestone.

    You would not be human if you didn’t experience angst and deep reflection upon turning 65! The admonishment to get over it? Not particularly helpful… sharing this big birthday’s impact is. We hear you and support you!

  31. Oh Susan, you do not look old because of your gorgeous white hair. Your look gorgeous!!!
    belated Birthday wishes. I’m about to be 79, the decade of the eighties. I still wear jeans and mostly black and white and feel great. Course I will say I looked great in my 60’s. But the 70’s, one does see much bigger changes. Important to take good care of one’s skin and keep dressing with one’s personal style. It makes a difference. It’s because I dress with my own style (not fashion) and have spent a considerable time living in Paris…love the simplicity…you have it too!

    So don’t worry about others. I suspect you are simply seen as a beautiful woman with very nice style. People still tell me I ‘rock’ and think I am younger. The mirror tells me a different story…but then I wear this gaucho hat Bill (hubby) had made for me in Santa Fe, and a similar summer hat I found in a shop in Santa Fe….and I always say…A hat completes an outfit….but this is Arizona….

    Love your blog…stay the wonderful interesting gal you ARE!

  32. I’ll be 67 soon and, though I no longer color my hair, my transition to gray/white looks like it will be slow and painful. That said, 20+ years of active sun seeking, 10 years of smoking, and heredity have taken their toll. I figure the “cures” for Roadmap Face are expensive and short-lived; I’d rather spend the time and money making memories with my friends and family. I feel OLD some days, but even on those days I try also to be grateful that I’m upright, that I’m ambulatory, and that sunglasses hide a multitude of sins. We’ll all end up in the same condition eventually, and I reckon all we can control is our attitude along the way. 💕

  33. Happy Birthday, Sue—AND, as the kids shout, MANY MORE!

    Which leads me to the thought that moaning about accumulating birthdays is rather absurd since I doubt most of us would willingly choose to expire instead of adding another number to our years. And, since I’m being perverse, I am not going to accept the “go” trilogy even if it did make me chuckle. At 72, I figure it’s finally time to put an end to the “go-go” competition and just be content to go at whatever pace I can muster that day. As for the graying hair, wrinkled visage, and sundry ailments—well, those are the badges of a lucky woman who has been fortunate enough to able to accumulate a significant number of birthdays—something not given to everyone as Duchesse reminds us.

    Have you considered, Sue, that what confronts you in this “foreign territory” may not be the quicksand of ageism but instead an interesting opportunity to explore your current interests? And, as a bonus, you’ll get to start this stage equipped with a glorious mane of shiny white hair and extra funds in your bank account? Instead of seeing yourself reflected in the terrified eyes of the youngsters, I’d say run and jump across the Rubicon—and start investigating the possibilities in this “foreign territory”.

    1. I hear you. When I first retired I used to roll my eyes at retired women I knew saying they were more busy than when they were working. I think they felt a bit defensive when talking to people who weren’t retired. NOT being busy is one of the best things about being retired. Then again, I don’t consider reading my book, going for a walk, and writing my blog as busy. That’s recreation.

  34. Happy Birthday Susan! Just keep doing whatever it is your doing, it is obviously working for you! Sixty five, is just the beginning of a new exciting chapter…I keep telling myself that, I am right behind you!

    1. Thanks, my friend. Can’t wait for us to meet up for coffee. Once we are able to be out and about together I have a couple of blog post ideas that involve you.

  35. I think we all reflect on our life when birthdays come around and especially “number birthdays”. It has been such an interesting discussion. I would like to add this verse:

    For age is opportunity no less
    Than youth itself, though in another dress,
    And as the evening twilight fades away
    The sky is filled by stars invisible by day

    (Longfellow) 1825

  36. Good morning! The momentous thing today is that it is MY birthday and I am 64. You got a head start on me. I take after Daddy, so I am not yet grey.

    I walked almost 8 km yesterday. (We are celebrating in Alma and Fundy National Park.) I climbed back up the Laverty Falls trail without getting out of breath, while my hubby at 53 had to keep stopping for a rest. Short ones, mind you, because of the black flies. (Three years ago it was me needing the breathers.) So much for marrying a younger man. Even his mother admits I’m the younger one. 😂

    I think of my Mom who only managed 62, living her last years with cancer, and last decades with arthritis. I am so fortunate.

    My goal is to be as healthy and fit as now, when I’m 85, with a few extras like chin-ups on the monkey bars (never ever did these) and splits on the living room floor again. Good to have goals. I go at it slow and steady and surprise myself.

    Happy birthday, Sue! Hope to see your smiling face, maskless, one day soon. ❤️

  37. Happy Birthday! I’ll be 62 in June. First, I’m okay with my age. The part of aging that bothers me is there is so much focus on youth, and the wisdom of aging seems to be diminished, especially for women. At 61, I have an active career, raised children, cared for and said goodbye to parents. There is some wisdom that has been accumulated here, unfortunately from fashion to the workplace women my age seem to be pushed to the back and are treated as irrelevant. I wonder if I’m being grumpy, but I see examples of this daily. A coworker, who recently lost her husband, went to a gathering and was seated at the children’s table. 🤨🤣

    1. The attitude towards older women and especially older women without partners always astounds me. And when the media etc. tries to draw attention to seniors it is sooooo often condescending.

      1. I do agree. It seems as women sixty and older are put into two categories; ready for a walker or treated in a child like manner. Fashion is one area this is prevalent. When looking at clothing stores geared to my age I’m not sure if they want to pack me away to the retirement home or dress me like my daughter wanted to dress when she was 7.

  38. Joanne Murray

    Happy belated birthday, Suzie-Q!

    With running races and triathlons, individuals are ranked overall, but compete in 5 year age cohorts. This means that every 5 years a person hits a new milestone, and instead of just joining an older group, a competitor can look at it as being the baby in the older group. So, Sue, you are but a baby in the 65-69 cohort!

    Speaking of age cohorts for races, I’d sure love one more year to compete in my current group – I think, unfortunately, I live in the wrong province and the wrong country to be able to race this year. Guess I’ll have to apply some pandemic patience and wait for 2022. Sigh….how come sports are only for elite athletes these days?!

    Happy birthday to you, Alice!

    1. Thanks, Jo. I am looking forward to raising a glass (or two) with you sometime this summer under the stars. We will talk and laugh… I feel cheery just thinking about it. 🙂

  39. Mary Frances Herrin

    In three weeks, I will be 80. It’s been so long since I turned 65, that I can’t remember it being an event.

  40. I turned 60 in March. It seems unreal to me. I feel like I skipped 20 years somewhere. It sounds old. I don’t feel old, and I don’t think I look old, except to really young people…probably. It’s just weird and unsettling. I plan to enjoy myself. I just got a really great new job, so my fears of no one hiring me at this age turned out to be false. Working on my attitude.

    1. The numbers mean nothing we keep being told… except when the numbers do mean something to us. And sixty for me was okay. Fifty one was hard. And sixty-five gave me pause. Weird, eh? Congratulations on the new job!

  41. I’m 71…working on 72. I stopped coloring my curly hair last August. It seems like it’s taking forever to grow out, but I don’t care. My daughter in law calls me The Silver Fox…my husband is so supportive. Who really cares? I think that’s the best part of “aging” ….it’s realizing that you and the people who love you are the only ones who care, and if they don’t care, they I don’t have to either.

    There’s a wonderful book (among many) called “Women Rowing North” by Mary Pipher. In it she talks about aging in place; finding your best self; and making connections with friends and family. That’s what matters. Enjoy yourself…age truly is just a number and I’m not interested in 70 being the new 50….I’m 71. I’ve been married 49 years; raised 4 sons, who have wonderful wives; 9 grandchildren with #10 on the way; happily healthy, though not 20 anymore. I’m just busy being grateful for all that I have.

    1. Like when I had to get used to the look of skinny jeans and now have to adjust to baggier pants… my eye needs to catch up to my appearance. I know I shouldn’t care what I look like to others, but somehow I still do. Just not as much in years gone by. So I guess that’s progress.

  42. I am late to this party but I turn 65 next month. I am catching up with my online reading after my 1st stay in a hospital which was quite unexpected. Pancreatitis! Ugh! Anyway, I live in the US and have been plowing through the Medicare maze. That in itself makes me feel old! I don’t feel my age. I don’t think I look my age. I am still an honest to goodness brunette because I have been blessed with genes that kept my mom and grandma more pepper than salt gray into their 70/80s. I’ve been retired now for almost 10 years. I don’t like being pigeonholed into a ‘group’. Thanks for your thoughts, they make me feel more connected.

    1. My brother had no grey hair when he died at 70. And my mum went grey pretty late too. Not me. I had grey hair coming in when I was 25. Hope you are recovering well. Pancreatitis is no picnic.

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