My husband turned 65 last month. Was he happy? I don’t think so. Everyone keeps asking him when he is going to retire. Or they ask him if he signed up for Medicare yet. He’s got one foot in his youth and one foot in old age.
The Fourth Quarter, we like to call it. We will be happy if we make it to 83 – happy, healthy and still driving.
I’m just beginning my 60th decade. So far, it’s not so bad. The best part is having time and the worse part is …. having time. My husband likes to go, go, go and I have grandchildren to play with. One of the best gifts though has been my girlfriends – ones I’ve had for awhile and even more importantly, ones I’ve recently connected up with again.
I’ve thought a lot about what we’ve been through over the years. I can’t help my husband with decisions he needs to make about work and not working but I think I have a keen understanding about what we women go through.
Decades. It’s almost easy to define our decades with one word. This is in the general sense, of course. You may be one decade ahead of me or one behind, but I think you’ll get an understanding of all the little (and not so little) events that impact our lives.
The beginning (birth through 10) – Wonder.
I wonder what school will be like, what I will get for Christmas. Having a good friend that lives next door. Baby brothers and sisters. Hula Hoops, roller skates, tetherball, bicycles. All fun and wonder.
Teens – Adventure.
Make-up and boys. Starting your period. Getting boobs. Learning how to kiss and slow dance. Heartbreak. Junior High. High School. College? Where will I go? Who am I going to be? The world is wide open. If only I could just see it.
Twenties – Settle.
Careers. Marriage. Kids. Mortgage. A lot of ugly bridesmaids dresses.
Thirties – Time.
Meaning no time. We are either in the midst of raising a bunch of kids or deep in our career or both. We are trying to keep the clock pushed back but we really don’t have any time to exercise or eat well. It’s soccer practice, homework, keeping your boss happy while juggling your home life, finding alone moments with your partner and making sure your checkbook balances.
Maybe a better word would be chaos.
Forties – Change.
My mom always told me my 40s would be great. I think she was right. It’s when women really come into their own. Kids are growing up and don’t need you as much. If you are working, your career is pretty much a no-brainer and you have some tenure. If you’ve been staying home with kids, it’s great to go back to work.
How’s the marriage? Usually this is a very tenuous time for a husband and wife. Time for a change and some opt for divorce (a long overdue one at that). Others teeter and find a way to make the change work. Whatever the situation, your relationship with your husband/partner will change.
Fifties – Hot flash (I know. It’s two words).
You suddenly look in the mirror and see your mom. When the hell did this happen? It’s not fun but trust me, soon you’ll embrace it. You will find you now that you have gotten some time back and wonderful friends who are willing and ready to go on great adventures with you. You have your health, you have some spending money and you have a need to connect with people and the world around you. You may not look as good as you did in your 20s, but the hell with that. This is your decade to enjoy life.
Sixties – Content.
You’ve accepted your body image, but not all the way so you work at it (a little). You have health issues. Money can be tight. You may have lost a friend or two. Parents are gone by now. Kids have their own lives. You do wonder what you should do now. Can you still contribute to society? Do you want to contribute?
There is one thing you do know – you are not ready to roll over and die. But do you really want to take that little plane over to the Big Island?
Why the heck not?
I’m curious about my 70s/80s.
Will I make it that long? If I do, will I be healthy enough to enjoy it and young enough to embrace it?
I guess the best way to approach this whole age thing is to just not over think it because it’s really not up to us.
My advice (handed down by my mother, I’m sure) – Make the best of your time. Keep your loved ones close, your friends even closer and understand that shit happens.
When you look back at each decade know that you did the best you could and a damn good job at that.