On turning 65: not dead yet. I turned 65 this week. Wait, that’s impossible. I am a fresh-faced 23 year-old who just got her first real-world job in Boston. I’m a 39 year-old “freshman” in graduate school, learning the art and science of psychotherapy. I’m a 46 year-old bride to a brilliant, handsome man, still at my side.
The years have whooshed by quickly, just like my grandmother told me they would, and I scoffed. When you’re young, a summer is a lifetime, a year is incomprehensible. Age 65: that’s when you well and truly understand with profound truth that life is short.
So far, so good. I’m lucky (and have worked) to be physically fit. My health is excellent at 65, with just a touch of arthritis, failing vision for close-up, and a new yearning for afternoon naps. Not dead yet!
I live with gratitude for all the good fortune and grace I’ve enjoyed my whole life: to have been born to a working class family and never worried about food or lodging, not even one day. What a privilege! To have traveled and experienced strange/wonderful things. To have been in love many times, had heartbreak and soaring happiness. And finding just the right guy in midlife, one who makes turning 65 less shocking.
I used to think at age 65 one would have given up on frivolities, like hair, makeup, and stylish clothes. Ha! I have accepted but never loved my fuzzy hair. I just bought two new lipsticks and love to play with them. I adore fashion, though I’ve put it on the shelf during the pandemic. I will return!
I thought I’d look older by now. That sounds like an obnoxious brag, but with modern skincare and wellness, I see my peers also have a vital look. We aren’t any of us heading for frizzy silver perms or pink elastic pants. I’ve got all my own teeth. I can still do a shot of Tequila and dance. I look “my age” but like a healthy, spirited 65 year-old. It could be worse. 😊
But at my back I always hear
Time’s wingèd chariot hurrying near. -Andrew Marvell, To His Coy Mistress.
I first read Marvell’s poem when I was in my 20’s, unaware of time’s winged chariot. I thought time stretched out beyond the horizon. No such luxuries at age 65. The most profound realization growing older has brought: I’m in the 7th inning of my life (I miss baseball with a hot fire). I won’t be here forever – 20 more years if I am fortunate. The things I still burn to do – now is the time.
What I hope I have carried with me all my life, and all that remains, are love and knowledge. If anything survives us after we die, I believe it will be love and knowledge. So I keep as my goals: to give love and seek love. To keep learning, expanding, and welcoming the new. Maybe I have been wrong about something all these years. Teach me the truth!
Whatever your age – thanks for listening to a newly-minted senior citizen. Please keep living your authentic life, keep loving and learning, enjoy all the sandwiches, be excellent to each other.
Stay fabulous and safe, wash and wash and wash, xo
Listen to the professionals for all the latest news on the virus! Meanwhile, browse these goodies:
Header image via the garden at our cottage, 2005.
You are a beauty, also at this age. You don’t like your frizzy hair, I love it. And I don’t like my thin, straight hair. But… after having had extensions in my hair only to have them removed after three weeks, I am now in total harmony with my thin hair. It is mine! And it is still there. Things could be worse.
You lead a happy life and I wish you many more to come.
Such a beautiful post, Patti! You are an amazing and inspiring woman. Love and knowledge are the most wonderful legacies to leave, aren’t they? And it is funny how our grandmothers told us all the way time flies and we all scoff. As the years do fly by, one after the other, we begin to realize the truth in that statement. I hope you had the most wonderful birthday and I hope you get baseball back soon!
Hi Patti – I hope you had a lovely Birthday, despite virus restrictions. You look great, and those of us in my social media circle who are rapidly approaching 60, or have already got there, are not going to be the polyester elastic waist pants-wearing women of previous generations. As long as you continue to treat your body kindly, and are interested in and engaged by life and connected to others, your life will continue to bring you adventures and joy.
Good morning, Shelley! Thank you for your wise words. We are aging differently in our generation, not retiring from life. Stay wonderful and safe, xo.
Happy Birthday Pattie! Welcome to the over 60 crowd, we are still out here being visible and living life. Enjoy every moment. . . .
Thank you dear Neti! Nice to see you, and please stay safe and well, xo.
A wonderful birthday to celebrate and your thoughts are so beautifully written. Thank you. Sam the Aussie
Thank you, Sam, for coming by and for your kind thoughts! Enjoy the day and stay safe, xo.
Happy Birthday Patti and welcome to the 65 and over club. Isn’t it amazing to be at this point in life fit, happy and healthy and look back in wonder at how quickly these years have passed. Enjoy the celebrations. xx
Hello Jill and thank you for your warm words! I hope you have a wonderful week ahead, xo.
What a beautifully written post Patti! Life is indeed short, and time at a premium, so we need to make the most of it. Who would have thought our grandmothers were right! It’s a privilege to be able to count one’s blessings at any age. Happy birthday, Patti! xxx
Thank you so much Ann, for these lovely thoughts. Yes, let’s make the most of every day! Stay wonderful, xo.
Happy Birthday- YOu look phenomenal!!! Such beauty!! Please come and share your posts over at my blog. I have a link up every Friday at noon Eastern time:) Thanks!
Hi Lucy and thanks for your kind words! Have a great Friday, xo.
Happy Birthday, Patti. You look fabulous for 35! Let alone 65. I just turned 64 on Tuesday… so I am breathing down your neck..so to speak. xo
Happy birthday right back to you, Sue! I hope you’re having a wonderful Canadian spring, wish I were there. xo
Happy Birthday Patti! Yeah 65! You go girl. I know I’m older than that. Let’s see…68 in June? yep. (I had to do the math.)
Thanks Pao, fellow traveller on the 60-trail! Math is hard. Stay safe, xo.
Happy Birthday, dear Patti! I hope you hoist two shots of tequila! You awe me – can I be you when I grow up? Time does fly – tempus fugit! And let’s carpe diem while we’re at it. That was a wonderful post, and brought a tear to my eye. 53 this year for me, and I’m starting to realize I’m not going to live forever. I’m somewhat outraged at this.
Hugs to you, hello to Sandy and a scritch for Skinny G.
Hello Sheila! and thanks for all the kind words. Hell yes to carpe diem! (I did have two shots last night). Stay fabulous, xo.
Beautiful essay about your life & aging. Thank you. What do you do to stay fit (diet & exercise, I bet, but what specifically)? Thanks
Hello Orange, and thank you so much for coming by! Please come again. I eat mostly healthy foods, nothing fried and no red meat. I do have a sweet tooth though. I workout moderately every day, with calisthenics, light weights and yoga. Stay healthy and safe, xo.
Hey Patti, happy birthday. I am a new fan so I wasn’t sure what to expect of this site
You woke me up w/ your comment about accepting hair frizziness. What? Do you have secrets? There are some discussions about safety practices for salons when they open (soon, I hope!). No blow drying. No straight hair! Anyway, nice to meet you.
Hello Li and it’s a pleasure to meet you too! I accept my frizz by washing only twice a week, using lots of good-smelling gel, and wearing a hat when nothing works : > Have a great weekend, xo.
Not far behind you, I am turning 61 in June. Have followed you off and on for a number of years. Wishing you all the best Patti!
Thanks so much, dear Tami. Our sixties can be wonderful times, with fewer worries and more wisdom! Enjoy, xo.
Happy Birthday to you, Patti! may you enjoy many, many more!
Stephen Squirrel celebrated his 15th birthday on Tuesday, a year behind Skinny! xxx
Thank you Vix for your kind words! Stephen Squirrel is a lucky fellow to have you as his caregiver : > xo.
Obviously an Admin issue a Births, Deaths and Marriages – they got the year wrong!!! You’re amazing and you deserve an amazing Birthday Week!!! Enjoy and happiest wishes to you. Xx
LOL, thank you Charlie, you’re too kind. I hope your weekend ahead is joyful, xo.
Happy Birthday to you, Patti!! It has been wonderful getting to know you and to admire your sassy attitude and wonderful way with fashion and funk! Keep on keeping on and know your following SALUTES you as you walk your walk!!
thank you dear Mary! I love the idea of a salute for all of us, doing our lives authentically xo.