Thoughts on Turning 70

As my birthday approaches, I have many thoughts on turning 70.  It seems that milestone birthdays — especially those that mark another decade merit reflection.

I’ve now lived seven decades of my life.  It’s truly a time for reflection!  I’m looking back at old journals as I can’t recall each of these important decade birthdays. I’ve previously written about celebrating a birthday. Thoughts on turning 70 are similar to those described in an earlier post Celebrating 66 Years — Every Birthday Counts. 

On my 20th birthday I got engaged.  In today’s society, I wonder how I was so sure of a relationship to make a long-term commitment at twenty. Times were different and love dominated all feelings. A few months later, I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts. Getting a good job and, living my life with a handsome man would fulfill my life’s dream.

By the time I turned 30, my husband and I had moved across the country to Montreal for graduate school.  We both completed our first graduate degrees and moved a couple of times before  settling into careers and our first suburban house.  I had begun my career as a child and family therapist in a children’s mental health center.  We traveled at whim, entertained frequently, and partied every weekend.  It was a carefree time.

Things changed again by the time I reached 40.  We had a bright, talented six-year old son who kept us busy with Suzuki music lessons, soccer, and other sports.  Parenthood brought more stability and responsibility.  My husband undertook studies for a PhD and my career took off with progressive management positions. I wrote the GMAT exam and began part-time studies for a MBA while continuing at my job.

The years flew past.  By age 50, we had moved once more, this time for my career, and into the house where we still reside.  I was managing a multi-site provincial agency, a role that involved long hours, travel and much more responsibility.  Our son graduated from a specialized arts high school and began university studies in Boston. He played élite level soccer on the provincial and the national team as well as at the NCAA varsity level. Social life changed again. Most weekends were spent traveling to soccer games or tournaments in various cities in Canada or the US.

My 60th birthday found me in another senior executive job with opportunities to influence the public policy agenda for children and responsibility for the policy and funding needs of child welfare agencies in the province. Our son was pursuing graduate studies in Scotland. The empty nest meant that my husband and I could travel again, which we did when opportunity arose.

Birthday Cake -- photo courtesy of Laura D'Alessandro

Over this weekend, I’ll celebrate 70 years. The past decade, like all others, passed without much notice. Retirement gave me a new ‘freedom to fly’ into the so-called third age.  A new identity has emerged through becoming a mother-in-law and a grandmother, writing this blog, developing new friendships, volunteering, and pursuing long neglected hobbies.

My thoughts on turning 70 have me wondering what the eighth decade will bring. I have enormous blessings including a loving husband and family, enough money to life a comfortable life, and relatively good health. I’m at peace with my age and hope that I have many more years of life as there is still so much to learn.

At twenty, I never thought I would get this old.  Sometimes, I look in the mirror and wonder whose reflection stares back. Gravity has taken its toll. I do think of my mortality. I face certain age-related issues as some aspects of aging have drawbacks. In a youth-oriented society, age stereotypes as expressed in a earlier post ‘Aging ‘Successfully’ lead many to make negative assumptions about me.

I’ve resolved that I won’t let societal expectations haunt me.  I won’t let this decade rush past.  I plan to lighten up, yet live my remaining years with purpose. I will stay hopeful about the future, confident about my abilities, and aware of my limitations. I will spend less time meeting expectations of others and take more time to focus on personal expectations. Getting old is empowering — I’m determined to use my experience, wisdom, and strength of character to grow old on my terms.

Thanks for reading my post.  I’m eager to hear reader comments about getting older.  If you like my blog, please consider becoming a subscriber and you will receive future posts by email.

Birthday Cake photo courtesy of Laura D’Alessandro

 

4 Replies to “Thoughts on Turning 70”

  1. What a great idea—recording birthdays according to the decades! I’ve written journals as well, but never in such an organized fashion. Love the clean, modern look of your blog. I use WordPress as well, and am so happy I chose it over Blogspot (which has a complicated system of handling comments and subscriptions). I just arrived on this page, and will go on to read more…

    1. Hi Diane, Thanks for your comments about my birthday post. I find that writing a journal helps me to start the day in a positive and optimistic mood. I also appreciate your comment about the blog. I’ve stayed away from advertising and have tried to keep postworksavvy uncluttered. I do like WordPress; however, I confess, that I use only a few of its many features!
      Be well,
      Jeanette

  2. Hi Jeannette: A quick note to let you know how much I look forward to your blog, as definitely can relate to many, if not all, your selected topics. Hope you celebrate your big BD in style! Ciao

    1. Hi Gayle,
      I’m happy to hear that you like my blog posts. I did have a great birthday — our son and daughter-in-law prepared a lovely dinner. The cake had one candle for each decade, a total of seven candles. O course, our grand-daughter helped me to blow them! I’ve received birthday cards and email wishes from many friends and relatives. Indeed, as I said in the post, I have enormous blessings!
      Be well,
      Jeanette

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