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What We Learn in Our Sixties

Sixties

Laurie is pictured with her husband, Randy. In her sixties she feels the need to band closer with family and friends who make her feel safe, less afraid and lonely. 

By Laurie Stone

Have you ever reached a certain age and can’t believe you’re there? It seems like yesterday you’re young and dewy-eyed and in no time at all, you’re in the “seventh inning stretch.” Still, there are things I’ve learned in my sixties that came along in no other decade, little specks of wisdom I wouldn’t trade for anything. Here are the top six.

What’s Inside Never Changes

I keep expecting to feel old in my sixties and it never happens. Yes, the outside has changed, but that person inside? She’s still there, loving life, wanting to savor each moment, writing and reading and dancing around, even more than my impatient, eye-rolling younger self. Is that never-changing part of our being the soul? I like to think so.

Our Tribe Is More Important Than Ever

Is it me or is the world getting scarier? I guess each generation has its traumas and terrors. And yet, in my sixties I feel the need to band closer with family and friends who make me feel safe, less afraid and lonely. The nice thing is our tribe doesn’t always have to be the same age, gender or race. It doesn’t even have to be people we know. Certain authors, speakers and musicians can instantly uplift me. In addition to family and friends, I seek them out a lot.

Tuning Out the World

Each morning, I spend five minutes scrolling the New York Times and Washington Post headlines and the next 30 minutes doing word puzzles. It’s not that I don’t care about the world’s problems and let’s face it, that’s all these papers serve up. I care too much. I can’t process the never-ending litany of fear, tragedy and senseless violence. For my own mental health, in my sixties I’ve learned to be selective about what I let into my brain.

Medical Check-ups Are a Must

Sigh. I used to put off annual physicals as long as possible. I have terrible White Coat Syndrome (my blood pressure rises just walking into the waiting room). So when I was younger, I’d skip a year or two here or there. One time I realized four years had gone since I’d had a certain important check-up. Oops. And when I went, I was shaking like a leaf, sure they’d find something. In my sixties I vowed to make check-ups timely, not only for my health, but my sanity. So far, it makes things easier.

Life Becomes More Precious

Sitting in the local coffee shop eating an egg and pepper sandwich. Looking at the little fish and frogs swimming in our backyard pond. Reading with my Yorkie Libby on my lap. Sitting around the dinner table with family and friends. When younger, I thought these were only small “blips” on the way to real life. Now, in my sixties, I realize these are real life and when I look sometimes at my happiest memories, they’re these tiny, precious nuggets.

Trusting Intuition

When young, I’d dismiss that inner voice as “just my imagination.” Who knew that voice turns out to be important? In my sixties, I’m bigger than ever on asking for guidance and taking those usually small steps that are given in return: Call that person. Take this road, not that one. Wait and be patient. Okay, now act. By the time we’re in our sixties we know ourselves well and what feels right and what doesn’t. I also tune in to spiritual gurus who are life-affirming, hopeful and positive. I need that more than ever.

Yes, in our sixties, we’re in the young part of growing old. And no doubt, health and money play into everything. But even for those struggling, many, I know, are still game, still wanting to take a bite out of life.

Sometimes I look at the young and dewy-eyed and think, you have such a long, incredible road ahead. I know it’s hard to imagine now, but your sixties can be amazing.

Laurie Stone writes from the woods of Easton, Conn. Her blog, “Musings, Rants &Scribbles,” shares thoughts on growing up, older and (hopefully) wiser. Follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

3 Responses to “What We Learn in Our Sixties”

  1. Alana says:

    As I prepare to exit my 60’s later this year, I have to say that I agree with everything you list. The feeling the same inside was the real surprise. I really am that little girl but a whole lot wiser, a whole lot more patient (sometimes) and…sometimes a whole lot more tired. But even the taking longer to get going and tiring out more quickly has a bit of an up side. It has been a surprising decade in my life.

  2. Diane says:

    I totally agree that the sixties are amazing! SO enjoying this!
    And now I want an egg and pepper sandwich…

  3. Lauren says:

    I agree with ALL of this. Especially trusting your intuition.

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