Biting the Bullet

 

That’s how a friend described reaching her 60th.  It didn’t seem to matter much to me, reaching 40, and 50 seemed OK too, but somehow when I got to 60 something hit me and I was flattened by an anvil like a character from Looney Tunes.

I didn’t feel 60, and I didn’t think I looked 60 and my head was still full of the same things I’d always been interested in. Somehow though it was different. The world looked at me differently and the invisibility of retirement age sank in – deeply.

The double whammy came when I realised that although my husband had retired with his company and state pension there would be a full six years for me to wait. So although I now felt “see through” in reality because we’re all living longer I’m supposed to be vibrant and productive. I’m not at retirement age or a pensioner at all.

But who wants to make use of us? Who will use our life experience and skills in a productive way? Who represents us positively in the media? I know there are 60 year old successful writers, artists, scientists, cooks, business women, mothers, and carers around. Women of that age drive buses, run companies, create youth activities, self help groups, and most importantly volunteer, to fulfil the desire of the ‘Caring Society’. Millions of them care for grandchildren so parents can go out to work, and they’ve already cared for one if not two sets of parents. We’ve done the caring all our lives, and all the other things too.

Technology has motored at such speed and as a gadget lover I’ve sort of kept up, just. I’m aware though that many women in my age bracket haven’t. They see Facebook as the work of the Devil “I don’t want everybody looking into my life”, Twitter fares worse “pointless waste of time” and to others “I spend all day on the computer at work and don’t want to be on it when I get home”. So many of the women I shared experiences and formative years with are not sharing the same influences as me now.  And yet the Web can provide us with so much, contacts, information, activities, knowledge and friendship.

Who represents us? When I tried to think of influential women in my age group the vein was thin. Who was born in the 50’s who makes a difference? Dawn French? Annie Lennox, Lulu um…. Women in their 60’s aren’t represented on TV, they’re not in adverts unless its for incontinence products denture fixative or funeral plans. They don’t read the news, or present daytime TV. They don’t talk about fashion and make up, or health or fitness or diet. I looked online for inspiration. Bloggers? I don’t want to be defined as being a grandparent (because I’m not) or a pensioner, or any other limiting description. I’m me, and I know there are other people like me who feel the same.

So I start this blog with no idea who will be interested but its my vision to share the platform with other women in or approaching their 60’s who may want to talk about their dreams and frustrations, successes and failures. I hope they’ll influence what to talk about and share who they want to listen to or watch on TV and most importantly how they want to be perceived.

We’re all living longer so our 60’s and 70’s need to be more fulfilling and with an opportunity to offer so much more of what we are.

I hope you’ll join me as we explore.

12 thoughts on “Biting the Bullet

  1. Good for you, Debbie, pave the way for me! Please feel free to add a tad more purpose to your days by offering plant advice for our garden.x

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  2. Great blog, almost me to a tee. Except I have moved to Spain to enjoy what years with have with my hubby ( supported by him on his pension). I am doing Voluntary work here, meeting people….. Great article. Happy to share my experiences here ascwell

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  3. Said very eloquently ……it does feel to me that life is perhaps not as welcoming as it once was, and unfortunately I do need to work because of the SPA rise to 66 , which stops me from doing what I hoped to do. I did want to start volunteering work, it was to be a new challenge in life but one I thought would give me great pleasure and t meet others who were perhaps leading lifestyles like myself …..sadly it is not to be.

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  4. Lovely to share all our experience we all have so much we want to do.i don’t always have the energy I have been very interested in the 50 s women I have sent my letter to the local mp. Just found out I get my pension in July that’s 63 and 3 months I am luckier than a lot of ladies .

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  5. Oh my goodness I agree with so much of what you have written. I just cannot express it as well as you. I too have recently hit 60, I am also not a grandmother! It drives me mad to read in the press descriptions of women by their status ie “grandmother” or if not then oh “mother” will do. Why is a status needed anyway?
    I also agree about the internet, I embraced it straightaway and now couldn’t imagine life without it. Those people you mention who are frightened, prejudiced, not interested affect others attitudes to rest of us who are not backward looking but forward looking. Just adds to the stereotype.
    My partner and I have just sold our business, he has his pension and I am hoping to find a part time job for the next 6 years!! One comment above mentioned she would have liked to have done some voluntary work. All those charities who relied on volunteers will find the pool will dry up as women our age have to keep on working!
    Just a few of my jumbled thoughts in response.

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    1. Hi Bev. So glad it resonates with you too. And yes, you’re quite right. I’m concerned about how many women won’t be able to offer the childcare or do the voluntary work undertaken by so many up until now. However, on a more positive note I’m hoping to focus on the more positive aspect of our age group and talk about things we can all relate to. Please keep in touch.

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