Hey there ladies; I’m just popping my head up long enough to say that as it turns out, I’m pretty ill, and that you should, with any luck at all, expect me back in this space Monday morning, bright and early. Thanks for your patience as I recuperate, and here’s my question for the day: I turn 55 on Sunday, and am experiencing the usual round of mixed emotions that lately hits near birthdays. So tell me: from your perspective, what are the great things about getting older? Also, here’s a fun little interview with me from the excellent newsletter for certain-aged ladies, The Woolfer.
Ice cream and cake today! Congratulations on the double nickels!
I just turned 60. What a number! But, so far I have found it strangely liberating. I don’t have “fight” being older – I am older! No skirting around 55+ senior discounts, neurotically looking for conversational references to my age. I hope I look good for 60, but honestly, I probably just look like a 60 year old who takes fairly good care of herself. I’m grateful for the fact that my husband and I are active, both physically and mentally.
Late to the game but here is something to cheer you up – Isabel Marant’s Surprisingly Calm, and Very Parisian, Fashion Week https://nyti.ms/2Hbrhg6
How you are feeling better.
At 53 I dyed my eyebrows for the first time today because they are getting gray. I love not giving a crap, not sweating the small stuff so I can spend more time on stuff that matters, and eating dessert more often. Get better and HBD!
Carol Matthau, a writer, once said this: “There is no old age. There is, as there always was, just you.” I’m in my early 70s, and if I saw myself as a number instead of a whole person, I might be depressed. So let the birthdays come. Celebrating your life, not your age, is what a birthday should be, after all. L’chaim.
When I turned 50 I thought for a while and came up with only one real change on my birthday. When I use exercise machines I have to put in a higher number for the age. It really is no big deal. Rest, recover, and put in that new number!
Best part of getting older?
-Aging out of sexual harassment
Feel better Kim. You are a badass who makes 55 look like a chic walk in the park.
Sending you lots of good energy towards recovery! Existential angst is the worst when you are sick and your daily routine is disrupted I like to watch “serious” movies during such times as I feel they reflect the weight of the whole situation. Last time I was sick I watched Olive Kitteridge on Prime. What a downer, it was absolutely perfect and satisfyingly long! Happy Birthday, at 47 I echo what everyone else is saying. I think that not being overly concerned with what people think of me is my favorite part.
One of my favorite aging quotes: the idea is to stay young as long as possible. Ashley Montagu
Feel better. Happy Birthday.
whoops, botched the Montagu quote in my earlier comment, he said “the idea is to die young as late as possible.” my bad–freudian?
Happy, happy birthday Kim and thank you for your blog, it’s a gift you give all of us!
Happy Birthday! You look GREAT (even when sick). I spend a lot of time with much older people, in their eighties and nineties, and they completely inspire me with their zest for life, their continuing curiosity about everything and their eagerness to learn. One zippy 94 year old told me, everything got so much better for me after 50. I spent the first fifty years caring for everyone else, and now I can do what I want!
I just turned 64 and I love it. I am most most authentic self and it took a couple of years. Started when my 35 year old career ended in mag publishing . Started when I let my hair transition to it’s beautiful natural silver which looks SO much better. Started when I dumped some long term friends that were closet haters when I started to make some changes, My tips-stop whining and take control of your life. Stay curious, read, watch, visit, explore. Don’t talk about health issues-even if you are home sick-no one wants to hear it. Pamper your self with massages, and injectibles by people who know what they are doing and don’t make you look like a freak, Sleep and rest without apology. Own the power for all the dues you paid.
Thanks for your thoughts. In fairness to me, I mentioned that I was sick not to “whine,” but so that so my readers would understand why I wasn’t posting. I think anyone who comes here regularly knows I don’t mention my personal life often.
I’m 53 and the hair on my legs grows in grey and is much less noticeable. So that’s a plus!
Knowing my worth, not being afraid to speak up when my older, male employer tried to underpay me, and not feeling weird about doing so. That took a lot of time, but it is the most empowerment I’ve ever felt. It’s also nice to have female HR consultants who shared my anger and helped ensure that this happened.
This is so great to read through all this wonderful advice. Im so sorry youre sick, but Im so glad you used your illness to give this community a chance to share this.
Im 48 and I just want to add that sex is a lot better. A. LOT. BETTER. (And don’t be afraid of the localized estrogen cream)
You know how when you’re young you hear that you have to work at marriage and you don’t know what that means? But as the years pass, you get it. Well, having just turned 71, I might be the oldest GOACA in this thread and I’m here to tell you you have to work at aging well. Health is largely a lottery, so some good luck is required in that realm. Nevertheless, exercising regularly and vigorously and eating clean has contributed greatly to my physical well-being as well as my confidence and happiness. (Others might enjoy eating and drinking mostly for pleasure, but discipline is my comfortable, happy place.) Despite not participating in social media I make sure to stay technologically current, politically and culturally aware. Emotionally, I’ve learned that being grateful is a choice, one that brings regular rewards. One of the benefits of age is the knowledge that almost no one has a charmed, tsuris-free life. Like many women with older husbands I’m handling a number of challenges, but I’ve found that patience and kindness are muscles – the more you use them, the stronger they grow. On the lighter side, I am more sure of my style than ever and more delighted by the wardrobe I’ve assembled, which is rather amazing considering inevitable limitations like my once pretty cleavage changing for the worse. I’ve accepted the fact that clothes bring me joy and refuse to apologize for that, demonstrating another version of the not giving a fig what others think stance often mentioned here.
This is fantastic Mimi! I’m just starting to date an older man (55 to my 43) and have been having some anxiety about it. Your wise words give me a bit of comfort!
Older men could be a topic for a whole separate digression/discussion. My husband is 9 years older and we are now in rather disparate phases, mentally and phyically. Some things I know: people age differently. One man or woman’s 65 is another’s 75 and vice versa. And after 50 or so there are no guarantees. So we live our lives and try to do so wih happiness and grace.
Absolutely. We can keep our older guys young. And for those lucky enough to have a younger man, they surely are keeping you young.
Wise words. Thank you, Mimi.
Whoops! I forgot to add Happy Birthday to Kim. ❤️
Saw this article and thought of you IMMEDIATELY. https://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/im-a-clog-bitch-now
Get well soon Kim! The positives about growing older? Many of the previous comments have nailed it. For me, I’ve found the courage to end friendships that needed to end, and the courage to cultivate new friendships, neither of which come easy to me. The other joy is simply not caring what others think, and finding it easier to be true to myself.
Absolutely agree with Nancy ! Plus my mother never made it to my age and I am starting a new and much more high paying job at 55 — a new adventure she didn’t have a chance to do. Just remember it’s better than the alternative!
A great benefit of age is fewer and better___ (fill in the blank). I feel I’ve pared a lot of things down and am the better for it, closer to being my best and truest self. Also, getting older brings calm to my life via the realization that all the whacko shit that’s gone down over the years hasn’t broken me. In reality, that shit has MADE me. Take care of yourself Kim, you’ve got a lot of great years ahead.
Dearest Kimfrance – thank you for this question – I really need the read all the comments. I’ve been having a tougher time lately to see the silver lining myself. Not always but often, it’s easier to zero in on what I like, what is meaningful and what lasts – in friendships, thrift shops and menus!
I hope you feel better soon Kim!
Dang Kim! Sorry you are still feeling bad. I’m soon to be 68 and I have to say my 60s have been the Best Decade. Not caring what others, especially men, think is SO freeing! I am happy with the person I have become and happy to have time to pursue both old and new activities and interests. The downside is feeling physically weaker and a bit creaky sometimes. To my younger self I would say “Don’t slack off on fitness”. I did for a while and it’s much harder to get it back when you are older.
For me, the best things about getting older: I’m not dead yet!! Plus I feel like I get happier and more confident each year. I’m more honest & generally have less time for bullshit than I did when I was younger. I’m recognized as an expert in my career and field & people reach out to me for my opinions & advice, which feeds my ego. But I also still have a sense of adventure, am capable of learning new things, and my core weirdness (what I think gives me my personality) have not changed and I have more courage to express said weirdness.
So sorry you aren’t feeling well. I feel yah. Turned 55 on my last birthday and I swing wildly back and forth about it — sometimes so very glum; other times weirdly giddy and liberated, very much in the i-give-zero-fucks-what-anyone-thinks mode. If I get too glum, I generally wallow in it for a while because, well, I just can’t help it. If it goes on TOO long, I think to myself, “Hey, mama, tomorrow you’ll be even one day older so snap the fuck out of it!”
However, let me say THIS to you: I feel EVER so slightly bitter because I have obsessively taken care of my skin since I’ve been 15 — avoiding sun like a mad woman on top of that. Your skin looks SO much better than mine! What are you currently using? I’m feeling jealous. (And that is SUPER aging so help me out!)
Happy birthday, doll.
— susan xo
As a 52 year old woman who battled cancer at age 46, I’m here to tell you: EVERY BIRTHDAY IS A GIFT! Get in a mindset to embrace each year, each milestone you are given. Celebrate each birthday with gusto and cherish each day. The alternative (death) sucks.
To echo many here, the ability to parse what matters/what doesn’t, and the feeling of freedom it brings. Looking at the world with older eyes (61), I think I’m more compassionate AND suffer fewer fools!
FEEL BETTER KIM❗️♥️ & HaPpY BiRtHdAy Love-
Best Year Yet For sure🎂
Here’s my heartfelt wish for all GOACAs: May you live long enough to have the resources to free yourself from other people’s schedules and get in touch with your own biorhythms and live by them. Because nothing feels better than rolling with your own energy level. After a lifetime of being on other people’s schedules, I’m finally able to rest thoroughly and gather my strength for what really matters. It feels incredible.
Amen to that, Mae!!! I feel every aspect of my life changed for the better when I was able to afford the shift from full to part time work, and was able to create my own schedule instead of marching to someone else’s drum. I feel so fortunate every day!
I turned 55 last summer. It’s a blessing and a curse. Blessing in that I’ve figured out what matters to me. I no longer need or care about my job title. It’s a curse in that I’ve figured out what matters to me. And I need my job. the filter’s gone and I no patience with prattling off corporate jargon. But I love to train and I love to learn new things. On the personal side, I’ve become more tolerant because people have become more important.
I’m sorry you’re not feeling well and having a birthday coming up is probably not helping. Hope you are feeling a little better each day.
I feel you – 55 was a tough year for me mentally. I was feeling out of shape, down on myself and like I was 72.
I’m about to hit 56 and feel much better… focusing on the positive and spending time with people I love helped. So did getting back into exercise—even a little bit of moving around does wonders for my outlook and it’s so important as we age. Move it or lose it is a reality. Finally, so did realizing I’m the youngest I’ll ever be, and I needed to stop moping around and start living it up.
Life is short. In our 50s this becomes all too clear and it’s time to make the most of it.
The good part of being 50-plus is, as everyone else said, not giving a fuck. Also, girlfriends! Can’t live without them. Happy birthday!
Fellow Aquarius just turned 49 which sometimes makes me clutch my throat and think how did I get here and have it not look like what I thought it would! But as stated by others, there are so many things I don’t give a fuck about that I’ve earned the right not to, and feel comfortable in my skin, my confidence, my accomplishments, me.
Oh and I took the day off from work on my birthday, went to the movies, treated myself to lunch and ate birthday cake for dinner!
Sorry you are not feeling well. Being sick blows. For me getting older has meant taking way more risks. I will be 59 (good Lord) and am again contemplating another move to another state for a job. I just did this a year and a half ago! I guess because I have no one to answer to but myself I could do it if I choose. Being able to do as you please really is a perk of age. I am going on a weekend yoga retreat in a few weeks and then on a solo trip to Israel a week after that. I am fortunate to have good health and self-reliance. That ability to rely on oneself really does give you so much confidence. And that only came with age for me; I was not like that at all when I was younger. I felt if I was not with someone then I would look odd. Who the f cares anymore? Life is way more interesting when you take risks and try new things.
Happy birthday & feel better soon!! Enjoyed the nice, quick read article. I turned 59 last month and treated myself to a pair of Dr Martens – my first pair ever. I feel so badass and strong in them and don’t give a rat’s ass what anyone thinks. As I have moved through my fifties and made some major life changes (retired early from job of 24 years, for one), I have found that I am less stressed, my extreme level of anxiety has lessened, my severe depression is sooooo much better. I am more comfortable in my skin than I have ever been.
I’m winging healthy wishes from the west coast where sickness + rains + grey skies reminds me that everything looks better in health and sun. So too may it be for turning 55.
There are inspiring posts above mine (and sure to be below) about what’s great about aging. To stay connected to that greatness: feast on the creative works of great woman older than yourself. Between reading Susan Gubar’s “Late Life Love” and Masha Gessen’s New Yorker portrait of lesbian icon Barbara Hammer, I’m feeling the badass potentiality of aging. These women remind me to blow open my own self-perceived notions of age. As it is said: Youth is a gift of nature. Aging is a work of art.
If you need a Saturday morning boost, google “Skip The Needle” (the all women rock/funk band) and find a video of all of the women– including 64 year old Vicki Randle– kicking ass. It’s beyond inspiring. And might make you want to take up the bass guitar.
Hi, Kim, I hope you are on your way to recovery. Don’t let that number spook you! I am about to start a new job at 62 in my chosen field (skincare development) and when interviewed, the Chairman of the Board said, “I *love* that you’re not a millennial!” There’s something to be said about experience and work ethic, and it’s great to have that appreciated.
I have let my silver streaked hair grow in and I throw a little purple or bright blue rinse in when I’m feeling festive. You soon will not have to shave your legs! The little insecurities you had when you were 20 and 30 will melt away. My role model is my 86-year old mom who takes 5 classes a week (gentle yoga, Zumba and cardio boot camp) and can do 60 sit ups and 60 push ups in one sitting. She’s a great example to all her younger gym-mates! So…celebrate that birthday as only a half-way mark in your life!!
hope you feel better soon; i am turning 65 in November so i share your pain about the passing of yet another birthday. The benefits of getting older? assuming you have maintained your healthy “girl” friendships, you can feel free to jealously guard your free (non work) time. If asked to attend something on a Friday night by a friend that i really don’t want to do, I say no–when younger, i would feel guilty (self imposed). Part of this is my energy level is not quite what it was when younger, but the other part is–I choose to spend my energy on things i truly want to do.
Hope you heal up fast and well!
Hope you’re on the mend soon! I’m two weeks away from my 64th….What I love about getting older keeps growing…I care less about what people think with every year; I love feeling secure in what I know about work, life, etc. cause when life smacks you around — which it invariably does — you can either wallow or learn. I have chosen the latter. And, since I have finally grown into my own style, I am having a good time with clothes, makeup, etc. All that insecurity from my 20s and 30s is so far in the rear view I barely recall. I have finally grown into the baddass I always wanted to be.
Awww, Kim, I hope you feel better soon. I’m going to be 60 in 3 weeks, so I have been thinking a lot about how I feel about this. For me personally,getting older has allowed to to relax. I have spent my life as a frantic people pleaser, lying awake at night in fear that I had somehow caused offence unwittingly, and the happiness of everyone around me was always much more important than my own. I now know the difference between the people who are important and the ones who aren’t, and that is SO liberating.
I will be 55 this year as well. I hope your recuperation from your illness is swift. One of the best parts of growing old is not giving a fuck about lots of petty things in life. In the end there are only a couple of things that matter – “we are stardust – we are golden.”
Thank you for the update. Being sick is the worst, and I hope you feel better too. (The only good thing about being sick is the renewed gratitude you feel once you are well again). I’m happy to be reading all these comments about aging, because I am really struggling with it right now. So thank you, and feel better!
I’m 46 and the joy in that is simply that I give fewer fucks. Oh, and my car insurance rates are lower.
Heather I’m with you – it boils down to giving fewer fucks about the stuff that doesn’t matter and giving more fucks about the stuff you really know does matter.
A few summers ago I spent two weeks leading a group of college students in Spain, and I came back so grateful to be old enough to be their mother. First, I have the perspective to deal with problems as problems, instead of crises. I’m also deeply grateful that I didn’t grow up in the days of full social media immersion – its emotionally crippling for young people in ways we’re just beginning to understand.
And finally, the kicker was that walking around with a bunch of gorgeous 20 year olds made me realize that being young and pretty gets you special attention only from the people who I would most like to ignore, because the kind and interesting people don’t care whether you fit some societal standard of hotness. I found I was present to the awesome people we met, and invisible to the assholes, which was such an advantage that I felt sorry for my students.
Best wishes for improved health. Please celebrate when you are feeling better. Better yet, celebrate “5+5” times.
I’m sorry to hear you are still sick … but think how happy you’ll be when you’re better! Perspective is the greatest. Esp after and compared to whatever inspired it. It feels so good when I stop _____
omg I just realized I will be FIFTY NINE in September. Oops.
I have kind of put off dealing with aging in some senses because I don’t look it, so I have been able to feel the benefits of self-possession, self-knowledge, giving no fucks, etc., whilst still being able to pretend that 50 is the new 40. But on the eve of 60, I am beginning to realize that I truly give no fucks, that I am beginning to be able to cope with all the “terrible” aspects of my being that usedto flummox and embarrass me, to be able to truly BE myself and be true to my emotional core, and that is a wonderful thing. But yeah, at the same time “too soon old, too late smart” is also echoing. I’m trying not to live by those words and to work on a gratitude practice, hideous as it sounds.
Hope you feel better and can enjoy your birthday! I turned 57 yesterday. Apart from the need to have 4 different pairs of glasses, most things are not as bad as I thought/feared they would be when I was younger and contemplated getting older! I am more comfortable in my own skin, care far less about pleasing people than I used to, and say “no” far more often to things I don’t want to do and “yes” more often to things I do want to do than when I was younger! Happy Birthday!
Kim, sorry to hear you’re so ill – feel better soon! The benefits of getting older for me have been: I make sure to spend more time with friends and family, I don’t put off things that I enjoy, I don’t care what others think anymore, I focus on my health rather than putting it off to tomorrow. My motto is “do it NOW” and I have been.
So sorry you are still ill! What a drag. Thank you for sending us the link to your interview! Fun, quick read!! As I am 67 I feel I can speak with some perspective on the subject of the “good” in achieving dotage. In many ways I’m emotionally stronger because I don’t give two figs what anybody thinks. I dress, exercise, eat, read etc. etc. what I want/desire rather than to achieve some idea of what I should be for other people (like my parents or the person I’m with or even my kids). So I suppose you could say I live a “truer life” although I find those kinds of phrases rather cheesy and really it is living with a deeper sense of who I am. And I think what many women are now experiencing as they advance in years is more willingness to be more adventurous––not necessarily in a literal sense i.e. suddenly deciding to climb Mt. Everest––more in a sense of being willing to jump off that metaphorical cliff whether it’s into a new job or new relationship or something entirely different and I think that comes from being able to see down the tunnel to your finale. And I think as we age we have a more profound sense of gratitude for what we have right in front of us––I’ve made it this far in one piece so every day I get out of bed and feel good and the sun is out and I have a couple of things planned I’m looking forward to is a really great day. So eat the birthday cake, buy the clogs, kiss the guy and understand that, statistically, you have most likely another 35-40 years in front of you. Make them your most fun years EVER!
Thank you, C. W. I will be turning 66 in April, and can relate to everything you have (so eloquently) said. I do care what SOME people think though, but care much less about that than I used to. I take extreme care in staying active in body and mind. I am also focused on figuring out what reasonably remains in my bucket list, and what to let go of.
Here are my positives: at 53, I’m getting more respect in my profession than ever before, and I’m enjoying the pleasant surprises being in my 50s bring. For instance, my formerly acne-prone skin is now glowing, I now *like* going to bed early and it makes me feel great, my growing-in-gray hair looks good, and I just feel like I’m really me, if that makes sense.
Birthdays are all wonderful because they come with Princess Weeks! I hope you feel better soon. We miss you!
Rest up, Kim. Hope you start feeling better soon!
As for getting older.. it’s the better of two options. Yeah, there is a lot that stinks, but you’re *here*. I try to remember that.( Being an “orphaned” by 40 gave a serious dose of perspective).
I honestly find the older I get, the less I care what others think. As a perfect example, I just returned from a solo trip to London. Even ten years ago I never would have done such a thing, lest I look “weird” to all those strangers I’ll never see again. Now I bust in like the Kool-Aid man, talk to strangers, and had a truly good time.
And yes, sometimes that meant a warm bath and in bed before ten : )
‘Bust in like the Kool-Aid man!’ is going to be my new pep-talk for the stressed out college kids I know; it will be extra sweet that they won’t know what I mean, haha. Age + perspective = Out of effs to give! I love it!
Happy birthday!! Personally I think birthdays are pretty awesome. A whole fresh start on another year. I’m right behind ya! 55 in June. My 50s so far have been fierce, fearless, and fabulous. (And if your blog is any example, it looks like yours have been too!)
Oh, please feel better! And I don’t know, as a newly 51-year-old…I more and more feel like Circe Lannister from “Game of Thrones,” free to wear whatever I want and give no blankety blanks. I just wish it didn’t come with back pain and wrinkles.
You have separated the wheat from the chaff in most aspects of your life; relationships, how you spend your time, what’s in your house, and of course, your appearance. If you’re really lucky, you’ve faced at least one test of character and found out that you are in possession of what it takes to push through.
Wishing you a happy birthday and that you are feeling well, soon. As for growing older, I’ve always felt that more birthdays are better than fewer. Growing older means growing wiser, not apologizing for the person that I am or how I choose to spend my time. I appreciate my family more, yet protect my need to do my own thing. As I grow older I become more myself, and I’m beginning to like her. Good luck and happy birthday!
Aww, I hope you are feeling much better soon! Hang in there.
I’m interested to see what others put about birthdays. Sometimes if it has been a particularly rough year, a birthday can be a good demarcation/new start. And, “It’s better than the alternative!” is what my Dad says…
Happy Birthday, Kim! I think the best part of hitting 55+ for me is that I truly know my own mind – my wants vs. needs, my style, my beliefs – and I’m comfortable with saying no to things I don’t want to do. Let someone else step-up and take over. Been there, done that.
Get feeling better soon! Push those fluids and rest frequently. My daughter (in Chicago) and her 3 kids ended up with Influenza A and it was a nightmare. They got Tamiflu and it helped.
Hi Kim, I was also born in 1964 and sorry to report, you’re not turning 55! I got hopeful for a sec and re-did the math!