Donna Andree: What keeps hitting me is, “How in the world did I get here so fast?” Life goes quickly and that finally hits you at this age. I’ve begun keeping a journal, just so I can look back and savor this time later. Frankly, my entire previous 50s decade was just a blur of time. I have few specific images or memories that stay with me. Perhaps keeping a journal will help me document my reactions and be more aware of myself.
So many things are different at 60. You no longer are marking time by your children’s milestones–someone’s starting pre-school, someone’s getting their driver’s license. Now the focus is on yourself. It doesn’t mean you’ve become self-absorbed. It’s a good thing to have time to finally get comfortable with who you are. For us, others often came first.
Our parents and their whole generation were far better money-managers. We just didn’t get it. We critically thought they were too concerned with money and materialism, so we didn’t pay attention. The more we made, the more we spent. Not too smart.
I think there is an incredible amount of cynicism now. When we were 20 in the mid ’60s, we were definitely full of ourselves and arrogantly thought we would change everything. But we still had a lot of respect for authority. We were convinced things were getting better. I don’t know young people have that hope now.
The government is so busy now looking everywhere for terrorists. But half of us can’t even find our ex-husbands to get what they owe us.
John Roeder: So far, I feel really very lucky and happy. Turning 60 for me a few weeks ago was not a big deal. I think the 60s are going to be a wonderful decade because now I am retired. I am happy to be where I am–with good health and time to pursue things I truly enjoy. I worked for 33 years for the federal government, so now is my time for me. My family is grown. This is the age to enjoy who you are. I have a great relationship with each of my four children so that enriches these years, too. At 60, you do recognize that your good days-your really healthy years-may be numbered. But that makes you savor your time and be grateful for what you do have. It’s a wonderful thing.
Susan Zoloto: My sister and my daughter are planning a 60th birthday party for me, so I am trying to be sweet and allow them to do this. They seem to need it. I myself would rather crawl in a hole for a while. But turning 60 is frankly not that big a thing. I’ll be honest. I have days when I feel 30 and then there are days when I’m 80. But mostly I feel so very lucky. I have a granddaughter, Lily, who has enriched my life immeasurably. Also at 60 you much more clearly see what’s important and what’s not. You recognize time is limited. There is definitely a vulnerability that comes with the advancing years. But this helps you savor what is truly worthwhile and not waste time on people or stuff that bring you down.
Alex Anderson: I turned 60 in July. It was no big deal. I feel this particular period is actually pretty fascinating. I find I have a lot more patience. I feel lucky to be this age. I keep my eyes and ears open a lot more. I attribute this to the love of my wife and kids. I am really fortunate. I savor the time we share. I also like to laugh. Laughter is the best medicine, as they used to say. My sons think I’m crazy sometimes, but you have to look on the light side. You can’t be afraid of what’s ahead. Enjoy where you are now. It’s a gift.
Donna Santell Cote: The anticipatory fears I struggled with about how well I would respond to getting older, and the corresponding life crises that come with age, no longer torment me. Looking back, I find hard evidence of my mettle or emotional and spiritual muscle. That said, I am more comfortable taking more risks without agonizing about outcomes. The spontaneity I have as an older woman is freeing, invigorating, and socially enriching. And it is in the rich social milieu of my family and friends that I find an antidote to aging and re-experience my youth.
Steve Waddell: The good thing about 60 is you see you don’t have forever so you completely avoid people who are dull or toxic. I think you also speak your mind more freely. You have opinions on everything. Does no one stop for stop signs any more? Aren’t the seasons amazing to witness? When you’re young, you really don’t pay attention to anything but yourself. But now there is also that fuzzy aging thing where you find yourself constantly asking people, “Did I tell you this already?” And every so often something happens that’s chilling, that makes you realize you’re getting older. Yesterday I licked my finger to turn a page in the New Yorker. It was like I became my father in one split moment.
Francis Poncetto: I don’t turn 60 until December, but I’ve already begun to get nervous about what it’s like on the other side. Previous landmark birthdays-30, 40, 50-were fairly inconsequential. But this is more than a little bump. It’s pretty scary. You recognize the good years are slipping away. Sometimes I feel like I’m climbing up a slide at the playground, like when you’re a kid, but when you get near the top, you start sliding back down. At this age, I think maybe we’re losing ground. My wife and I went out the other night, not really carousing, but having a good time partying. The next day we were both totally wrecked. That never used to happen. But I still think when we were young we were better off than kids now because we had so few choices. The draft was after us, there was not much money for us. You made desicsions quickly. Young people today seem to endlessly put off getting serious about life. We jumped right in. We had to.