Who Inspires You?

“No, you can’t take that stuff. I might use it again.”

My friend, Kim, and his father, Phil, were cleaning some stuff out of the father’s big storage barn. The “stuff”  Phil was referring to was mountain climbing equipment. Not hiking equipment, mind you, but mountain climbing equipment.

And this 75 year old man thought he might use it again!

Thirty years later I still have a vivid memory of this moment.

Growing up, I saw my great grandmother in a nasty nursing house. My grandmother spent the less 5 years of her life house-bound due to health issues.

Phil and his sweet wife, Eleanor, showed me a different side of aging. They were living active, adventurous, involved, rich lives. Age wasn’t slowing them down much. They gave me some hope that I didn’t have to be among the living dead at 50, 60, or even 70.

Wanted: Great Role Models

Many women “in the neighborhood” of 60 have told me they want role models for living well after 60.

Me too!

As part of my Savoring Your Sixties work, I’ve been gathering inspiring “after sixty” stories. Some famous people, some not.

I share the stories, from time to time, on this blog. You can find them in the Inspiration category.

I’d love to hear about and add more stories to the collection. Are you living a rich, full, fulfilling, inspiring life after 60 yourself? Are there others whose lives after 60 inspire you? Tell us about yourself or the other people by clicking on Comments below, scrolling down, and writing away.

Leave a Comment

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Barbara Cohen June 9, 2010 at 5:20 pm

Dear Dorothy,
I’ve only just found your Facebook page & blog, but I’ve identified with so many of your thoughts and the issues you discuss about aging abundantly. I’m shocked sometimes to find that at age 65, I have outlived two of my siblings who died in their early sixties. I’m also stunned to compare myself to my mother when she was this age. I am the only progeny of her second marriage; she had 4 adult children & 1 teenager when I was born to her at age 44. Poor mom! What a shock I was to her sensibilities! Mother began “dying” with my birth. She asked my sister, her first born, to finish raising me because she knew she wouldn’t live much longer. Ironically, she died at age 91.

I’m living such a different life from my mother…and my sisters. I’ve had a successful career despite not finishing college. I refer to myself as an autodidact or simply a self-made woman. I also did something I never dreamt I would: I divorced my first husband after 38 years of marriage. I didn’t want to follow in my mother’s example by remaining in an unhappy marriage simply because of appearances. She may have likely chosen to stay in a bad marriage because she no career skills, whereas I did. The choice to divorce my husband came as a shock to my extended family & friends, but not to our adult children. They learned more about their father after our divorce than they ever wanted to know & not because I informed them. His actions demonstrated all that he was and could never be as a father. Well, enough of him!

I’m now in a dream marriage. I married a friend whom I had known professionally for 15 years, and whom I never thought of as a potential mate or lover. Turns out, he did. I am I glad I paid attention to his overtures! Unlike my first husband, he’s kind, sensitive, supportive, understanding, patient and doesn’t need to compete with me for the attention of others. He lets me shine in my accomplishments & is proud of me when I do.

So what is my secret to staying young in my mid-60s? Marry a younger man, of course! I retired the same year we were married – how’s that for living life to the fullest? The one problem was I didn’t have a post retirement plan and he didn’t want to retire (still doesn’t). I floundered around pestering him to take time away from his law practice, going to lunch with the ladies, and shopping, until I realized – this isn’t going to fulfill me. To put it bluntly, I regrouped myself and searched for other ways to be productive and find my own happiness.

I’m now enjoying what I call “My Encore Years” rather than tackling a “bucket list” which friends found inappropriate since I’m not dying. In these my encore years, I’m meeting new friends (like you) every week, giving back by volunteering, working part time, and participating in activities that bring me joy so that I can share that joyous feeling with my loving husband, my children, grandchildren and my step-children. I am grateful for my health – and all the wonderful products & health practices available to keep my engine running! I am much more vital and energetic than I could have hoped for at this age. Do I have days when I’d like to bury my head under the covers? Absolutely! But I kick myself in the rear reminding myself that there are other women in the world who would love to live my life, so get up and get going, Barbara!

Thanks, Dorothy, for the opportunity on your blog to consider my life and share my thoughts with you.

2 Carlisle July 20, 2013 at 8:19 pm

Reading the article about the 75 yo that didn’t want to get rid of his mountain gear.

Well, yeah??? Now that the g-kid is grown, I feel free to return to my adventurous needs. I hung up my climbing gear 19 yrs ago and can’t find it. But that’s okay. I want ‘new’ stuff. The privileges of being older and in good credit standing. Of course I did have to take a crash course (actually the past 6 mo) in getting physically healthy–got a lil fluffy.

I’m just shy a week of turning 61 and am on my way to Colorado so I can rock climb Eldorado Canyon and then hike to the summit of Gray’s Peak with the Colorado Mountain Club. But first a plane ride to get an aerial view.

Growing old is so much fun.

3 Bonnie July 21, 2013 at 11:25 am

Carlisle, it sounds like you’re the adventurous type and are not going to let your age slow you down. Good for you! Happy climbing!