Sixty and Me is an online magazine about life after 60. Topics range from makeup for older women and senior dating to retirement advice and senior travel. Helping boomer women to live healthy, independent and financially secure lives.
3 Reasons Women-Only Travel May Be for You - YouTube
Traveling in a mixed group is a lot of fun. There is something
wonderful and natural about having men and women together, enjoying a road
trip, cruise or adventure in another country.
At the same time, sometimes I find myself just wanting to enjoy the
company of other women. The conversations are more honest and the social
pressure is reduced. In short, many of us feel like we can just relax and be
I claimed my patch of shade that Wednesday morning in June along with the other women in the 65-69 age group waiting to be led to the starting line of the 800-meter run at the 2019 National Senior Games. Our race would begin as soon as the women 70-74 finished theirs.
the shade did not extend to the beautiful University of New Mexico track as the
Albuquerque sun scorched the mile-high, bone-dry air. Soon I would be running
with a mouth that felt like cotton. One runner described preparation for races
in the southwestern climate as “drink, pee, drink.”
from Colorado said her son told her there was a lozenge that would keep the
mouth moist. Had anyone else heard about that? The rest of us lived in humidity
so, no, we had no knowledge of any salivation-promoting candy. Besides, I would
probably choke on it.
athlete in full makeup was dousing her capris and sleeves with water. I had on shorts
and a tank top, but I thought it was an interesting idea to wear more material
but wet it down to keep the body cool.
At that point, just before the
run, serious athletes would be surveying the competition, but that was hardly
the vibe that day. We were just women of the same age, for the most part
strangers laughing together, doing something a little unusual.
all downplayed our abilities, with a handful of us, including me, predicting
we’d be the one to finish last. Typical!
javelin event, Linda from California acknowledged her achievement as the world
champion only to add a diminishing caveat: “Well, only in my age group.” She
then threw that spear more than 100 feet, a distance I can only dream of.
“Title IX changed
Senior Games organization, sometimes called Senior Olympics, starts at the
state level, pitting athletes against each other in five-year age groups from
50-54 all the way to 95+. (There are people 100 and older competing, but not
enough to have their own category – yet. Senior Games legend Julia
Hawkins is 103 years old and crushing records!)
the 2017 Nationals in Birmingham, Alabama, a fellow Senior Olympian informed me
that two types of athletes showed up at these games: competitors and
participants. “You’re a participant,” he said. “Soon women like you won’t
qualify for Nationals. Title IX [Nine] changed everything.”
not have appreciated the mansplaining, but what he said made sense. Title IX
took effect in 1972 as a federal ruling requiring girls to have the same access
that boys had to educational programs.
that date, public schools and other federally funded institutions began
establishing girls’ teams in every sport offered to boys.
like me, who took up a modest running routine at age 40, would have no chance
against former collegiate stars who still would be sharpening their competitive
edge as older athletes.
women over 60 in the unique position of being the last of our kind to stretch
our competitive muscles in a forgiving field, something that more women are
starting to figure out.
2006, when I started entering the state meets, only one or two women competed
in javelin and shot [shotput],” Cathy of California told me. “Since then I’ve
seen an explosion of women.”
this year’s Nationals, more than 13,000 men and women competed, and it’s not
just track and field – far from
Teams compete in basketball and softball; individuals vie for titles in swimming, bowling, golf, cycling, tennis, racquetball, pickleball, table tennis, power walking, race walking, archery, badminton, shuffleboard, and horseshoes. There’s a triathlon and a road race.
no matter what activity appeals to you, Senior Games provides an attractive
opportunity for any reason you have.
A New Challenge
There are always first-timers entering
every age group at Senior Games. One of my 800m competitors, Caren from
Florida, was 62 when she noticed a sign at her workplace that the Senior Games
were coming to a nearby city.
by the track and field listing, she signed up for a race even though she hadn’t
run in decades. She began training and has been competing ever since. The athlete who probably gets the most press is 103-year-old
Julia Hawkins, who had competed in cycling but took up running sprints only at
in great shape told me, “I don’t need to win; I do this because I’m a fitness
freak.” We all compete against ourselves, but formal competition supplies
adrenaline to help you top your personal best and gives you the added
perspective of the number you need to hit to be very, very good for your
to meet like-minded seniors. Sponsored get-togethers encourage athletes to
mingle and, over the years, you see a lot of the same people. You can extend
the friendship as far as you want.
looking to date men can take advantage of being outnumbered by the opposite sex
for a change; same-sex dating possibilities exist as well.
Strengthen the Bond
Lots of couples compete. Shirley
from North Carolina was regularly doing aerobics and lifting when her husband
suggested that she join him in Senior Games competition.
I started entering races, I didn’t know I had that speed!” says Shirley, who
also throws shotput and discus. “Seeing how well I could do gave me the confidence
and motivation to train harder.” She and her husband now motivate each other.
husband, too, introduced me to the Games. I was getting bored just attending
the meets to support him, so now all summer long we train together at the
neighborhood high school track, plus we compare strategies and experiences. We
always have something to talk about.
Albuquerque, and similar locations for state meets may not be glamour capitals
of the world, but it’s fun to explore this country’s mid-size cities.
Love of the Sport
overheard one javelin athlete musing to herself, “Every time the event starts,
I just want it to be over.” I asked her why she enters if that’s the way she
feels. At first, she couldn’t identify what it was that hooked her into competing,
but then she lit up and said, “I just really love to throw the javelin.”
is considered one of the toughest feats of the Games, senior athletes still do
it with passion.
what felt like an eternity, our group finally paraded to the 800-meter starting
line. I ran around that hot track two full times in 4 minutes and 56 seconds,
placing me no worse than third from last.
66-year-old face beaming with pride, I remembered a common encouragement at
Senior Games: you’re here, you’re trying your hardest, and that’s what makes us
What sports do you engage in? Do you compete or exercise for
recreation? Have you thought about entering the Senior Olympics? What’s
stopping you? Please share with our community!
all have good days and bad days in this life, regardless of our circumstances. Hopefully
though, by the time we reach our 60s, the good days far outweigh the bad. That
said, none of us is immune to the doldrums which can strike at any time and may
last longer than justifiable.
times, it’s not a major catastrophe or tragic event that brings them on. It can
be something as simple as four rainy days in a row, or several brutally cold
winter days when we’ve been confined to our homes, or a few days of isolation,
when no one has called or texted or even emailed.
hate the doldrums but refuse to give into them! When the doldrums do strike,
our tendency can be to give into them and throw a pity party for ourselves, eat
or drink or sleep too much, or just slip into a mild or major depression.
like with any other dilemma that we are currently facing, we need a plan of
action to defeat this state. The following are tips that I have found helpful.
Engage in an Activity Where You Will See Tangible Results
for an activity where you can see or touch the outcome. “Tangible” is a key
word here. When we feel down or depressed, it is difficult to become motivated
to start any activity.
it is important just to start something, whether it’s working in the
garden, cleaning out a closet, mowing the lawn, giving yourself a manicure, preparing
your donation box, or posting some goods for sale online. You get the picture.
Startingis the hardest part. Once
you start, you will find that momentum builds. And nothing is more gratifying
than seeing the fruits of your labour!
offer for your online sales, the garden that blooms, the grass that rebounds
after a long winter, your beautifully manicured nails, or your basement that is
starting to look decluttered!
I felt both angry and very down, for various reasons. I looked at my grass
which badly needed cutting. So, I took my little boom box outdoors and listened
to classical jazz and rock while I began to rake my back lawn.
the improvement in my lawn after raking, I was then motivated to cut both the
front and back areas. I also noticed that the front gardens needed edging, so I
proceeded with that.
the time I was finished with all of these tasks, my back was hurting, but I
felt such pride and such a sense of accomplishment as I viewed the fruits of my
labour. Even this evening, as I look out my window and see my manicured lawns
and gardens, I feel happy about my productivity today.
Talk to Someone
am a single woman with no children. In the depths of winter, I often feel very
alone. While I have friends, most of them are quite involved with their grandchildren
and their own adult children. So, when I feel lonely, I will often go to the
strike up conversations with cashiers and waitresses and am both pleased and
astonished to find how many of them welcome some intelligent and thoughtful
often find well educated women who are working in “survival jobs,” and are
grateful for customers who see them for more than the jobs they are currently
Take a Shower, Blow Dry Your Hair, and Put on Your
we are feeling down, it’s easy to forgo basic hygiene, self-care, and fashion,
because all of these things require effort and energy. However, this is the
time when it’s especially important to take extra steps to look good, because
we all know that when you look good, you feel good!
step into the shower, wash and blow dry your hair whether it needs it or not,
and then put on something bright and colourful. You’ll be amazed at how much
better you feel. Colour is powerful!
dictionary defines doldrums as “a state of inactivity or stagnation,” so it
just makes sense to get moving to catapult yourself out of that state.
for a brisk walk, engage in a yoga class, or do some simple stretches at home. Nothing
chases the doldrums away faster than some exercise or even gentle movement.
Do Something for Someone Less Fortunate
have a good friend who suffers from Parkinson’s. Occasionally, I will pick up
some groceries for her and drop them off at her apartment.
am always so humbled by her gratitude and also by her strength and
determination to carry on despite her own pain and mobility issues. And of
course, seeing her condition puts my minor irritations into perspective.
When All Else Fails…
the doldrums from time to time is normal. However, if your low mood or
depression is persistent or becoming more severe, it’s time to seek
professional help. There are so many excellent therapists and doctors now who
can intervene and help with negative mental states.
of us should ever be too proud to ask for help. By the time we reach our 60s,
we have all been helpers to many people. So now is the time for us to ask for
and to seek help if we need it. We owe it to ourselves to enjoy this well-earned time in life. Let’s
do everything we can to be well!
How do you beat the doldrums? What activity can spark energy when
you feel depressed? How often do you give yourself a makeover, or dress well
just for you? Does this make you feel more confident and upbeat? Please share
with our community and let’s have a conversation!
gathered my briefcase, purse, and lunch from my car and headed up to my office
this morning, I remembered I’d be welcoming a new co-worker today.
comes from another campus in our community college district, and I’m looking
forward to working with her and making her feel like a part of our team.
Being the Old Newbie
is what everyone did for me a few months ago on my first day, and it’s one of
the reasons I like working here so much. My fellow employees have all been
helpful, encouraging, and supportive to me as the new kid on the block.
funny thing about being that newbie is that I actually first started working
here in 1986. I was a month shy of 35 the day I began as a journalism professor
and student newspaper adviser, and I was scared to death. Even then, though, I
felt welcomed and supported.
the job was quite intense, I kind of slogged through it, learning as I went,
but I was often so busy I was almost unaware of what all I was experiencing as
a human. I went on to work here more than 20 years, eventually moving to
another college in the district as a dean for several years before I retired.
Enter Retirement, or Not Quite
day I packed my personal belongings in a cardboard box and started my new life
as a retired person was amazing. I could set my own schedule, plan my own
activities, and appreciate all the unplanned time in front of me. I loved the
sense of freedom that retirement provided.
I also struggled a little with having quite so much free time. I had worked for
more than 30 years by then, and I realized I did best when I had a schedule. I
experimented with my own daily agendas and to-do lists, but when I was
occasionally asked to come back to work in an interim role, I was kind of
ended up working about half of every year, which was nice. I still had time for
fun and hobbies, I made some extra money, and the work provided me with the
sense of meaning I had felt was missing when I was fully retired.
Being Back to Work Builds Character
one of those interim jobs was so enjoyable and meaningful that I decided to
apply for the permanent version when it opened. I was lucky enough to get it, so
I rescinded my retirement and started anew in January.
a fun position with lots to absorb, but I’ve actually learned the most about
myself and what it’s really like to be at this stage of one’s life. At 67, I
feel as if I’m starting all over – but with the time, consciousness, and
emotional maturity to really learn and build an even more substantial person.
we’re younger, raising families, buying houses, paying bills, and figuring out
all of the other aspects of adulthood, there is rarely the opportunity to take
in what we’re learning and how we’re going about developing ourselves as
new foray into working is completely different. It’s not that my life is
without issues, but it isn’t anything like it was when I was in my 30s and 40s
and working while managing all of the other things we face at those ages.
are lots of ways this experience makes me feel like a whole new person, but there
are four that stand out.
I Have a Clarity I’ve Never Experienced Before
my “first” career, handling work – and home and family and all – was like
constantly sorting through a really full, messy closet to find my shoes. There
was never time to clean everything up, and even if I did, I would lose control
of it in a day.
we are doing so much in our lives, it’s almost impossible to find and maintain
clarity. We might have moments or weekends of enlightenment and resolve about
what we need to do to get everything done and do it well, but those get easily
lost in the next week full of commitments.
days, I simply have more time and more opportunity to learn.
I Am More Interested in What I’m Engaged in
we’re always behind, forever late, and frequently stressed, it’s hard to take sustained
pleasure and interest in what we’re doing. In my new life, I’m still busy and
occasionally stressed, but it’s relative.
know I don’t have to do this forever, so the tension is automatically less.
Plus, I’ve had enough of a career before this to know what I like and what I
don’t. I feel blessed to have had the chance to choose my focus this time
around, and it makes it much more engaging.
I Have a Deep Sense of Self-Appreciation
learned to value who I am and what I’m doing, and this isn’t bragging. I simply
have more perspective than I did throughout much of my career when I was
striving and feeling overworked.
we’re in mid-life, we tend to compare ourselves (often negatively) to others,
and it’s hard to truly welcome our own take on what we’re doing.
my new vantage point I appreciate the wisdom I bring. Plus, my ego is no longer
so involved, so I’m open to asking questions and showing what I don’t know.
I See an Open Door in Front of Me
we aren’t particularly creative about the arc of our lives, many of us imagine
college, work, family, retirement, relaxing – usually in that order. And that
makes for a lovely track for most of us. But with good health and fitness, 65
may be a very early age for many of us to settle down on the porch.
this new job gives me the feeling of being young and growing again, with many
possibilities ahead of me. I’m not unrealistically thinking I’ll live forever,
but I love all of the new dreaming I’m doing about where my adventures may take
back to work after retirement isn’t for everyone, but it has served me well.
I’ve learned so much about myself and about the world around me – and I’m
inspired in a way I never was when I was younger.
you could go back to work, what do you imagine yourself doing? What would your
new life look like if you did “un-retire”? Let’s engage in a conversation!
ago, we had a group of friends, most of whom were high achievers, over for
dinner. Amongst our guests was a client, who had returned to Canada after
working as a director at a hospice in California.
The Game-Changing Question
to tie in our dinner discussion with what she did, by posing this question to
my dinner guests: “What would you be doing differently if you were told you
only had 30 days left to live?’
It was a
question I had never ever thought about, but as my guests started answering it,
it became apparent that most of us were living our lives differently from how
we would be if there were a greater sense of urgency.
It was a
beautiful, early summer day, and as I contemplated my answer, I looked out of
our floor-to-ceiling windows that surrounded the dining table, appreciating the
to dawn on me that for someone who preached “authenticity,” the only thing real
in my life was the breathtaking views of Mt. Baker on one side and the
snowcapped Olympic Mountains on the other, with the Juan D Fuca Strait in the
As my turn
came to answer the question, I found a way to deflect, because my marriage, my
work, my words, my truth, my entire life barely reflected what I would be doing
if I were told that I only had 30 days left to live. My whole life hardly
represented what my heart ached for.
guests left and the dishes put away, I got ready for bed. The answer to the
question must have lingered in my subconscious while I slept because I awoke
with tears streaming down my face. How did I detour so far off from my center?
The Decisions That Really Matter
pulled by so many different deafening voices telling us how we are supposed to
be, we can barely hear the whispers of our heart. I did finally tune in and make
a series of difficult decisions that I have not regretted.
I am in
the business of inspiring people to a mindset of living fully and using their
financial resources to support that.
realization that we never know when the clock on our last 30 days would start
ticking compelled me to reframe my conversations with my clients. The usual
question, “Who do you want to leave your asset to?” turned into, “What kind of
impact would you like to have once you’re gone?”
Questions to Inspire a Different Kind of Financial Life
know that we can’t take anything with us beyond the grave.
our conversation on money started not with what we’ve accumulated but rather
what we wanted to leave behind?
look at your life through the lens of what you are leaving behind, perhaps it
looks different from what it is now. Perhaps you would do a lot of things differently
with the assets you own.
you would approach the subject a lot more carefully if you knew you could make
an impact on those around you long after you are gone. Perhaps you would think
more about the way you spend your finances, your time, and energy.
What if we
started the conversation on money not from what we wanted but what we already
had? Not from what we kept but from what we shared? Will our conversation on
money be different from what it is now?
We are not
all called to save the world or start a school for girls in Africa. But we are
all called to do our best and leave a legacy that matters.
“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself
what makes you come alive, and then go and do that. Because
what the world needs is people who have come
alive.” – Howard Thurman
you then script your life if you knew you only had 30 days left to live? How
would you then manage your estate? What would you want to be doing the last
hour of your time on earth? Are you doing all of that now?
At your local grocery store, you’ve likely passed the health section and saw the seemingly endless rows of supplements lined on the shelves. From vitamin B to Calcium, there seems to be a supplement for just about every nutrient.
The answer to that question might surprise you: Take none.
Do Supplements Add to Our Health?
and minerals have long been used to treat nutrient deficiencies. In recent
decades supplements have been promoted as a means to achieve better health and
longevity – but do they actually work?
there is no proof of the actual benefits of most supplements.
discovered that the four most commonly used supplements – multivitamins,
vitamin D, calcium, and vitamin C – showed no consistent benefit in preventing heart disease, heart
attack, stroke, or death from any cause.
Many cereals and other foods in our country are fortified with
folate, so the effect seen in China might not translate to the US.
Supplements Work for Specific Needs Only
There is no question that someone with iron deficiency would
benefit from iron supplements or that a pregnant woman may want to take a
folate supplement to help prevent birth defects because she has no appetite for
Many of us
are vitamin D deficient because we live in northern climates with reduced sun
exposure. The use of supplements in these cases are necessary, but the
widespread use of supplements goes far beyond such specific situations.
absence of a nutrient deficiency and given the overall lack of benefit of
supplement use, researchers encourage doctors not to routinely prescribe
supplements to their patients. And this advice makes sense.
After all, ask yourself a simple question: Americans have been
taking vitamin supplements for years but are we actually any healthier?
Example: Adding 10 grams of whole food fiber per day – the amount you find in 2 servings of Step One Foods – has been shown to decrease the risk of experiencing a heart attack by 14% and to reduce the risk of dying from any cause by 27%. Additionally, adding just 1 piece of fruit per day reduces your risk of stroke by 6%.
Eat Healthy and Enjoy Your Life
Supplements have never been shown to have this degree of effect, so I encourage you to focus on diet, not on supplement pills. And so long as you follow a whole food, plant-based eating plan, chances are high you will get all the vitamins and minerals your aging body needs to attain better health.
What supplements do you take regularly? Why? Do you suffer from
any deficiencies? Do you see any benefit you can definitely attribute to the
supplement? Have you considered quitting the supplement and adding more of the
foods that contain the nutrients you need? Please join the conversation!
Many of us constantly live with questions hanging over us – questions concerning our life in general, especially when we transition to the retirement years. Perhaps you feel something is “off”, but you can’t put your finger on it. Do you know what “it” even is?
If so, I believe these feelings are more
normal than you’d think. After all, we’re told that it’s important to look at
our life from time to time and make sure it’s all we want it to be.
We want to make sure it’s the best it
We Don’t Know What We’re Asking
However, the problem usually arises because we
don’t really understand the questions we direct to ourselves.
We don’t understand what we want so how can we
expect to answer in a way that fits us and works for our lives?
Does that make sense? Let me give you an
As I (as well as many of my friends) neared
the age of 50, I found that there were common thoughts and feelings we seemed
to frequently discuss when we were together.
And, after much reflection, I realized that
many of us were asking ourselves the very same questions and desperately
wanting to find the answers to them.
But we never really knew – for sure –
what we were asking ourselves.
So, I’m hoping that by listing these questions
below you will connect with one of them (or even all of them) and if so, maybe
take some time to answer them in detail.
I believe the effort will be well worth it for
At least it was for us.
The 5 Questions
Who am I now?
What do I want to be when I grow up?
Is this all there is?
I’m bored – what now?
I don’t want to sit in a rocking chair, so what do I do instead?
Each of these questions is one you could have
asked when you were 18 and just getting ready to leave high school.
Maybe you even asked these questions again when you hit 30 and you realized you were no longer a 20-something and “life was passing you by.” How crazy is that statement?
And, again, at this later stage in life – you
might find yourself asking these questions once again.
With each new phase we enter, I believe we are
different people. What we thought and needed at 18 no longer applies.
Who we were at 30 is probably not who we are
at 50, 60, or 70.
We change. Our likes and dislikes have
evolved. The views we hold are shaped more clearly by our years of experiences.
Our personalities have softened or hardened.
Everything about us is different now –
especially if we had children – the Empty Nest Years are changing us drastically.
So why, then, do we not anticipate the need to
ask ourselves some deep questions at this time of life to see who we really
We need to reflect on these questions if we
want a life that is truly fulfilling at our age –
and not just a life that was created back when we were 25.
Because as we all know, that creation may not
fit now. Nothing says we need to stay in a suit that no longer fits.
In fact, I hate to wear clothes that no longer
fit. I can’t sit or stand without pulling and tugging at the clothing and
feeling miserable the entire time I’m wearing it.
Living a life that no longer fits can feel the
very same way.
access to our world grows easier, travelers want to experience it all, especially
the 60+ baby boomers and beyond. We want to share it with our partners,
families, grandchildren, and friends.
sense of urgency is often brought on by world events, health concerns, or just wanting
to give back. Whatever your reason, I’m certain ecstatic adventure
and experiential travel is the future!
Immersion and Curiosity: It Is the Difference Between a
Traveler and a Tourist
affordable to luxury cruise ships, everyone is getting in on the action. We
don’t have to be rich; we just have to be flexible.
need help, destination travel advisors are sprouting up everywhere replacing
the travel agents of yesteryears. No longer do they hand us our tickets and
wish us bon voyage; they help us create that journey of a lifetime.
built expedition ships will take us to the ends of the earth – literally. They
carry with them destination ambassadors – marine biologists, ornithologists,
naturalists, professional photographers, historians, and local guides.
lectures and photography classes are available to us on our journey to help us
understand and photograph our Earth and its inhabitants in their natural
Take a Deep Breath!
days it’s not so difficult to explore the rivers of South America starting with
Peru’s Amazon, the fjords of Norway, or the Arctic’s Northwest Passage.
can visit Antarctica’s 100,000 king penguins, scuba dive in Mexico’s Sea of
Cortes, horseback ride in Argentina’s Patagonia, and introduce our
grandchildren to the Galapagos.
is spectacular with a cruise on Portugal’s Douro River, a small ship
exploration in Costa Rica and Panama, or kayaking in the Polynesian Islands. We
can even take a helicopter ride over Western Australia’s King George Falls, jet
boat New Zealand’s gorgeous lakes, or sail Thailand aboard an authentic tall
longer are we relegated to standing on ship decks snapping photos. These new ships
put us in kayaks, float planes, Zodiacs, and jet boats.
and sea adventures are commonplace, combining cruising with multi-sport
adventures such as biking, golfing, or hiking. Should we be so inclined, we can
even spend a night under the stars camping on Antarctica ice.
to scale it down? An expedition cruise can be as simple as a gulet charter in
Turkey or the Greek Isles. Some boats are so tiny we are literally the
navigator! From hundreds to just two passengers, we can explore on our terms.
The Earth Is Ours for Only a Short Time. Go, Explore!
don’t give me that “I’m too old.” If you can step into a Zodiac with the aid of
a couple of powerful gents giving you a hand, pack your suitcase. You’re in!
mother is obsessed with the Arctic and explored the Bering Sea in her 90s. And
I have friends who took their mother to Churchill, Manitoba, to see the polar
bears. It was her 100th birthday present.
“When you turn the corner and run into yourself then you know you have turned all the corners that are left.”
What do you think about expedition cruising? Have you sailed to Madagascar? Where will you explore next? Let us know!
Do you remember when road trips were a natural part of life? When you
were younger, did you love to jump in your VW Beetle or Bus and just drive with
no destination in mind?
Well, today, I want to argue that it is not just high-school seniors
who can benefit from solo
road trips – this exciting form of travel has a lot to offer us older
seniors too! Don’t believe me? By the end of today’s video, you might! :)
Do you ever get in your car and just drive? Where do you like to
take road trips to? Do you ever travel by yourself?