Why 60 is NOT the New 40 (Thankfully!)

mature-women-friendsBy Debra Gilbert Rosenberg | genConnect

I just turned 60 years old and well-meaning friends and colleagues have said to me, "Great! Sixty is the new forty." What is this supposed to mean? Should I find that comforting? Maybe feel less close to life's end? Younger? I don't really know, but I do know that I don't agree. At all.

Sixty is quite different. My husband and I have lived in a mostly empty nest for several years now; our "kids" are lovely, independent adults. Still wonderful, potty trained and quite verbal, I am grateful and proud to report that they are pretty much my favorite people on Earth. But I also enjoy our quieter home, the ability to eat whatever and whenever my husband and I want, to work late and to go out often without worrying about the children. I feel good, and I have a husband, friends, family and work I love. Leisure time is, at long last, often actually leisurely. At 60, life is pretty good.

Forty was very good, and I'm finding that 60 is, too. Life moves at a different pace now, and I have a different perspective on most things. The last 20 years have, in many ways, flown by, and mostly, I don't "feel" a bit older or nearer the end. But I know that my last two decades on Earth have had an impact on me. Growing older, working, raising a family, dealing with illnesses, deaths, divorces, marriages, births and everything that is involved in living life has made me different.

So here are my top 10 reasons that 60 is NOT the new 40 (and I'm happy about that):

1. At 60, the only new babies in your family's future will be grandchildren

2. At 60, you get all sorts of senior discounts

3. At 60, if someone says you don't look a day over 40, it's intended - and received - as a compliment

4. At 60, whether or not you can fit into clothes from Forever 21, you probably shouldn't

5. At 60, you remember feeling old at 40

6. At 60, even if it's true that you naturally have very few gray hairs, or no wrinkles, no one believes you

7. At 60, the only new babies in your family's future will be grandchildren

8. - 10. Click here for more blessings that come along with turning 60 years old...

Some of the reasons may seem sad or grim, but I am neither. I'm good with turning 60, maybe even great. I have had experiences and successes beyond my expectations; I've faced, and moved beyond, limits and loss. At 60, I aspire to live with grace and dignity, as long as I can raise a little bit of hell every so often. I've earned 60, and don't want to minimize it by lopping off my last 20 years.

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Debra Gilbert Rosenberg, LCSWDebra Gilbert Rosenberg, LCSWAbout the author:
Debra Gilbert Rosenberg, LCSW is a nationally-recognized psychotherapist and motherhood expert who focuses on helping mothers feel good about themselves while adjusting to motherhood.