Walkin' in the Rain
Women Rowing North

A Friend Turns Eighty

 “Today is my last day as a 70-something,” a friend emailed. “I thought you might have some words of wisdom to share with me.”

“Don’t do it,” I wanted to reply.

Having now been an octogenarian for a year, however, I do have a few thoughts.

*Be grateful that you are still around. Remember that many others haven’t shared your  luck.

*Accept that eighty is different. No matter how good things have been so far, they'll be less good in the coming decade.

*Accept that (1) It takes longer to do things (2) your opinion may be sought less often and (3) the person you see in the mirror is really you.

*Seek joy in new places.

*Remember that it’s all about managing expectations. To quote Aunt Grace in Mary Pipher’s book, Women Rowing North, “I get what I want… but I know what to want.”

*Finally, don’t try to recreate your old life.  That was then and this is now.



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Thank you for your wisdom and for preparing me for what lies ahead - I'm just a few years behind you and it's so helpful to have you paving the way and being so articulate about it.

Paul Albert

Thank you for your insights about turning eighty. I'm taking this step in July and found your post so helpful that I read it at my senior gay men's group. I'd like to share it more widely.

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