Friday, October 19, 2007

Ellen Goodman: "60 is the new 60"

I loved Ellen Goodman's "Second Acts" column today about the Boomer generation. She wrote:

Baby boomers are the first generation that can look forward to such a lengthy and (fingers crossed) healthy stage of later life. They are as likely to be talking about what they want to do next as about where they want to retire. Never mind all those declarations that 60 is the new 40. In fact, 60 is the new 60.

"60 is the new 60"! So often the media stereotypes us as a generation trying to recapture youth with every decision, activity, and cosmetics purchase. Most of us, though, aren't trying to pretend we're not aging -- rather, we're applying our experience and the wisdom that comes with it to new endeavors, new life decisions, new causes. As Goodman says, we're reinventing this stage of life.

This applies to our sexuality, too. If we look deeply, we realize we can't recapture sex as it was at 40 -- but it can be something better! Sex at 60 (or 70, or 80) includes so much more self-knowledge, communications skill, and acceptance of ourselves and our partners than we had at 40. This emotional growth lets us adapt to and overcome the physical challenges. I could go on and on (and I already did, in Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex After Sixty), but I'll pause because I'd like to hear what you have to say about this topic.


  1. Paula, age 55October 22, 2007

    Whew, I'm really glad to read that 60 is the new 60, and not the new 40. I read in a fashion magazine that 60 is the new 30! At 55, that meant I was "the new 25" and I was having trouble keeping up! All those projects! All those parties! Well at least some 25 year olds have arm flab too.

    Okay I was joking around there, in case anyone is wondering.

    On a more serious note, I don't want to be in my 20's or 30's again. This was not the greatest time in my life. I was clinically depressed, not very confident, and struggling most of the time to feel and be better. I had lots of trouble with relationships, and sex was just okay, especially sex with partners.

    My forties were much better, and I had learned so much about therapy and self healing that I became a bodywork therapist myself. I gave up my dogged insistence on having a man in my life, and lo and behold there was my wonderful husband who I've been with for 12 years.

    Things have been getting better ever since, if you don't count a rough patch after my father died and I was going through the change of life all at the same time. Even so, many blessings came out of that period.

    So far my fifties are my golden years. I experience myself as more physically beautiful and sexy now than when I was at 20,30, 40. (Confidence makes all the difference. I look back at pictures of myself when I was much younger and felt unattractive, and think, hmm, I was actually a fine looking woman, I just didn't know it!) I take better care of myself now health and fitness wise and have found good skin care products that work. I've honed my skills and am more focused on what's important to me, and less inclined to be distracted by someone else's agenda. I have much better self discipline. I'm finally owning being the person I always was.

    As far as sex goes, it's much more fun now and keeps getting better. My body does amazing things that I could only read and dream about when I was younger. Also I have nicer, more caring partners.

    Not that I'm in a hurry, but I don't dread becoming older. I'm looking forward to being 60 and beyond. I know this time will be full of pleasant surprises.

    The stories I read on this blog and elsewhere about people my age or a bit older are inspiring. When I was a young pup I knew cool much older people, so I've always thought that getting older would be just fine, and nowadays it's great to be in such good company.

  2. Good idea for a blog. I am going to link to you. I write a blog for baby boomers.

  3. paula, age 55November 02, 2007

    Thanks, Rhea, for posting a link to your blog. I've just bookmarked about a dozen new websites from your links and links from the links.

    I'm particularly interested/involved in the environmental movement, and in what we do beyond talking about what's wrong and why. To me the bigger question is -- what do we do instead? What does the environmentally friendly world look like? Without a vision for where we're going, we may never get there, and it's a Universal principle that what we put our attention to tends to come into being, so it was good to find lots of information about people who are working on this.

    I live in Alabama and am somewhat isolated here with my radical (sensible!) ideas, so the internet is very helpful to me.

    Frances Moore Lappe's book "Diet for a Small Planet" became my cooking bible in the early 70's. It's very heartening to see that she's expanded her work. Her website for Small Planet Institute is very worthwhile.

    Our generation is changing the world. All the stuff we thought about and tried to do something about in the sixties and seventies is finally coming to fruition.

    There's a relationship between the established culture's suppression of the erotic and their disregard for environmental health and the blatant exploitation of beautiful living beings like ancient trees and wild animals.

    Okay now it's time to thank Joan for letting me get up on my soapbox for a few paragraphs.


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