I have really enjoyed writing this series of blogs on what people get out of every decade of life. It reminded me that we do have different priorities at different ages. In our 20s we are still figuring out who we are, but we have time for friends and travel. In our 30s we are establishing careers and sometimes life-long partnerships. In our 40s we make time for our passions, but we also have the responsibility of mortgages, relationships and children. In our 50s, too often we end up being the sandwich generation – we have an important job, teenagers, elderly parents however we also have confidence and are learning to really be ourselves. Come 60, we are liberated from some of our cares and have more time to just enjoy life! I am in my 60s and I am grateful that I’m no longer young and foolish. I’m old enough not to get hung up about what people think. I’m old enough to know how precious time is. But what does the future hold for me? Should I embrace or fear turning 70? Because I’m not yet there, I turned to the help of two wise souls to learn about turning 70.
First I found these fun tips about turning 70 from Prof David Milofsky, an emeritus professor of English at Colorado University. I want to share them with you.
This is what he found out about turning 70:
1. Brain tumours are much more common in people aged in their 50s and 60s.
2. 30 percent of older men do NOT have benign prostatic hyperplasia (an enlarged prostate).
3. In China young people revere the elderly.
4. If global warming isn’t stopped, it won’t affect you.
5. Growing old gracefully is overrated.
6. Artificial hips only need replacing about once every 20 years
7. When you think about ‘stroke’ you must think about tennis or golf!
8. You can pretend not to know about computers and get your grandchildren to set up the WIFI.
8. There is still no inter-planetary travel or flying cars.
9. If you make it to 100, your children will be senior citizens.
10. You earned $1 an hour in your first job and you were happy!
11. Cigarettes are now $20 a pack. Aren’t you glad you gave up smoking?
12. You can pay $400 for a pair of jeans with artistic rips in them.
13. You can find out how to cremate yourself online (just don’t let your grandkids see that you know how to surf the net, or they’ll stop helping you with your IT needs).
14. Emojis have added nothing to communication.
15. Either you speak softly or all of your friends are going deaf.
16. True friendships are like fine wine and cheese – they improve with age
17. Uber is brilliant.
18. The drudgery of flying today makes travelling with Greyhound buses look good.
19. You never thought you’d be this old.
20. When did TV become artistically superior to movies? (They have great stuff on Netflix and Stan.)
21. Cars now brake, steer and talk to you. They have more conversations than some people.
22. Mick Jagger is 72, but he can still dance.
23. You still don’t know what’s in McDonald’s special sauce or Coke Cola.
24. If you want to stop your grandchildren from getting a tattoo, tell them you’ll get a matching one!
On a more serious note, this is what the philosophical author of Family Secrets, Liz Byrski, found out about turning 70.
- Relationships with family and friends are more precious.
- Time is more valuable.
- The natural world is more enriching.
- You will struggle more with your health (a lack of energy, aching joints and moments of memory failure).
- Accept your limitations at the same time you embrace being free of work and the demands of caring for children. The poet May Sarton wrote at 70 that old age is life-enhancing.“Now I wear the inside person outside and I am more comfortable with myself. In some ways I am younger because I can admit vulnerability, and more innocent because I do not have to pretend.”
- Once we live as if we are dying, priorities become sharp.
- Often women do better than men in old age and adapt more easily to losing a spouse. Ageing men tend to seek partners for their old age, while many women relish the independence and freedom of later life.
- But the worst thing for women and men is the bad press old age gets. That it is all about isolation, generational conflict, sickness and confinement to a nursing home. 85 per cent of Australians aged over 80 still live independently at home, enjoying active lives.
- Wrinkles are badges of honour. You are living proof to young people that ageing can be a time of pleasure, satisfaction, opportunity and new horizons. Something that young people aspire to!
- Turning 70 can be a doorway to a new future; a modest, quiet but satisfying future where you can do what you like within your own means. For others the future after 70 may be more adventurous. You might take up skydiving or climb Mount Everest. Each to her or his own is how people of 70 and older see it!
- It is time to talk more about the good life of old age. Young people need to hear something other than doom and gloom.
I think every person turning 70 should have a big, big party because turning 70 definitely beats the alternative! Please savour every year of ageing. I can’t wait to join you in the 70-plus club. Bring it on!
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ABOUT PAT MESITI
Pat Mesiti is a best-selling author, coach and educator in the area of personal development. Having built some of Australia’s largest people-driven organisations, Pat understands the power of harnessing human potential. He has shared the stage with some of the world’s great business minds and has sold over millions of copies of his books and materials.