GratiTuesday: So long, fifties, it was fun!

Tomorrow, I will no longer be in my fifties. A new year and a new decade of my life begins. I’m not even sure how long I can legitimately claim to be “middle-aged” anymore (although I suspect that I’ll cling to that designation until my dying breath).

At least up until today, I’m not too freaked out about this milestone birthday. Tomorrow could be a whole different story, but right now I feel optimistic. At 59, I’m generally healthy and happy, and I have no reason to think this will change when my odometer clicks over to 60.

My fifties started out not with a bang, but a whimper… mine. On the day of my 50th birthday, I had a 4-hour meeting with a client that required a 3-hour drive each way. I felt sorry for myself the whole day and my mood was only slightly brightened when my husband greeted my return with a hug and a kiss and a homemade cake. Poor me.

Fortunately, that inauspicious start was not a harbinger of things to come over the next decade. I soon left that good but uninspiring job for a better one which allowed me to learn a lot of new skills, work with some amazing people who became much more than colleagues, and gave me a strong sense of career satisfaction. I am grateful that I was given the opportunity to work for a great company and with some outstanding individuals.

My fifties included quite a few travel adventures, including a trip to Cuba that I had dreamed about since I was in my thirties. I also got to explore parts of the United States that I hadn’t been to before, and re-visited other areas that warranted a second – or third – look. I am so grateful that my husband, traveling companion, and best friend are all wrapped up in the same package.

I took up a few new hobbies in my fifties, including blogging and photography. I am grateful for the generous help and encouragement I’ve received from others as I struggle to improve. I’m also grateful for the plethora of free, or nearly free, classes and seemingly limitless online resources that have helped to shorten my learning curve.

Of course, my fifties contained a few bumps and bruises along the way. Four years ago I lost my beloved 92-year-old father after many years of failing health. As sad as it was to say good-bye, I am so grateful that I had him in my life for so long. I, along with my brothers, had the privilege of caring for him as he declined and I am profoundly grateful that I was by his side to surround him with love as he slipped away.

My fifties is also the decade that I shut the door on the 8 – 5 world and opened the mystery door labeled “retirement.” Although it has been less than two years since I stepped over that threshold, I can’t say that I’ve ever had a second thought about that decision. I am grateful that I was able to leave work on my timetable and while young enough to experience the joys and take advantage of the opportunities retirement offers.

So, tomorrow I’ll celebrate the beginning of a new decade. I don’t know what it holds for me, but I’m grateful that I get to be here to say “hello, and welcome.”

Author: Janis @

My blog is about travel, relationships, photography, and whatever else pops into my head (even, sometimes, issues surrounding retirement and aging).

32 thoughts on “GratiTuesday: So long, fifties, it was fun!”

  1. I’m so encouraged to read this post. I too click over to 60 this year, in March. I’ve had feelings of dread for months … unusual for me because normally the calendar age doesn’t bother me.

    I’ve been reminded a few times that growing old is a privilege and your post is so hopeful of many great things still to come in this new chapter of our lives.

    Cheers to you as you celebrate your special day. A very happy birthday and best wishes for an exciting and fulfilling new decade 🙂

    1. I’m not sure why this one isn’t bothering me. Maybe because I see so many men and women older than me who are doing amazing things… even if it’s just living life the way they want. Thank you for the birthday wishes!

  2. Happy Birthday! I have enjoyed my 60s. Although filled with more wrinkles and aches, they are very liberating. The worst thing about being in your 60s is the next big milestone starts with a very scary 7. How does that happen? I feel like I’m 30 inside and I bet you do too.

    1. I’m not sure what 60 is supposed to feel like but I think our generation – for the most part – are rocking it better than our parents did. It’s not age-denial, it’s more that we don’t pay too much attention to the “shoulds” out there. You are right, though, I can’t say that I feel much different inside than I felt at thirty… except that I have much more confidence.

      1. It’s a LOT younger than it used to be. We stay in touch with what’s going on, wear contemporary clothes and enjoy life. My Mom was pretty cool but my aunts weren’t. I don’t think they knew who Elvis or the Beatles were.

  3. Happy Birthday. You have a lot of gas left in the engine. All the best in exploring more new places and revisiting old friends and sites.

      1. Agreed. I live close enough to South Carolina, which has the cheapest gas in the country, I need to keep refilling this old tank.

  4. Welcome to the 60s decade. I’m just about to leave it and move on to the next one. I hope you find your 60s to be a fulfilling time of peace and self-acceptance. I have felt a sense of freedom to do what I choose and set my own course. The physical side is not fun, at least not for me, and I am becoming more and more surly as each new ache and pain turns up, but I’ve learned to just take an aspirin and get on with my day. It certainly does no good to complain about it, and I know from listening to others that no one wants to hear about it anyway! We are the lucky ones who are still alive and have many opportunities to design each day we are given. Whenever I feel like bemoaning my situation, I think of those who have passed on and no longer have the options that I have. That pretty much shuts me up.

    Happy Birthday, and please keep writing! I enjoy your blog very much.

    1. You are so correct that we are the lucky ones! I don’t have much in the way of aches and pains yet but I’m not naive enough to think that they won’t be in my future. Thank you for your kind words and birthday wishes.

  5. Tomorrow you’ll be only one day older than you are today, as the saying goes. I’m getting oh-so-close to 70 and still love life as much as ever. The sixties are great!
    Love this post, Janis. Have a very Happy Birthday!

    1. I love to read your positive words! I know that I’ll be just one day older, but, for some reason, turning that page on the calendar feels different. I’m sure the champagne we have cooling in the fridge right now will help smooth the transition! Thank you for your cheerful birthday wishes!

  6. Happy birthday! I’m four years behind you, so you will be my trailblazer. When my late dad was in his mid-80’s he said that more and more he thought of himself as a young boy — until he looked in the mirror anyway. 🙂 My sibs all made it safely to their sixties and the oldest still has two more years till she gets to the “7” number. As long as we all have our health, these are good years. Enjoy. 🙂

  7. Happy Birthday! In my sixties I retired and began full-time baby-sitting my grandson. I traveled a lot and got my home and garden together with all my free time. This year I turn 70 and the only thing I can complain about are those required IRA deductions next year, so life’s good. Enjoy every moment.

  8. Happy belated birthday, Janis. I opened your email then got distracted by my vacation, lol. You are living the dream and you could easily pass for 40, so perpetual Midlife will be a snap for you. 🙂

  9. Happy Birthday! I’m sure you are going to love your 60s! My husband turned 70 last year and he’s still healthy as a horse, which gives me great hope! It sure is nice having this life phase where we can do what we want…and appreciate it so much!

    1. Although 60 is a little bit of a shocker, I really feel good and – even though I know it won’t last forever – I can’t see that changing anytime soon. You are right about this life phase… I appreciate it every day.

  10. First – a Happy Birthday (Belated, but we just met, so I get a pass) Second – you’re an Aries, like me, and you will never be bored! Third – I have 7 years on you and still feel like an adult-child, so 60 isn’t so bad.Last – Happy Birthday, again!

      1. I’d been reading your latest April posts and then skipped here. January 5th not April! Momentary lapse, Capricorns are never boring, either! I still have a few years on you, though.) Clare

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