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Sixty Five

Walker Thornton

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In approaching my 65th birthday I've decided to share observations, insights or other tidbits related to what is often considered a landmark age.

I've decided to create my own definitions of what it could look like to turn a certain age, instead of going with the societal notion that I’m ‘over the hill’ or ‘invisible’ or otherwise about to settle in my rocking chair and just fade away.

This posting is a reflection of what turning 65 means for me.

I am less bound by traditional norms

I want to challenge any preconceived, ageist notions I have about being 65. Have I subconsciously taken an attitude that limits me or causes me to conform or otherwise tone down my life based on what’s appropriate for a 65-year-old?

In conclusion—no I haven’t.

Traveling

This allows me to really focus on what’s around me. And to act spontaneously—take this street or that? Sit and watch people or explore an enticing side street? I’m free to be whoever and do whatever I want when I travel. No one knows me or has an expectation. I can easily step out of being that person I’ve always been.

I am wiser, softer, open

I have changed, whether that’s because of age or, more likely, working on understanding myself. The softer piece is letting go of protective barriers I erected over the years. I’m confident enough now to let myself be seen.

I am free of responsibilities

Caregiving, mothering, full-time jobs are no more, and without burdens I’m free to explore creative aspects of life. To read more, experience more art. And with that is a desire to have a more woman-focused life, in what I do, read, and in what I share on social media.

As noted above I am not the person I used to be. I’m still working on discarding old stories and healing myself. And a big part of that is prioritizing my needs. I’m no longer hiding who I am in a desire to be loved. Learning to love myself means learning to say no and deciding who I want in my life. If something, or someone doesn’t work for me I can walk away. I know I’ve made some wrong moves but I’m learning from those, not berating myself.

Sex is still an important part of my life

Actually it wasn’t all that important when I was much younger—often driven by a partner’s desire, my sense of obligation and a desire to please a partner. Now I seek it for my pleasure. I know what it’s like to experience intimacy in a deeper way and I am in charge of who gets invited into my life. And my bed.

I feel comfortable with the signs of aging—I have chosen to embrace this time of my life, not fret over it. I am not interested in pretending to be younger, more ‘youthful’ or ageless. Giving myself permission to…

I don’t see aging as a narrowing of options. I’m no less useful, or capable now than before. I actually feel there are more options available to me. No more limiting my life. I’m in charge of the choosing.

For too long I didn’t really own my sensuous, sexy side. Because I didn’t fit what society calls hot and sexy as a teen and adult I felt awkward and too large, not pretty enough, not the one that men naturally gravitated towards. But I was wrong. Sexy is an attitude; it’s how we show up. And I love that. I can acknowledge that men find me appealing and that’s gratifying in a way. I suspect it’s less about the body size and makeup and flirty stuff as it is about the radiance that comes with self-confidence. Honoring myself . I am making choices to reflect the way I feel about myself and thinking about the life I want to create.

I’m still single because I’ve refused to compromise, to make myself more appealing to men. Admittedly I’ve made some bad choices. And, I’m comfortable with that, seeing it as a positive and not a flaw. I’ve had far too many first dates and brief failed ‘relationships’. Yet, admittedly that there are times when I wish I had a partner.

With a recent cancer scare I acknowledged my resilience and looking back I see I’ve weathered some difficult times in life. It’s a good feeling to be able to acknowledge one’s own strength, particularly as a (aging) woman.

I am celebrating

We can do it in so many ways. I’m making my own rules, which include celebrating me, every day, in various ways. It can be whatever I want it to be.

I’ve been a public speaker for years and am quite comfortable in front of an audience but I haven’t always trusted my personal voice. The voice that reflects who I am, not the work or program I’m promoting. The feeling that I didn’t have a right, or would mess up, or look vain or silly. Trusting my voice and being articulate at (almost) all times is relatively new for me. It feels right. Plus, in helping women find their voices I have to be able to do the same.

I am choosing how I plan to age

To be gray. To be visible, to experience pleasure and joy. I could just as easily whine about being a single woman and my life. Dye my hair, hide my age, instead I choose to be visible and true to who I am. I choose what happens next. Obviously some things are not predictable, but I can take active charge of my life and lead the narrative.

This involves healthier choices, a different attitude, a willingness to sit with discomfort and a desire to keep discovering. It all…..

Oh, and yes I’m thrilled to be on Medicare.

Benjamin Hotel
Benjamin Hotel

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Walker Thornton

Walker Thornton is an author and public speaker advocating the idea of Aging Unapologetically™.

She helps women embrace the next stage of life with joy and abandon and a touch of practicality. Her approach to talking about sex and aging is refreshingly positive.

Her book, Inviting Desire, a Guide for Women Who Want to Enhance Their Sex Life, can be found at Amazon, and other online booksellers.