"My financial plan only needs to go to seventy because that's all the longer I plan to live" A financial planner quoting a client
I was quite taken by this comment from a financial planner sitting on a panel with me on retirement planning. It was a week before my sixty ninth birthday and I didn’t think I was THAT old.
What does 70 look like? People look a little surprised when I tell them my age. I’m not 70 yet, you understand? I am only 69 1/2. But I’m getting ready. There will be celebrations and a major physical challenge. More about that later.
Do you notice that we count babies’ ages in months? I think we do that until 24 months. Then we go to 2 1/2, etc. I remember my grandson announcing he was 4 3/4. At some point we get more vague. We are 20 something or 40ish. Then the even more general “middle age”. I once heard the definition of middle age is ten years older than you are. I am always amused at a 60 year old refering herself as middle age. I guess if you are going to be 120 that would be true. At some point we go back to being more specific. Betty White described herself as 84 1/2. We go full circle. Although I have never heard someone describe himself as 960 months old. And then we have our descriptive names: infant, toddler, pre-schooler, kid, tween, teen, young adult, and then we have the gap until the indeterminable middle age and the dreaded “senior citizen”.
I would rather eat ground glass than call myself a senior citizen. (unless it is for movie tickets or a very deep discount or the lifetime pass to National Parks) Middle age for obvious reasons just doesn’t work anymore. At my last birthday I took a big gulp and announced to the world that I was entering my 70th year. On September 22 I turned 69. Please don’t tell me I am only as old as I feel. Some days that would make me 120. Some days I look in the mirror and don’t recognize that old person. Other days I look pretty good and on top of the world.
I am slightly ahead of the baby boomers, the first of whom are turning 65 this year. They are exploring new territory and I seem to be the forward scout. There are no role models for me. What is your image of 70? I am guessing it is not me. Some things about me I am guessing are not typical:
I went to law school in my 50s and I continue to build my own solo legal practice, and not just show up a couple times a week
I am active on Facebook
I just traded my Blackberry for an iPhone (I have had an iPad for several months already)
I’m an avid fan of Bikram Yoga
I purchased and read “How Not To Act Old” and “How Not to Look Old”. This means I am learning to avoid skin colored hose, text with my thumbs and not my index fingers, and never ever wear dark lipstick.
I have found, however, that I prefer my own company most Saturday nights, rarely hit the latest happy hour, and have eschewed on line dating as just not having the patience to do the getting-to-know-you dance. I don’t consider that a sign of old age but merely a sense of being discriminating with my time and energy. I don’t suffer fools gladly.
This is not to say I don’t have an active social life. I am very active in several community organizations and attend many “networking” events. I have a small group of female attorneys we call the Law Ladies. We meet once a month and the members are my daughter’s age or younger. It seems most of my friends are my daughters age. They have started asking me about menopause and, frankly, I don’t remember.
This is just some background to explain the premise of this blog. I know there are fitter, more active, more attractive 70 year olds or older. Think Jane Fonda, Barbra Streisand, Cher, Gloria Steinem. And that is just the point. I am not an outlier. I am what 70 is now. I hope to offer a template for my baby boomer sisters (and brothers) who are entering these so-called golden years.
It really is not your grandmother’s 70.