The Best Is Yet To Come: Celebrating My 60th Birthday!

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomersThere’s no more countdown. It’s here, it’s now. This week I’m celebrating my 60th birthday!

Looking Back On My 50s
As I get ready to tackle my next decade, I can’t help but think of all I’ve accomplished during the past 10 years. When I started blogging my year to 50, I was a newbie. I never dreamed that my 49th year would be one of the most extraordinary years of my life.  Losing my spouse at the end of 2007 turned my world upside down. The grief and loneliness I felt during that period was overwhelming. But thanks to the support and love from family and friends, I came through that period and I’m here to say it’s now lovely on the other side.

Many of you, my dear readers, have shared my life after 50 transformation journey with me. From losing my spouse, to selling my house, to emptying out my nest, it’s been a wild ride. From buying my condo on the corner at the Jersey shore, to mastering online dating and meeting my boyfriend L, to leaving my full-time job and saying good-bye to my mom, I’ve weathered ups and downs along the way.

Oh yes, yes, yes, how could I forget creating an award-winning blog and becoming a yoga instructor too. It’s been nice to be able to pursue my passions instead of a paycheck since retiring from my full-time corporate career.

60th birthday; turning 60; life after 60

It’s time to celebrate my 60th birthday!

Looking Ahead To My 60s
Pondering my 60s, I wonder what life has in store for me during the next 10 years. Sometimes I wish I could look into a crystal ball and ask. Other times I want to be surprised.

60th birthday; the best is yet to come; turning 60

My new journal says it all!

When Oprah turned 60 a few years ago, she said, “We go through life discovering the truth about who we are and determining who has earned the right to share the personal space within our heart.”

These words ring especially true for me. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to celebrate my 60th birthday with several of my close girlfriends. Many of them were at my 50th celebration. I feel blessed to have such incredible long-term friendships with such talented, caring women. These women “share a personal space within my heart.” So do my long-distance girlfriends who could not be there, my daughter A and son D, my boyfriend L, my sister N, and other family members. My late husband M is always tucked inside my heart as well.

60th birthday; turning 60; life after 60; 60th birthday celebrations

My close girlfriends helped me celebrate my 60th birthday.

From Grief To Gratitude
“One thing I know for sure,” stealing another phrase from Queen Oprah, is that I am so grateful for all that I have and all that I am able do at this point in my life.

Ten years ago, my grief was piercing after losing my husband. It was scary navigating so much change. People ask me, how did you do it? How did you make all those changes?

It wasn’t easy. Sometimes it was day by day. Other times, it was hour by hour or even minute by minute. I learned to ask for help. My mindfulness and yoga practices taught me how to live more in the present and continue to guide me today.

With time, my loneliness turned to loveliness and grief to gratitude. Catherine Price, author of Gratitude – A Journal, says that “People who actively try to become more grateful in their everyday lives are happier – not to mention – healthier – than those who don’t.” Catherine recommends journaling and says: “Learning to refocus your mind toward happiness is a long process and can have its frustrations as well as its joys.” She says not to feel guilty or beat yourself up if you have down days.

60th birthday; turning 60; life after 60

I’m grateful for my beautiful birthday bouquets.

 

I also encourage you to read The New York Times journalist John Leland’s interviews with six people 85+, which he says is “one of the fastest-growing age groups in the country.”  In his essay, “When Old News Is Good News,” he says about his interviewees, “The six became models for challenges in my own life, living examples of resilience, gratitude and the wisdom that comes from living through ups and downs in history. Even amid the very real hardships of old age, all found reasons or opportunities to be happy.”

Facing New Challenges
The final few months of 2017 brought new challenges for me and proved that the only thing in life that is constant is change:

60th birthday; turning 60

Despite my new challenges, I’m happy and it’s going to be okay.

My son D went through tough times and ended his engagement. He wasn’t ready to get married. He was bold and brave and made the right decision to breakup with his fiancee. He and our families are healing now. And my daughter A accepted a promotion with a move to Minneapolis the end of this month. I’m going to miss her being close by but am excited for her adventure. I am so proud of both of them.

On December 29th, after surgery to remove a tumor from my bladder, I learned I had bladder cancer. Not something I had planned for going into my 60th year. The good news is the cancer was non-invasive. The bad news is it can come back. My life is forever changed.

As my BFF L said in her card, “Cancer messed with the wrong chick.” More to share on this topic, but I’m not ready to let it be the lead story, not right now, and hoping not ever. For now, it’s an interruption that I have to deal with and will. However, I could not hide this from you. Since I know you have been there for me before and will be there for me again as I face new battles.

And finally, my sister N lost her husband after a long illness. She and her son N have much grief to process in the coming months and years. I’m glad I can be a support to her and let her know that there are happier days to come.

“Right now, are you happy?”
In his essay, John Leland says that “Happiness Is A Choice You Make.” and quotes one of his interviewees, Fred Jones, who says, “If you’re not happy at the present time then you’re not happy. Some people say, if I get that new fur coat for the winter, or get myself a new automobile, I’ll be happy then. But you don’t know what’s going to happen by that time. Right now, are you happy?”

How would you answer that question?

“Right now are you happy?”

Despite the setbacks at the end of 2017, I have to say that yes, right now I am happy. What about you?

60th birthday; turning 60; 60th birthday celebration; life after 60

I’m a woman of multiple names. Judy is my real name and Judi is my pen name.

Yesterday at my 60th celebration, I blew out a candle and made a wish. I’m a woman of many names. My real name is Judy with a “y’ and my pen name is Judi with an “i.” I made a wish for both Judy and Judi.

Thanks for your readership and friendship. I look forward to sharing the next 10 years with you on my blog.

The best is yet to come!

Love,

Judi

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13 thoughts on “The Best Is Yet To Come: Celebrating My 60th Birthday!

  1. Happy birthday and here’s to a fantastic decade! You post life is ups and downs and that it’s okay.

    Wishing you a quick recovery and looking forward to reading your blog throughout the 60s!

  2. My dear friend Judy,Again, Happy Happy Birthday! You are amazing and your storytelling captivating. Your friendship has brought so much happiness into my life. I sincerely thank you for that! Enjoy the wonderful Bday week. I will celebrate 59 years of a wonderful life on Friday and feel blessed by your inspiration.

    • Diane, so glad we have remained close friends. I value your friendship too. And I wish you, a very happy birthday. Didn’t know know you are a fellow Capricorn.

  3. Happiest of birthdays to you Judi! I enjoyed this article, and I wish you and yours a wonderful – and healing – year to come. I love your attitude!

  4. A wonderful post about a year full of joy and challenges. I am a cancer survivor ( I had breast cancer 11 years ago) and this led me to change my life. I recommend Dr Gabriel Cousens “conscious eating” book and Dr Ann Whitmore, so u can stack the odds in your favor. Happy birthday – we achieved the same milestone! Here’s to many more good ones ahead of you…

    Peta

    • Peta, so glad to hear you are a survivor and sounds like you are also a thriver. Cheers to good health and to your 60th birthday! Thanks for your readership. I will check out the books.

  5. Hi Judy – Happy Birthday! I just read your magnificent post. I remember when you first started this blog and how “different” the world was. . .how different life was. I was a new “older” mom with a toddler who had me running in circles. I was also in the throes of a corporate career that had me running in circles. Thankfully, with my own personal countdown to 50 (now 56 as of December 28!), life has calmed down and I’m finding ways to enjoy life and all its beauty. Your posts have been a great inspiration to me. I always feel like a “treat” has arrived whenever they pop into my email box and do my best to read them upon receipt. I also recall those fun-filled years when we worked together at CSC “way back when” and am so grateful for the friendship we shared and how much I learned from you. My son is now a high school freshman. . .and, yes, he still has me running in wonderful circles – but I am so proud of the smart, kind, handsome, gentle young man he has become! Thank you Judy, for your storytelling, good humor and truth. And many blessings, always, to your family. May the years ahead for you be filled with joy, happiness, amazing friendships and good health (100% complete recovery)!

    Dawn

    • Dawn, so nice to hear from you. Wow, can’t believe your son is in high school. They grow up so quickly so cherish those years. So glad you are part of my blogging community.

  6. More email comments from readers:

    Reader U said: “Happy birthday to you,may you continue to radiate joy and happiness.”

    Reader S said: “Happy Birthday! Welcome to club 60! I turned last week;)” And happy birthday to you too.!

    Reader S said: “Wow – I’m so honored to be a part of all of this, and inspired by your words enough to print, save, and dig out often for a reminder to look on the bright side and seek happiness.”

    Reader S said: “Happy birthday Judy. I wish you all the best. You are a great writer and I enjoy reading about your life.”

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