65th birthday blowing out candle

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomers“You’re a senior,” said my sister N. “Happy landmark birthday,” said my cousin J. “Are you afraid of turning 65,” asked my BFF L. “Today’s 65 is different than when our moms turned 65,” said my BFF M.

When I retired from my full-time career in 2013, the thought of turning 65 seemed eons away. Now in what feels like the blink of an eye, this week I’m there.

2023 sign

I kicked off the first week of the new year with a birthday celebration

Officially a member of seniorhood

Yep, it’s official. My Medicare card is all laminated and permanently placed in my wallet. While the dictionary defines seniorhood as old age, I prefer older adulthood. Ooh, ooh, ooh, that’s an easier definition to swallow.

“You don’t look 65,” said my BFF R. I appreciated the accolades but as I look in the mirror each morning what reflects back isn’t the same as 15 years ago. My body is aging. The middle-aged middle is now senior ripples. The few extra pounds are permanently engraved. My face has age spots and additional wrinkles too — or lines of wisdom as some would say. And those body aches, ugh, those arthritic joints that act up whenever I play pickleball or do Zumba, are here to stay.

Negatives be gone, positives move on

WAKE UP Judi! Seniorhood is damn great. You’re retired. (At 65 I’m allowing myself to add that word to my vocabulary with glee.) You have a fab family, many BFFs and making new ones every day, and a wonderful boyfriend E. You have a condo on the corner at the Jersey shore in the summer and you’re a snowbird in Flo-ree-da in the winter. You’ve worked hard to get to this stage and it’s time to enjoy it. Yes, it’s time to enjoy it and cherish every moment.

Peach Bellini from Jane’s on 3rd

There’s a rubber ducky in my Peach Bellini

Celebrating my 65th milestone

So how did I welcome my 65th? I celebrated with grace and gratitude. I opened my b-day cards and read each several times with appreciation for those I love. My BFF M took me out to lunch at Jane’s Cafe on 3rd, one of my favorite restaurants in Old Town Naples (Florida not Italy) and we toasted my special milestone with Peach Bellini’s. It was so good, so good, so good. 

“It’s my 65th birthday today,” I proudly said to the waitress. “Happy Birthday,” she replied. When we finished our entrees she brought out a Melting Hot Chocolate Lava Cake with a candle atop vanilla ice cream. I made a birthday wish as I blew out the flame. We devoured every last bite. It was so good, so good, so good.

65th birthday blowing out candle

Making wishes for my 65th birthday

An inspiring mantra to live by

After lunch, M and I browsed the Gretchen Scott Shop nearby, oohing and ahhing at the colorful fabrics and designs. I could have bought quite a few of Gretchen’s pretty pjs and dresses on display. Instead I gravitated to the garment tags. Perhaps because I am a writer the inspirational words resonated, or more so perhaps because the brand’s mantra echoed how I was feeling on this first day of my 65th year.

“Our brand embodies a place that is chic, joyous, playful and fun,” says Gretchen Scott, founder, and CEO of Gretchen Scott Designs. “Our mantra is: ‘Laugh More, Gripe Less, Ignore Critics, Say Yes, Order Dessert, Love Life.’ These words are sewn into everything we make. We imagine people smiling as they read those words while dressing.”

Indeed those words made me smile. Ooh, ooh, ooh, that’s the energy I want to bring to my 65th and the rest of my seniorhood years. How about you?

Gretchen Scott garment tag

Gretchen Scott garment tags carry an inspiring mantra

Never enough dessert

My birthday ended on a sweet note. There were seven more candles (six for each decade and one for good luck) to blow out on my Carvel ice cream cake that night. I made seven wishes. You can never make too many wishes. Then I spooned up a big piece of cake with vanilla and chocolate ice cream and my favorite chocolate crunchies in between and ate a second birthday dessert. As Gretchen’s mantra says, “Order Dessert.”


P.S. I may have to go back to Gretchen Scott’s shop and buy those pjs. Or better yet, buy the cut velvet palazzo pants that I fell in love with. They will be perfect for the rehearsal dinner for my son’s wedding later this year. Good news is I can also shop online. BTW when you purchase a garment or accessory in store they give you a complimentary fab fabric bag with the mantra.