Bush's Bid to Blame the Old Folks
Turning 65 - The Morning After

What a Difference a Year Makes

Category_bug_timeline [NOTE: Elaine of Kalilily posted a wonderful birthday greeting for me on her site that includes a drop-dead funny video clip. It's like peanuts - betcha can't watch it just once...]

[FURTHER NOTE - 5AM: I had set this to publish on its own this morning, but I woke early and discovered a whole bunch of birthday greetings. You are - every one of you - the absolute best. Thank you.]

Ronni at 65 So swiftly passes a year at my age. It seems only yesterday I was writing here about “when I’m 64” and today, I have reached what is generally considered to be the traditional age of full retirement. Sixty-five. Halfway through my seventh decade. One of those rites-of-passage birthdays - like 13 (if you are Jewish), 21 (legal adulthood) and 50 (the half-century mark) - that rings with portent.

No denying it: I really am old now, although bloggers Millie Garfield and Golden Lucy, both past 80, will giggle at that statement.

I am always irritated when people say, “I don’t feel 65.” Or 70 or 75, etc. Of course they do. Since not one of us knows what it feels like to be older than we are, whatever we feel is what that age feels like. Equally irritating are recent boomer slogans such as “50 is the new 30.” Anyone who can’t tell the difference is a case of arrested development and a contributor to our youth-crazed, ageist culture.

The downsides of becoming 65 have, so far, been minimal. I don’t have the stamina and strength I once had and need to spread out chores and errands over longer periods of time. But I don’t find that a burden. I like the extra walks necessary to finish shopping, and if it’s harder to stay awake into the wee hours, I’ve known since my twenties that nothing noteworthy happens at the party past midnight.

Famous and celebrated contemporaries who have defined the era in which I have lived die more frequently now. Just last year, Richard Pryor, Rosa Parks, Coretta Scott King, Prince Rainier of Monaco, Hunter Thompson, Arthur Miller, Johnny Carson, Betty Friedan.

Youngsters who know these people only historically probably can’t grasp the force with which each one, at their peak, etched his or her sensibility on the public consciousness of the second half of the 20th century. But that was then and this is now.

In recent years, the rightness of death makes more sense to me. Those scientists who spend millions researching life extension, predicting 200-year life spans one day, are selfish and wrong. Elders must make way for younger people who are unencumbered by attachments to the past and are a better match to new times, new eras, new issues. (More about this soon.)

The upsides of getting older far outweigh the negatives. I am more patient with myself and others. Experience has alleviated the fears that plagued my twenties, thirties and even forties. Having learned that aside from putting a gun to one’s head, few decisions are irrevocable, they come more easily now and with less anguish.

Well, maybe not all decisions. This turned out to be a significant year. Settling in New York City in 1969 was a childhood dream and in a sense, all 28 years before were prelude. I have been extraordinarily happy living here, so much so that when I bought this cozy, little apartment, 23 years ago, on one of the prettiest streets in Greenwich Village, it felt so permanent that I told friends I would be taken out feet first - it was my last move.

We should be wary of asserting such absolutes. At about this time last year, months of fruitless searching for work forced me to rethink that pronouncement. I agonized for weeks about what I knew was inevitable and then, in a long, sleepless weekend spent pacing, weeping, shaking my fist at the gods and the insidious bigotry of age discrimination in the workplace, I made a hard-won decision to sell my apartment and move to a less expensive part of the country.

I had many months to make peace with that decision as it took longer to sell my apartment than either the real estate agent or I expected. Now, with my New York home at last sold, I am eager to begin my next adventure in a new place.

Already, I have the core of a personal community in Portland, Maine. Packing cartons arrived this week. Moving day is set for late May with settling into a new home to begin a week or so later. And what a relief that will be.

My life has been disordered and disorderly for nearly six years. The dotcom at which I was employed collapsed abruptly in mid-2000 owing me (still) $25,000. I was unemployed that time for 14 months and the job I eventually found required a four-hour daily commute leaving no time or energy for a personal life for two-and-a-half years.

For nearly a year after I was laid off from that job, I beat my head against the wall of a bad job market and age discrimination until this decision to leave New York, and then I waited seven months for the sale of my apartment. Some downtime and routine will be a welcome change.

We celebrate holidays to remind us of our common history or our faith. Anniversaries and birthdays mark time, allowing us to take stock of the recent past, to renew our commitments to ourselves and others, and to create new beginnings. It is hard sometimes not to believe that the universe has its reasons, and it seems to me an excellent time to let go of one life and start another on such a momentous birthday as 65.

“For age is opportunity no less
Than youth itself, though in another dress,
And as the evening twilight fades away,
The sky is filled with stars invisible by day.”
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Morituri Salutamus [1875]

Next...

Comments

You're not old Ronni---and neither am I! This will be a great year. Mazel Tov and see you at my place.
love,
lucyd

Happy 65th birthday, Ronni!

Yes indeed, what better time to start something new - have a wonderful birthday, Ronni!

Ronni,

here are two links
one

two

So you can have two reasons (as if you really needed them)

to have twice as much fun

on your Birthday from Steve's Two Cents!

Happy Birthday Ronni!

I made you two cards.

Enjoy!

Happy Birthday, Ronni. Stop on by for a small celebration over at "tamarika" land!

Birthday wishes from me too, Ronni, over at my blog. Looks like you're in for a busy day -- and a year of big changes!

Happy Birthday Ronnie--check over at my blog also!

Happy Birthday to you

Happy Birthday Ronni!

Oh my goodness, Happy Birthday! With the changes and the big move, it seems like these may be some exciting times ahead, just at a more leisurely pace. Enjoy!

Maybe the universe does have its reasons. Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday Ronni!

Limerickgram for Ronni,
Limerickgram for Ronni!

Sorry, I'm late but still wishing you the best. Thanks for "Blazing" the way.

Happy Birthday!

LS

Happy Birthday, Ronni!!

Happy Birthday Ronni! Wishing you love, health, happiness and contentment this year...and every year. You are a loved lady. You must be a busy lady today visiting everyone's site. Thanks for stopping by mine so I could share my love. -Joy

Happy Birthday, Ronni!
Wishing you a great day, and many healthy and happy years to come!

While my birthday greeting is not as creative as many you can find already listed here, I must say it is as heartfelt.

You are a treasure and I am fortunate that I have been able to read your wisdom.

Happy Birthday

Take Care
Michael

BTW- Crabby ROCKS

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Ronni! Have a great day, and an exciting year ahead in your new home! Best of health and joy! Thank you so much for your friendship and wisdom.

Hi Ronnie

Now that you have had your coffee, go take a look at my place!

Happy Birthday

Happy birthday Ronni. You look great lady !

Happy Birthday Ronni! What wonderful changes you have in front of you. Here's hoping this year brings you happiness and peace.

You are NOT "really old." Isn't it lovely that one can write where ever one happens to be?

I know you'll miss your home in Greenwich Village. I'm facing a similar move in a few years, so I can empathize, but if we choose, there are wonderful opportunities that could come from the change. I hope for both of us that doors will open that were unexpected, and that we will have positive experiences to share with friends for many years.

And, as SO many of your readers have said.....WRITE A BOOOK!

Happy Birthday, Ronni!

One must have the courage to surrender to the Universal life force, that is always guiding us in our wordly path . One must flow with the flow and not waste our energy fighting against the flow. Soon we would find that things happen for a particular reason and we are always happy that it happened .It was a very good post.Happy birthday and I am sure you would find life more interesting in the new place also.Have a great weekend. Bye.

Happy Birthday, Ronni! Thank you for your daily gift of information, wisdom and humor.

Happy Birthday Ronni - there's a little best wishes over at my site too - enjoy your day. We are all thinking of you. Suzann

Prepared a little birthday present here
I wish you a happy birthday with everything the way you want it for the coming year. And many happy returns of course
Claude

Birthday greetings here and hope the day is joyful.

Ronni Happy Birthday

Come on over to http://driftwoodinspiration.blogspot.com/
and get your birthday hug :)

Chancy

Happy birthday beautiful Ronni!

Happy Birthday! My greeting is here:

http://www.woodka.com/2006/04/07/happy-birthday-ronni-2/#respond

Happy birthday, and many happy returns of the day, and do write on.

The happiest of birthdays, Ronni! And I hope you're enjoying Maine--I used to love going there twice a year to visit my publisher but alas I was just laid off after seven years and Friday was my last day. Can I retire at 46 without having saved a dime?

Thank you for your excellent writing and for this exquisite and important blog which I hope will continue at least until I'm 65.

Mazel tov!

I am excited to hear about how your move unfolds--I love your stories!

Have a very happy day Ronni. Many, many more to you! You have an entire new chapter unfolding with your move to Maine. How exciting!

This last post of yours I enjoyed. I am 65 and I too think money and time are wasted on extending the age time line. I am so out of touch as to what is happening in the world and I don't even care. That is the problem. The wilted and dying flower cannot be replanted to grow as it was sprouting from a new seed. Anyway, I'll read this post over several times as it is good. Now you will find death seems to take over ones mind a lot ; at least it does mine. I seem to wonder what that rush through life was all about and if it is better on the other side and this side was good, it's gonna be one hell of a ride. Don't you just love it between the aches and pains?

You make sixty-five look fabulous. Happy Birthday!

Happy birthday, ronni. Your year ahead sounds like it'll be filled with new adventures and discoveries, just the thing to keep someone young at heart.

Ronni, you've set a new "high" with this posting--it resonates the most strongly of any of your postings, within me. Thank you for all of your (high quality) postings over the last couple of years. You are a jewel! Too, I'm happy to see that you've become more lovely with the added year. You are gorgeous!

"Elders must make way for younger people who are unencumbered by attachments to the past and are a better match to new times, new eras, new issues." This statement shows the wisdom that you have gained. Hope you are having a wonderful birthday (I had to post your "card" ahead of time--I just got in from a trip to Colorado.)

I'm one of so many to say this, but I wish you a happy birthday too.

Well, Ronni, by accident, I wound up the first of your birthday well-wishers (and I thank you so much for the upfront link!). It's almost midnight here on the east coast, so maybe I'll wind up being, purposefully, the last. I think I'll start a Mehitabel Award ("there's a dance in the old dame yet") and make you my first winner. Sto Lat! In Polish that means "may you live a hundred years." Happy Birthday, on more time.

Now you are my age! Hope it was a happy one, Ronni.

I've got you beat by three years. Ronni, but I'm one of the ones who feels really positive about being my age, whatever that it is. I've just come from an evening of theater where the cast (Prime Time Players) put on No, No Nanette--and the cast was between 55 and 85. They were incredible!

My wish for you is your best year in recent history as you begin this new chapter of your life. I've got a tribute up for you at my weblog tonight.

Happy belated birthday, Ronni! Had a great time reading all the comments. Except for the Pacific NW, I love Maine and NH more than any other places in the country! Hoping the move is a smooth one as you get ready to set sail for Maine! Best wishes for many more birthdays and a healthy and happy life in Maine.

Consider myself among the fortunate, for many reasons, to have found TGB and you, Ronni.

Sometimes think selecting specific years in my life based on chronology is "...much ado about nothing..."

Would much rather think about select years in terms of significant world events, personal activities, most importantly of all, people I've met or with whom I've shared something in common.

Can only echo what others have said in wishing you a very happy birthday; a wish that the best is yet to come.

I like your chutzpah Ronni! I read your blog everyday! :)

Ronni,

I am sorry that I missed the actual day, but I am glad that you had a wonderful birthday and I hope the year to come is a good one.

I have been reading your posts for some time but I believe this will be my first comment....Happy Birthday and Happy Trails.

Hi, Ronnie. Better late than never - to wish you happy 65th year to come. You go, and go, and go!
Love, Deborama

By the way, I hate being argumentative, even though there is a school of thought that my maiden name, Keefer, actually MEANS argumentative, but I like the slogan "50 is the new 30". I don't find it to be youth-obsessed, but rather the opposite. Forty or so years ago, 30 was considered the age when you moved from callow youth to mature and elegant womanhood or manhood. And it so obviously is not any more, because 30-year olds now are still quite childish (not all, of course, but there is enough of them for the generalisation to stick) whereas the 40s have taken the place previously held by the 20s as your age of sex-obsession and self-exploration. So naturally, now, the 50s are the time when you discover your mature, fully-developed self-hood, beyond sexual stereotyping or youthful angst. And the 60s decade? That is the time for intellectual and spiritual flowering and for deciding and implementing just what kind of old age you will have. Before, the 60s WERE senescence, but now they are just the antechamber to elder-hood. It's all good, if you want it to be.

I loved the sixties, the hippies, the Beatles, a president named John, and I'm enjoying my own sixties as well. Ronni a few years my senior is showing us how it's done, with grace and with humor. Happy Birthday Friend

Ronni,
Hope your birthday was a joyous celebration of the next chapter. I'm sorry I missed the day. Was in Miami for our mature market conference - you must help me devise a better name!Meeting you at SXSW has had such an influence on my presentations. You have come up in conversation since. There is a terrific agency in Portland that focuses on marketing to women - especially 40+. I want to put you in touch. Lunch before you leave my new city?

A little late but a heartfelt happy birthday!

I have grabbed what you said about making way for younger people as I am sure I'll be quoting it. I find much of my work these days is encouraging my generation to get out of the way of younger folks who must take up the reins.

That is, I have retirement lust! :-)

FINALLY able to watch the video (off the machines from work and in the JFK lounge waiting to board) - LMAO!!!! Too funny. Loved it. And the fact that it was clearly the skateboarders who taped it, kept it, and then put it out into the ether. [Pertinant tag back pehaps to the more recent post on being fined for being too slow across the road - if only we could ALL pinpoint that exact point on the bumber when the horns start blaring!!!]

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