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  • Writer's pictureJane Leder

OMG, I’m Turning 70!


When I turned 50, I was delighted.  It felt like I was joining an elite group of wise women (and men . . . well, kinda, sorta).  It was the beginning of Act II.  If I played my cards right and fickle fate went my way, I’d have another 50 years.

When I turned 60, I wasn’t as excited.  Yet I had both social security and Medicare to look forward to.  And I’d qualify in no time for senior discounts at the movies, on airlines, at restaurants and hotels, and a lot more.  Not such a bad deal.  As long as I kept my health and some semblance of visibility, my sixth decade would come with some well-deserved perks.


Turning 70 is a completely different deal.  The clock toward the “end” is ticking fast, much too fast.  When you’re young, you think that life hasn’t begun.  Life will start sometime in the future.  But then inevitably you’re old and what you thought would happen didn’t or didn’t turn out the way you’d imagined.  How did all that time slip away?


I’m not obsessed with death.  I’m not. Well, not exactly.  I got weepy in my yoga class when the woman next to me on her yoga mat complained of being 58.  What the hell was her problem?   And the other night when I couldn’t sleep and felt damn sorry for myself, I wanted my mother.  But she’d been dead for almost 7 years and, I’d be joining her sooner than I ever could have imagined.

But I’m prepared. I have long-term health insurance.  I have a living will.  All of my pertinent information is filed away in a red folder so that my son or husband can find it easily.  I have my money and deed to the house in a trust so that whomever survives me won’t have to suffer a long wait to settle my estate, such as it is.

I’m not ready to throw in the towel.  Sure, there are those inevitable signs of aging.  My knees buckle every now and then. My balance isn’t what it used to be.  I now use a step ladder to reach the bottle or book on the top shelf.  And, yes, I sport crepe paper skin, furrows between my eye brows, deeper and deeper nasolabial folds . . .

I’ve earned those badges like a proud Girl Scout.  And while I may be “invisible” to some, I’m more and more visible to myself.

I have a trick: I review my life in 20-year chunks, say between 40 and 60 or 50 until today.  (Based on my parents’ life span, I should have at least 20 years to go.)  I think of all that happened in those 20 years . . . love, sickness, successes, failures, lessons learned and those that still need some work.  It gives me comfort to know that so much lies ahead.

I don’t think I’ll throw myself a big party for my 70th.  I’ll save that for my 90th!


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