Sunday, May 16, 2010

Rounding a new corner, discovering something interesting

"How can you write a blog about women who are 60 and single now that you have a boyfriend," ask some of my friends. The short answer is that just because my life has moved forward doesn't prevent me from continuing to explore life's challenges, financial issues and related topics that face women 60 and older or to broaden the content of this blog as I begin to share my life with someone new.
Three years ago, I embraced the world that I'd abruptly found myself living in ...60, single, worried about my financial future and grieving over the loss of my long-time marriage. It was a wrenching life-changing experience. I gave myself a mission: To change the way American women plan and save for retirement. The conversation is evolving along with my life but the topic continues to focus on financial issues and women.
Many people take charge of painful situations by doing what I've done. Cancer causes, help for autistic children, hospice programs have sprung from the need to cope and to help others in similar situations. As a newspaper business reporter it was natural for me to look into women, money and retirement issues related to my own experience and share what I was learning.
Here's what I've learned lately: When two people over age 60 fall in love, the intensity of the relationship is glorious. Wisdom does come with age, so there's an understanding and acceptance of life's lessons that makes a 60-something  relationship, comfortable and pleasurable in ways that were not possible with a first romance at 20 or 30. We appreciate each other for who we are. We love waking up in the morning in good health with a good cup of coffee, ready to explore the day.
Ken (his name is Ken) has given me support for moving forward with my life on all fronts. This year, I retired after 26 years working at the same newspaper. It's a big change but it is opening doors to new opportunities, interesting experiences.
When people ask me how I'm doing in retirement, I tell them that I don't yet know. "I'm reinventing myself, I've thrown a deck of cards in the air and it hasn't landed on the table," I say. My life with Ken is an important part of moving forward. Believe me, there's plenty of financial blog topic material here as we share our lives as a couple with grown children and separate income and assets including houses. Here he has an office downstairs. I have an office upstairs. I write. He keeps a hand in with his business. He's 62 and widowed after a 28-year marriage. I'm 63, divorced after an 18-year marriage. We both liked being married. For us, living together is working for now.
Meanwhile, my 95-year-old mother is holding onto her life on the farm in Idaho, the lives of my many friends are evolving, my children move forward with their lives. There is so much for which to be thankful. The people I've met through Ken are interesting, if not extraordinary. He feels the same about my friends, family.
"Every day," as Ken likes to remind me, "we round a new corner, discover something interesting."
In these past three years, I've become much better at living in the moment, giving the people in my life my full attention and unconditional love. Yes, what doesn't kill you makes you better.
My mission with this blog is to continue to focus on women, money, retirement and life at 60.  I've learned that at this age things do get complicated with Social Security, Medicare, life insurance, investments, taxes, wills and estate planning. But being rich or being poor is secondary to how we live our lives. For me, every day has become a blessing, a new opportunity to enjoy the moment, enjoy the man who has chosen to be in my life and I in his, to enjoy my children and my friends, to pursue my interests on several fronts.
I've just finished reading, "Three Cups of Tea," a book about Greg Mortenson and his inspiring work to bring schools to the poorest regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan. While I have no such grandiose ideas for this blog, I do intend to continue to share what I learn and give hope to 60 and single women that life can be good... with or without money, with or without a partner. And as is my habit with blog postings, I'm including a link to something interesting. If you want to to find out more about "Three Cups of Tea" and Greg Mortenson's Central Asia Institute, click here.
Cheers,
Julia

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