I remember when Gloria Steinem, founder of Ms. Magazine, turned 60. It was March of 1994, and I was 8 months pregnant with my second daughter. I recall how young Gloria looked to me.
One of Gloria’s most quoted lines was, “This is what 40 looks like,” in response to a reporter who told her she looked good, then 40. Ten years later, she poked fun at herself with a “This is what 50 looks like” benefit party for Ms. Magazine, and then last year, was involved in a “This is what 80 looks like” benefit for the Shalom Center in Philadelphia.
Now 81, Gloria Steinem is still helping to redefine what age means.
I was lucky enough to have the chance to meet her last month at a luncheon, and I knew exactly what I was going to say. When I saw Gloria enter the room, I rushed up and shared my story with her. I recounted my memories of her turning 60 and her off-the-cuff comment to the reporter in her 40s.
…Because last month, I turned 60. Wow. I said it publicly. It was kind of hard at first, but I’ve gotten used to it. I told Gloria that she was my inspiration for turning 60. Breaking new ground. Looking and feeling younger than when our parents turned 60.
Each year as I celebrate my birthday, I reflect on the year I just completed, then look forward. Honestly, turning 60 has been the hardest and most insightful birthday. I’ve had a few revelations and lessons that I want to share:
- Your first 60 years are driven by your brain. Your second 60 years are driven by your heart. Listen to your heart. Speak your mind.
- The joy in growing older is that your children also grow older. And they grow into incredible adults. Enjoy them.
- Stop being friendly with people who are not really your friends. You know who your real friends are. Keep them close.
- Every day is a gift with your parents (or surrogate parents). Treat them as a present, savor every moment, and celebrate with them.
- Look at your bucket list. Is it growing? Are you crossing things off? Time to work on that.
- Work smarter not harder. The rat race doesn’t always need more rats.
- The optimum number of hours of sleep each night is 7 1/2. You can do it.
- Breathe in. Breathe out. Meditate. Enjoy. Repeat.
So, as you make another trip around the sun this year, I hope you will reflect as I have. It’s kind of fun.
And this is what 60, 81, and 92 look like! Pretty impressive I would say.