The Seventh Decade

Kerry in her first decade

If you are 29, reading this and worried about your thirties, fear not – it gets much, much worse!  I suppose I should feel grateful that I have reached the 7th decade (60-69 years old).  Did you know that Greenland sharks may live for up to 500 years – isn’t that amazing?  I am not envious of them, however, as they spend most of their time at the bottom of a frozen sea with long periods of hibernation (similar to living in Scotland).  These last two years have allowed all of us to indulge in pointless navel gazing.  I have peered into my indifferent mirror that doesn’t even bother to tell me that “I am not the Fairest in the Land”.

Kerry in her second decade

As I pondered this subject, I thought about which decade I liked the most.  I loved being a teenager, blossoming at high school and then college.  The puppy fat disappeared and a pretty girl appeared.  One boyfriend commented that I looked much better without clothes on – not sure if that was a reference to my lack of style or a back handed compliment.  My body still looks pretty good if you are a myopic, older man in a room with dim candles.  He should also be a tad inebriated…  It’s funny and yet it’s not. 

Some of my older friends used to tell me to enjoy my 50s because it all changes after 60.  Shorts are not my friends anymore.  More exercise would help but that triggers my osteoarthritis.  I run to hug Teddy, all joints creaking, and then pull something because I moved too fast.  He creaks even more than me – it’s as though we have turned into Sequoias.  My skin tone has changed the most.  Why are my pores so large – aren’t deep wrinkles bad enough?  I was helped by a charming young man at Sephora as I was browsing skin care.  He said I really needed retinol…  At least the Israeli guys who try to sell you Dead Sea stuff at the mall, pretend you are gorgeous. 

Kerry in her third decade

Why am I so vain about ageing?  I come from a long line of relatives who look after themselves at all ages.  My aunt made sure she put on self-tanning lotion before her operation for breast cancer in her late 70s.  Recently, I had a revelatory moment about my age.  For almost 20 years I have had a reciprocal fondness for our gardener.  He always undercharges me and then I pay him more.  We have a small yard but we needed our oak trees trimmed.  If you employ an arborist to trim trees, it costs thousands of dollars.  He went up a ladder with a chain saw – good enough for me.

When he arrived, he caught me off-guard and I answered the door in my ratty old dressing gown, hair tousled unattractively with my glasses on. Even he looked embarrassed, so I ran and put some clothes on.  The job should have cost a few hundred dollars but he asked for $40.  It was a pity invoice.  I could almost hear him say “she used to be so attractive”.  Laughingly, I told one of my friends but inside I felt crushed.  Since then, I have dyed my hair blonde again, had it cut in a cute style and started wearing CLOTHES (sometimes they aren’t leggings). 

Kerry in her fourth decade

My twenties were a mixed bag – marriage to Teddy and moving house 6 times in 8 years.  Exciting and stressful.  My thirties were strange because although I finally achieved some professional plaudits for grant writing and project work, I was palpably anxious.  My forties were adventurous – we moved to two different continents in 2 years and landed in Texas.  By then I finally had my weight under control and had decent medication for my mental health.

Kerry in her fifth decade

My fifties were fantastic!!  I looked the best I had in decades, felt healthy, travelled solo to exotic locations and started a completely new career.  Had the pandemic not happened, I might have slipped into my 60s with little or no impact.  Work came to a standstill, as did the airport so I had no raison d’etre.  My husband was deeply unhappy at work and wanted to retire early which he did.  I thought we would hate each other with enforced cohabitation but we settled into a new rhythm with plenty of humor and silliness.

Kerry in her sixth decade

I should be #grateful or #blessed but I just feel annoyed.  I want to be 51 again but that’s not possible.  There are a couple of nice things about ageing.  Most people are very polite to me and younger ladies ask me for Mommy advice.  I no longer have to worry about sexy lingerie but Teddy will testify that I never did!  My one push up bra will last me forever and I need never buy Spanx or Skims.  I would pull a muscle if I tried to put them on – even Lycra stockings are the work of the devil.

The timbre of this post was intended to be humorous yet poignant.  Many of us feel a bit hopeless in the wake of war and pestilence.  I am certain that we all aged mentally and physically through the pandemic no matter our biological age or infectious status.  As someone who struggles with mental illness, I know that it really is possible to take one day at a time and move forward.  I don’t have as many happy days as I used to but that is improving with increased interaction without masks.  Long may it last.

Kerry in her seventh decade

67 thoughts on “The Seventh Decade

  1. I recognize some of the things you mentioned in your story of six decades! The changes we undergo in terms of our hair, attitude, careers, appearance and mental status is simply amazing. But those large pores that suddenly appeared one day I don’t like and was shocked to find out that to address them involved skin regeneration. Here I was thinking I just needed a better scrub or exfoliant!
    Keep wearing shorts and enjoying retirement. There is so much to be grateful for and the war in Ukraine reminds us of that every day!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I’ll put my hand up for going back to my mid-fifties. I love this post and loved seeing all you changes and laughed with you. I still wear what I want and look at some blokes my age and wonder what happened to their sense of style – if they ever had any. You know Winter is coming here when you see the blokes with socks and sandals, one of the best natural contraceptive things in this world.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. What a great post Kerry, that must have taken some deep reflection. As always you write with honesty without trying to project a more perfect person. And the photos are fab. If it’s any comfort I have found my seventh decade the best by far so I’ll (hopefully) soon slip into the eighth without too much trepidation.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. The lovely parade of aging. Im 59. Later last year i got my first white hair in my eyebrow. I thought ivwas going to die. Out came the tweezers. Vanity is thy name. They kept appearing and noe there is a nice balance with my hair. I was told it looks sexy. I think she wanted a favor. Nice age snapshot of your decades. I love the pic or first pic of you sitting on a foot stool. Total debutante.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. When I think about the process of aging, I find myself thinking about the quote from the tv series MASH. Dr. Sidney Freeman visits and offers his advice: “Ladies and gentlemen, take my advice: Pull down your pants and slide on the ice!” There’s good and bad, enjoy it while you can. Interesting blog!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Dear Kerry,
    You completely succeeded in making your post humorous and poignant. I laughed a few times, and at others I felt sorry for your agony. I think our society puts far too much emphasis on appearances, and as girls and women we are particularly prone to linking our self-esteem to our looks. I think that’s wrong.
    I know from experience that it doesn’t help if someone pays me a compliment when I don’t believe it myself, so I won’t say that I think you have aged very well (😊), but I just hope you are happy and at peace with unique and special you.
    All the best,
    Tanja

    Liked by 2 people

    • That was such a thoughtful comment – thank you, Tanja. My mother was a narcissistic model with very high expectations for her child. I think I moved past that when I lived in a modest, self effacing part of Scotland. Then we moved to our township in Texas which is full of younger trophy wives with a plastic surgeon on every corner. I went to a charity dinner for Breast Cancer once and the raffle prize was Botox. Nobody seemed to realize how terribly offensive that was. I am still a work in progress…as are we all.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Did you just have a birthday Kerry? I think you are a fellow Aries.
    I love the humor in this post, it hits close to home. I just had a birthday and it was not a happy event. I see more and more the years on my face and body, and it is not a good sight.
    I think you look amazing and with each decade you look better and better. You are wiser and more beautiful! No kidding, the last 2 pictures are gorgeous!
    I laughed at the anecdote about your gardener. It reminded me of my mother. She always asks for a discount from her gardener, then when he is done she pays him twice as much the original price.
    Blessings!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. This post could not have hit closer to home than with me. I’m 42 and have had no problems growing up, but lately I have been in a reflective period. Thanks for sharing, I enjoyed your glimpse through the eras.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much, Madison. A writer could not have a greater compliment than to know that their work has touched someone else. I think no matter what decade I was reaching through the Pandemic, it would have affected me. My fifties were my best, though, so look forward!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh good because my fourties have been kind of a bust, so I’ll make sure my fifties are my thing! Thank you, you’re adorable and what an amazing and nostalgic post!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I think her favorite era was her 40s when she had me, 14 years old, visiting her single apartment in London. There was a groovy party and she considered selling me to a Libyan sheik – I wasn’t sure if she was serious… Then she married for the first time!

        Like

  9. Kerry another great blog. As i have had grey hairs since I was 17 they have never worried me but I decided to stop all the hair dyeing 15 years ago and used the money i saved on craf supplies. i would agree with you that there arre not many people who have not been affected by either the pandemic or the threat of war, the threat of war which is real in so many parts of this world. Keep doing what ever makes you happy.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Noilin. It is lovely to hear from you. I started to go gray in my 20s and have been coloring ever since. My gray hair is not attractive…😊
      We all look better when we are happy, so enjoy your crafting!

      Like

  10. We do change as we age, don’t we? And in some very good ways, too. Here’s to a wonderful seventh decade! And I do hope that we can leave at least some of the problems of the pandemic behind us, where they belong.

    Liked by 2 people

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