The Excitement of Birthdays and the Fear of Change

Today is my birthday and I am gonna’ have a good time! (can you hear the music). I am the ripe age of 66, which has had me thinking what is ahead on Route 66 with some trepidation.

I did not expect to feel this good at age 66.  I do not feel old at all and am pleasantly surprised by that.  Definitely over 50 and feeling good.  But, sometimes I think it is also beneficial to look at the reality of being 66.  Things will probably need to change soon. We love our home, but lately the repairs are more draining and the yard work more difficult.  My husband and I are having discussions about the future that I was not ready to have yet…but the reality of being 66 means those discussions must happen.  It is past time to weed belongings out, and past time to think about what we want our lives over 60, 70, and beyond to look like.

We are both still working and that will not change for a while…which is fine by me, but we must discuss what life looks like when one or both of us cease to work.  I hate those discussions.  I prefer to sjng “Que será, será!”   Not exactly prudent thinking. This past week I walked through our home often with tears in my eyes pondering what it would be like to not be here.   However, each day has been a little easier as I think about it and this decision is not going to be made tomorrow (I don’t think so, anyway).  While the future holds some fear with it, there is also a little bit of excitement to know change can also come with fun and new adventures…though they would be very different.

So, for today, I will celebrate with family and eat ice cream cake (my favorite) and go one more day not pondering the future.   My sweet friends from the gym brought me home grown veggies and this card…I had to laugh…veggies are what you get when you turn 66!  But, I say this with all honesty, home grown veggies are the best!  I am not complaining…just laughing. The card does speak truth!  They also brought me the awesome balloons.  Thanks to women who encourage other women to walk this walk in healthy and joyful ways.

If anyone would like to share advice of how you have walked through changing lifestyles as you age, please share.  And, know, that no matter how difficult these changes get, I now that God is with me and I plan to always




  1. Pam, HAPPY BIRTHDAY! You look great and feeling great is even more important! Have a wonderful day and enjoy yourself. My husband turned 66 this past week as well and is contemplating working 4 days a week just because of the commute. He says his reflexes are not as sharp now that he is 66, what an excuse. Have a great day, Betty

  2. Good morning Pam. Happy, happy Birthday to you! I wish you another (and more) great year of health, fitness, beauty, and fun! It looks like you’ve found your niche…..!
    Have a wonderful day! Eat cake!

  3. Happy birthday! You look great. You are only as old as you feel. I’m 56 and husband 57 and we are beginning to have those same conversations. It can be overwhelming.

  4. Happy Birthday, Pam. I can totally relate to what you’re saying about change. I celebrated my 67th birthday last Monday— on the road! My new husband and I had decided to leave California for Tennessee. Was it tough to leave my home? Yes, it was. It was tough to let go of a lot of possessions so we could move with peace of mind. It was especially tough knowing that I was leaving behind good friends, my daughter and granddaughters and my son. But change is also full of promise. We are looking forward to a new home in a beautiful woody area, new adventures and new friends. We are both retired and loving it!

  5. A very Happy Birthday to you Pam. You look amazing in that picture and are redefining what over 60 looks like. As for the house thing, I feel your anxiety. There are days when we think we should go and then I think of all the changes we have made to love the place for the future. It is not a decision we can make hastily. The health challenges might speed the decision along sooner. You are fit and still working so hope that works to keep you happy there for years to come. Have a really great day!

  6. Happy Birthday! We sifted through our house last year and moved for the first time in 30 years to a one story house, closer to my daughter. Not easy, but do-able. I found out starting over, was not so bad. In fact, it gave us a sense of energy and renewal. Not easy, by any means—but definitely do-able!!! Go for it now, while you feel good and can do it independently. If you wait too long, it might need to be done for you. (We are in our sixties also)

  7. I turned 66 in February. We knew we wanted to move this summer, so we started decluttering and just plain getting rid of stuff a year ago. I found it much easier to let go of “stuff” than I ever have before. My husband is retired military so we have made many moves, but this one was very different. The closer it came to the move the easier it was to let go of stuff. I realized that it was dragging me down and making my life more difficult. Now that we are in our new house, I wish I had let go of even more stuff and have loaded four more boxes to take to Goodwill as we have unpacked. Think toward the future and what you want in your life; that made it easier for me. Also, things happen that are not planned that can necessitate immediate changes. My husband retired six weeks earlier than planned due to a bad infection with MRSA that took months to recover from. He does not have the stamina or energy that he had before. That has been hard for me to get used to. I guess my point is life changes and we have to be willing to change. That “que sera sera” attitude isn’t a bad one, if you do a bit of planning, too. Happy Birthday and may you enjoy many more!

  8. Happy Birthday! You are looking fabulous!
    No worries about retirement it will be great.
    I made a budget plan and was surprised how easy it is to keep. Downsizing is one option but remember when you are retired you have every day to get things done not just a 2 day weekend. Thats the hardest part of retirement learning that you have everyday. Enjoy your day and future retirement.

  9. Happy Birthday Pam! May the year ahead bring you all you wish for? We made the decision to sell our home 6 years ago. We then rented it back from the new owners for one year while we waited for the apartment we wanted to become available. The decision was made as I could not keep up when my husband’s depression reared it’s head. It is a very debilitating illness and hard on everyone. We live in a spacious two bedroom across from a large sports park with views of Lake Ontario. I must say it felt good to downsize “stuff”. I sometimes miss the house and my garden, But not the work and upkeep (shoveling snow). Container gardening for me now and lock the door for a spontaneous trip. You will know when the time is right to go.

  10. Happy birthday! I love what you are wearing, especially the white blouse. Would you mind sharing information about those pieces? Thank you. And, enjoy your birthday!

  11. Wow, Pam, you are so precious and upbeat. Every single morning you bring me joy. I’m putting off thinking about aging because it would make me feel older and like my sparkle might be dimming! Hubby and I will probably stay put to have the home our kids remember, but we don’t discuss retirement. Hope your birthday is super fun!

  12. Happy sweet 66! I just lost my sister at 56….so I am going with the motto of every year is a blessing. You look great & feel great, 66 is the new 56 – let’s celebrate youth!

  13. Last year, at 67, I retired, sold our home in NY and moved to the desert of California. Epic year for us! We did it to be closer to our children & grandchildren who all call the west coast home. The year before the move we started getting rid of things, weeding through dishes & all sorts of accumulated possessions of 30 plus years. This year as I turn 68 I can honestly say I feel lighter & less concerned about the future. Hubs and I are staying way more active & social, relieved not to be burdened with home repairs. My biggest issue is trimming my wardrobe from a professional clothes to a casual lifestyle. Thank you for all your inspiration! Took your advice about thrift store shopping & have made some great purchases! I told my children this mega clean up was my gift to them; they will never need to empty out all my collections!

  14. Pam, you look wonderful and have such a joyous spirit. I’m one of the few that has not commented on your haircut. It is a game-changer. You look younger and more energetic! I turned 65 in June and my husband will be 65 in September. We are both retired. Life is much slower, of course. I wish you a happy birthday today and whatever unfolds in the years ahead you will be fine because you will keep smiling!

  15. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Pam! You are an inspiration to women of all ages, but especially to our “over 50” crowd. Thanks for sharing your story with us and for your transparency. You are beautiful, encouraging, elegant, and kind…just to name a few of your many attributes. God bless you!

  16. Thanks so much for sharing, Kathy and Happy belated birthday to you! I love how you wrote…change is full of promise!

  17. It is nice to hear you say it provided energy and renewal! This is such an encouraging discussion today. I appreciate it so much, Beverly!

  18. Your encouragement is very much appreciated, Phyllis. Thank you for sharing and I hope your husband continues to improve and fee better.

  19. Happy birthday! Our downsizing was spurred by the fact that both sets of our beloved parents did not face their future well, and it left us with a lot of work at the end. We didn’t want to do that to our only child, so we began getting rid of things at our yearly neighborhood garage sales, even though we didn’t move. Getting rid of the basement and attic clutter makes a possible move seem less overwhelming, and in fact does make it more physically doable. When our son left home, we helped him search for a condo, and ended up purchasing one for ourselves. We moved on the same day! (The excitement helped with empty nest syndrome too). We absolutely love condo living. We stay happy and active, but with walks, gym, yoga classes, and pool, not chores. We are still working full time as teachers (my husband is 66, I am almost 63). We plan to travel more, and it’s been a lot of fun to plan trips knowing we just shut the door and go. We did make sure we had 2 full bathrooms, which has helped keep things feeling a little more spacious, as each of us has this most intimate of spaces to ourselves. We also made sure we had an elevator and underground parking, so that this could be our last move and hopefully, we could easily age in place. Then when we redecorated/remodeled, we bought exactly what we wanted, planning to be here a long time. With a smaller space, you don’t have acres of counter space, etc, so you can have very luxe finishes. Anyone who has made it to our age knows that change is not only possible, but can be liberating as well.

  20. Interesting timing for this blog. I, too, turned 66 this year. We just moved last Monday after 19 years in a four level 2100 sf house that we loved to a 1600 sf single level penthouse. We had been talking for some time about our next chapter and knew what we wanted. The decision may seem impulsive to some as we saw the newly listed penthouse on a Monday, made an offer on Tuesday, entered escrow on Wednesday and listed our house on Thursday. We crammed the dejunking, downsizing, packing activities into a few weeks. We are exhausted, but ecstatic over the change in address, but more importantly, in lifestyle. We have found it a freeing, energizing experience. Good luck to you!

  21. Linda! Thank you so much for sharing all of this. This conversation has been the best birthday gift!

  22. Wow Terry….I do not believe in coincidences, and I appreciate you sharing all of this. Freeing and energizing are the attractive words here!

  23. I plan to keep smiling…no matter what. Thanks for the kudos on the haircut!

  24. Thanks Linda! This conversation has made me think about what it would do to my children to leave them the mess. I appreciate you guys bringing it up! Thanks for sharing.

  25. Every day is a gift and a blessing. You are so right, Terri. I am so sorry about the loss of your sister at such a young age.

  26. Thanks Laura. We are needing to have the hard conversations, but I think it will be good.

  27. This is an old outfit…but I do think the top is still available. It is an Artist Smock top by Planet. It originally was found at a sight called Artful Home. I have these 7Mankind printed jeans for several years…still love them. Thanks Terry.

  28. Thanks Ann…I appreciate you sharing and reminding me that we will know the time. I think becoming aware of the reality has been an important step.

  29. Retirement is way in the future for me. I think all of this preparation will be over time…but who knows! Thanks so much Cathy.

  30. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! And remember, birthday cake has no calories! I can understand the need to look ahead. I am 72, and part of aging is to accept that things are different. Still great, but different. I started “purging” a few years ago, only keeping things I really loved. It’s not only freeing but it also makes the house much easier to keep up. One of the things I really appreciate is an laundry room off the kitchen.

  31. There is nothing that will happen to you that you can’t handle. I worried too about getting older but it’s amazing how little actually changes as long as you have your health.
    We do age I suppose but my friends and family age along with me so no one seems to notice.
    We downsized our belongings a few years ago and it was the wisest thing we did. Try to make everything easy for yourself. Get rid of everything you don’t love or need.
    Have interest outside your job because when you do decide to quit, you will need that. Speaking from 77 and still going strong. No one has put an expiration date on my toe yet.

  32. Thanks so much Eve…my blog has provided that for me for nine years! That is good advice.

  33. Happy Birthday! I retired 4 months before my 67th birthday. That was 7 years ago! A year after I retired, my husband was diagnosed with dementia, which led to a lot of changes! I’m still in my home and have been able to make some changes that make me very happy. My husband is in an assisted living facility and he feels in control because he has his own space. I keep busy with DIY projects at home plus volunteering at my church. I’m using my gifts and experience to serve on the board, coordinate weddings, decorate for the holidays, etc. One of my young friends tells me I’m the youngest 74-year-old she knows! My advice–celebrate the positive changes in your life. If you move, take joy in decorating your new space instead of mourning the loss of the old.

  34. Great advice, Nancy! I appreciate you sharing the difficulties you are walking through. You are an inspiration.

  35. Happy Birthday, Pam! May the year ahead bring you good health & much happiness.
    Your children will thank for having these difficult conversations & looking to the future. I have helped clean out three houses, so letting go of things is becoming easier for me.

  36. Happy birthday!! You look great today! I love the skinnier pants…very flattering on you. I am 64 and close behind you. I decided 5 months ago to go natural with my hair…got highlights to help with transition. I love being liberated and my white streaks in front. My husband just retired so we are contemplating much of what you are.

  37. Happy Birthday, Pam! Today is my husband’s birthday as well … so I’m pretty convinced this is a very special day.

    Ah … that talk … my husband is 6 years younger than me and fortunately we are both working full-time and plan to do so for a while (I just turned 61). No plans to retire soon, but that is fine with us!

    My husband lost his parents early, but I learned the reality of poor planning from my parents. It was difficult for myself and my siblings so my husband and I are trying our best to plan ahead.

    As always, thank you Pam. Your posts are always so inspirational and helpful!

    Have an awesome birthday!

  38. Happy birthday and thank you for your blog. All I can say is that it is important to plan for your finances well before you retire. As for your house and moving, you may decide to stay put with building modifications. Life has a way of throwing us for a loop and you can only plan so much, The main thing is to be active, enjoy your family and friends and keep on trucking.

  39. Wow Beth… we are so similar. Tell your husband Happy Birthday! I am five years older than my husband and also came from a family of poor planners!!

  40. Happy Birthday, Pam! I’m 66 too. At 60, I was diagnosed with an incurable cancer and since then, two more unrelated cancers. Thankfully, one has been eradicated and the other two are stable at the moment. I feel 100% healthy and I’m able to lead a pretty normal life. All this to say that I’ve had to learn not to think or plan too far into the future. I don’t share this to be a downer, but simply as a reminder to enjoy the present and not worry too much about the changes that the future might hold. God bless!

  41. Happiest of birthdays to you, Pam! You are inspiring. Thank you for your great blog and your support of this community!

  42. Hi Pamela. I’m a recent reader and need to say how much I’m enjoying your positive words. I recently turned 66 too, and need also say that we can never know enough or plan enough for this stage of our lives. My husband and I were perking along just great before his brain tumor was diagnosed and the last two years have been filled with a quick retirement, selling our home, moving to a better area for medical help and, now, appreciating and valuing better health and each other. All is well and good, but we sure didn’t see any of it coming!

  43. Happy (belated) birthday. Trust you enjoyed each minute. Snap! For feeling household/garden maintenance is becoming somewhat more challenging. My husband & I know we need to relocate to an easier house/garden. We’re shedding stuff with a 12 month plan to sell. Never an easy time, but better now than after spouses demise or incapacitation. I found turning 30, which is four & a bit decades ago, dreadful. Wonder why now…

  44. Happy Birthday!! Love your outfit today!
    Making changes & downsizing is scary. In our late 50’s, my husband & I made a huge change. We had a 4200 sq ft house on acreage. We sold it, along with all of our furniture & most of our possessions. We moved into a 400 sq ft RV!
    I have to say that it was a tough transition, even though we had been thinking about it & planning it for several years. But now, just a few short years later, I don’t miss those material things or the upkeep of our big house.
    I gave away my most treasured items to my daughter & other family members. These items bring joy to everyone who owns them & I can still visit my favorite items when I go to see family!
    So aging does bring change. But it can be very positive. Divesting yourself of some “stuff” brings home the point that the stuff doesn’t matter – people do.
    You may also feel much lighter when you don’t have as many things – I know I do.
    So I hope you have a wonderful new year & look forward to the interesting changes ahead!

  45. I am glad you have persevered through all that was given you. Thanks for a sobering reminder!

  46. Thanks for sharing, Cindy! I am ready to shed some stuff! No matter if we move or not!

  47. Belated Happy Birthday my friend! Exciting times ahead for you. De clutter every chance you get. It’s a very freeing exercise and makes life so much simpler. Xx

  48. Happy Birthday, Pam! I love this post and just read every single response as I am in the same place as you and so many others here. While my husband and I remain put for the time being, two years after his retirement, we are discussing what will come next….Our elderly fur-baby (there’s an oxymoron!) is mostly deaf and blind at almost 17 so we are staying put for her comfort for now. It is allowing us the time to get comfortable with the various scenarios we envision for the next phase. I also find a lot of comfort in hearing how others are handling this transition time as they illustrate that there are many successful ways to enjoy the next phase of life. Once again, I am reminded of how much information, comfort, joy and support can be found in this community you created and I am so thankful for it and you….have a great day and a wonderful year ahead…XXOO

  49. Happy birthday! My husband and I are 66 and hope to retire in a year. We plan on staying in our home as long as we are able to maintain it because we live in the same town as our two kids and seven grandkids. Due to the downturn in the economy twelve or so years ago, our home has no equity so are unable to sell it and downsize. We will keep it and will enjoy having family over to swim and spend time together. We will begin getting rid of excess stuff when we retire and have some time. Thank you for your blog!!!

  50. Hi ladies, just found this website and I so appreciated this post. I just turned 52, my husband 63. I can definitely sense the “times they are a changing,” both in my outlook and in wanting to ease the aging for myself and him. Retirement is a few years away, we have four children but only one at home. Regarding “shedding” I already began the process, as I figured doing it a little at a time would make it psychologically easier. We’re a little unique as this hasn’t been our lifelong home, so sentiment is only partial, we’ve been here 13 years. I think it’s a good habit to learn to let go of things, including objects, clothing or photos that remind us of times when maybe we weren’t at our best, you get my drift? Hugs to all.

  51. Hi Jenny, We are so happy to have you join in! Thanks for sharing…I think all of you have given me more courage to dive into the change! So here we go!
    Hope to see you back here.

  52. I will be 62 in September, am still working and will for several years to come. These are some sayings/cliches that have stayed with me, some through many years, some new:

    1. You’re never too old to become what you might have been.
    2. Beautiful young people are accidents of nature; beautiful old people are works of art.
    3. Do not regret growing old, it is a privilege denied to many.
    4. Today is the first day of the rest of your life.
    5. Age is a question of mind over matter; if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.

    Happy 66th Birthday, Pam!!!!

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