Next Avenue Logo

So This Is 70

Self-care, family connections, meaningful work and pursuing my passions all help me set a course through this decade

By Linda Goor Nanos

When I turned 60, I thought it was the new 50. My mother was turning 90 and we celebrated together with a 60-90 party. I felt fit, I was at the peak of my career, and my brother asked me what hair color to look for when he picked me up at the airport.

A person smiling in front of a birthday cake. Next Avenue, turning 70
Linda Nanos on her 70th birthday  |  Credit: Courtesy of Linda Nanos

In our sixties, my husband and I agreed that sixty-something didn't feel old, but seventy would.

Ten years later (a decade sounds longer), 70 doesn't feel like the new anything. I admit part of my mindset was pre-programmed. In our sixties, my husband and I agreed that sixty-something didn't feel old, but seventy would. I told my landlord that my office lease would only go up to my 70th birthday, because I would not have a commercial lease after that; he customized the terms.

This is not all subjective perspective. For most of my childhood, the life expectancy of an adult hovered around 72. I turned seventy-two, defying both my 1950's concepts of aging and the Who's song "My Generation" where Roger Daltrey famously sang that he hoped to die before he grew old. Whether subjective or objective, there are significant life passages that can't be ignored.

The Role of Family Matriarch

I ascended to the role of family matriarch when my mother passed away six years after we celebrated our 60-90 birthdays. She was the last of her generation and left large shoes to fill. I miss her and all the elders. In the later years of my parents' lives, I had a caregiving role. When they were gone, and my son and daughter were living their own independent lives, I felt a void I needed to fill.

As if hearing my call, my role as matriarch expanded when I had three grandchildren within a three-year span. My husband and I babysit our granddaughter who lives nearby and maintain a close relationship with her. We spend as much time as we can with our grandsons who live out-of-state, whether by flying to them or having them at our home. Staying on top of the grandchildren's milestones is my new focus.

Continuing to maintain my health and be my own caregiver is critical. On airplanes, the instruction is to put on your oxygen mask first. Only in this way can you be of help to those who depend upon you. The need to maintain my own health is not only to be able to be an active part of my grandchildren's lives, but also to be independent and not a burden on my son's and daughter's busy lives.

Health and Wellness

I always prided myself in not relying on pharmaceuticals, although I took herbs and vitamin supplements. My health has been challenged and I accepted heart medication in my daily regimen. I begin each day with a stretching routine based on the years of yoga practice, to which I added Kegel contractions for organ prolapse and breathing exercises for lung capacity.

Two people doing yoga. Next Avenue, turning 70
Linda Nanos and her grandchild doing yoga together  |  Credit: Courtesy of Linda Nanos

I barely passed a respiratory function test following a debilitating bout with bronchitis. I had dark moments with both heart and lungs on the fritz, but I finish my morning routine with affirmations of gratitude and express how I want my life to unfold: with ease. I've stepped up my holistic approach to health with homemade pear sauce served at breakfast, cooked with generous amounts of cardamom and cinnamon, for their health benefits to my heart and lungs.

With physical upkeep taking a more central role, it dovetails with the sale of my professional practice. I work part-time for the new owner which allows me to arrive at 11:00 and have a leisurely start in the morning. It's healthy for me to get up and go to a job because I've worked my entire life, you might even say I was a workaholic, but now I'm working half the hours, and have no overhead responsibilities. It's so much more enjoyable with less pressure. Reduced tension is a key to preserving health at any stage of life, especially as I advance in age.


Central to keeping a positive outlook is devoting more time to passions: mine are writing, birdwatching and reading. Everyone must find their passion. It can be a hobby, or cooking, or pickleball, but there has to be something that calls to you each day to get out of bed.

I jump start my morning with a cup of coffee and watching the birds peck away at the feeders I fill. My evenings generally include writing articles and working on a book. I always have my next book club selection at my bedside to read.

Keeping up with extended family ties is another source of satisfaction. I send birthday greetings to nieces and nephews and their children. The children receive a token holiday gift from me. Most of them live in different states. Text chains, Wordle group, and Facebook are other ways I stay connected.  My brother and I live nearly 3,000 miles apart, but I made the trek to visit him as a birthday present to myself.

I'm more comfortable than I thought I would be as a white-haired grandmother.

My brother didn't have to ask what color hair to look for when he picked me up at the airport because it's now snow white. That change came about because of the COVID pandemic. While isolated in quarantine, I let my dyed hair grow out. I went through an awkward two-tone stage, but it's a relief to not be spending so much time and money in a salon tending to high-maintenance hair.

I'm more comfortable than I thought I would be as a white-haired grandmother. My physique has changed with age and I'm thankful for a clothing line for mature shapes and for Spandex. My doctor has a relaxed attitude about weight, so long as my numbers are within a normal range.  Admittedly, I have more work to do in this area but there should always be goals to attain.

Taking in the totality of 70, it may not be the new 60, but I'm all right with seventy for what it is: self-care, connection with family, meaningful work, and pursuit of passions. I'm laying the course for my passage through this decade.

Linda Goor Nanos
Linda Goor Nanos is a practicing attorney, author, wife, mother and grandmother. Her writing credits include a memoir "Forty Years of PMS," professional articles and published essays on life lessons. Read More
Next Avenue LogoMeeting the needs and unleashing the potential of older Americans through media
©2024 Next AvenuePrivacy PolicyTerms of Use
A nonprofit journalism website produced by:
TPT Logo