The gift of 70

Thoughts to Ponder – February 22, 2016

 “The hardest years in life are those between 10 and 70.”

Helen Hayes*

That is, indeed, good news, something I needed to hear on dark, cold February morning. A few days ago I turned 70, the culmination of a 69 year roller coaster ride. The past several weeks have been a period of reflection, looking at good times and bad and realizing that they were all just experiences that made me who I am today.

While birthdays brought just a continuation of the year before, decades were a little different. For instance, on my 20th birthday I was married, expecting a baby and looking forward to turning 21 so I could vote. By the time my 40th came along my children had all left home. I was single and starting to think about attending college. Then one day I was 60 and life had changed dramatically. I was retired, but still working and living near my daughters, their husbands and almost adult grandchildren.

Now, at 70 a new chapter is beginning. I’m not sure what that means. I’m still working, enjoying play dates with four great-grandsons and still hoping to write the great American novel. While my current job cushions the limitations of Social Security, more importantly it provides valuable social interaction and is FUN.

When I was younger a job was where I survived eight hours a day to feed the children and later myself. Age brings knowledge that I was the source of most of that discontent. I was much too concerned with what others thought of me. What I thought they thought of me is a more accurate statement.

Another thing I’ve learned is that I now have something important to say and I’m saying it in these occasional blogs. I’ve also learned there are times and places to keep my thoughts to myself. I allow my daughters to take care of me in little ways. They go to doctor appointments with me to take notes and ask questions that I forget. They advise me about this and that and check to be sure my refrigerator is full. Rather than considering that nosiness, I look at it as caring that I’m eating properly.

Who knows what this decade will bring? From this view point I see many more play dates with the great-grandchildren, continuing to work at a fun job and riding my bicycle around the neighborhood. I don’t have the strength and energy I used to have and I miss them. But their lack has been replaced by a life view that is a little more patient with my shortcomings – and those of others. What other people do is not so important anymore.

How I spend my days is much more important. Did I do something fun today? Did I feel grateful? Did I think kind thoughts of someone? Did I eat something just because it tastes good? Did I take a nap because I wanted to? Did I do something useful?


Thank you for seventy years of learning and more years to enjoy what I’ve learned. Thank you for being patient while I struggled to learn what is important. Thank you for a future to practice what has taken me so long to learn.

And, so it is.

*Hayes, Helen, from Treasury of Women’s Quotations by Carolyn Warner, Prentiss Hall

© by Sharon D. Dillon, February 22, 2016

Sharon D. Dillon,, “Laugh your way to peace, love and joy”

Chesapeake Bay Writers, Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, Southern Humorists, National Society of Newspaper Columnists

Author of “Twins! Oh no!,” one of 14 stories in The Book of Mom: Reflections of Motherhood with Love, Hope and Faith, published by Available in print and e-format at


18 thoughts on “The gift of 70

    1. Mine always had to pick up the slack when I was working and they were in high school. Then they all joined the military right after high school and matured FAST. Their in-laws passed at an early age, so I’m the only grand left. And, they know the Bank of Mom was never an option. I guess all that combined makes a different story.

  1. Happy Birthday Sharon! I love how you let your kids take care of you some. My mom still has a hard time letting me do anything for her besides mow the yard. The only reason she does that is because she can’t pull the cord to start it. See you next month!

  2. Dear Sharon,

    Good piece with a clever opening. It is well done.


    Jack Lott

    Minor edits: line 1 add, after “on”, “a”. Line 2: hyphenate “69-year”.

  3. Happy Happy Birthday !!! As the Calendar changes we have 2 choices, Notice the years going by or Ignore them… 70 is a milestone to mark for sure. because now you can act any age you want and get away with it! See you at the playground! 🙂

  4. Sharon, although still in the 60 decade, I really enjoyed your blog. It brings out many good points about stopping to enjoy life and being grateful for what we have. Every year I see my perspective changing slightly, for the better I hope, shedding resentments and bitterness and taking the value from lessons learned. Thank you for providing today’s reflection.

    1. Thank you, Joanne. You are right. I just didn’t wake up with this awareness on my 70th birthday. The birthday just brought it into perspective. You’re on the right track. Keep learning and changing.

  5. I’m not quite at the 70 mark, but your note rings true – the perspective of time makes all those narrow closeups about which I once worried pale into insignificance.

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