Coming To Grips With Your Age After 60

January 24, 2019 - 5:00 am
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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- Yes there is AARP, but seniors say it's sometimes hard to feel like you aren't invisible in 2019 America.

That's why Barbara Paskoff and Carol Pack wrote the amusing and informative book on aging, "Over-Sixty: Shades of Gray — A Journey Through Life’s Later Years," to help others come to grips with their age.

"The country is getting older, the demographic is getting older," Pack said.

For Paskoff, the issue is personal.

"When I would go into a waiting room, you would take up a magazine, you would look at the health, you would look at beauty tips, you would look at everything for people 50 and under. And boy was I annoyed. We are so underrepresented and there are 60 million of us, maybe more," said Paskoff.  "It bothers me, I feel invisible sometimes, I feel disposable because there is no respect for age in this country. I don't think the elderly are as revered as they should be."

But Pack doesn't put the blame on today's younger generation.

"The problem might be that we created the problem. Baby Boomers. When you think back, we revered youth so much when we were young. Think of the movie 'Logan's Run' when they killed off the population after age 29. We loved youth when we were youthful but now we created this stigma and we're all getting older and everybody's so focused on being youthful. Well, you could be just as wonderful as you were in your youth when you pass the age of 60."

The book is full of tips, including an essay on making those last purchases. Pack says one thing you don't think about until you're a certain age is when it's time to buy your last washer and dryer or trade in what may be your last vehicle.

"When I look at things, that's how I feel. I'm due for a new car, and every time I think about it I think, 'That's going to be the last car I ever buy.' And it's a scary feeling that you've reached that point in the road and yet according to actuarial tables, females usually live on average to the age of 84 so I've got a good 16 years ahead of me but you don't feel that way. You always wonder once you pass 65, you always wonder how much more time you have," said Pack.

In the book, Paskoff and Pack also muse about how they don't feel older, it's just their armor that's worn and rusting.

Pack said thank goodness that "you also get more accepting when you're older, you don't care quite as much what other people think of you, you don't care quite as much how you might say something because you lose a little bit of that, 'Oh, I always have to be right on point. I always have to be perfect.' You get more relaxed and I think in becoming more relaxed and accepting yourself more you're giving yourself a break."

Paskoff and Pack may not be wild about getting older, but when you think of the alternative they say it's time to shift gears, not slow down and try something new.

"I really hate it... I have always gone through it with humor and that really, really does help," Paskoff said. "I am always so aware that we all have an end date. I had a problem at 50, I had a problem at 60 and I had one big problem at 70. And here I am 74 and I cannot believe that this is my age."

"It's just having a mindset to want to learn new things, take new roads and do fun stuff. We wrote a book! We did it after the age of 65. It's not a time to slow down, it's a time to change direction and go somewhere new," Pack said.

Paskoff said writing the book was one of the best things she ever did.

"This was probably, in all the professions I've had, I have to say that this to me was the most gratifying. Number one working with Carol, writing what I know -- who better than two old broads to write about aging? And it gave me a new outlook, it really helped me kind of feel less anxious about age," she said.

The book is available in print, audio or e-book.