Turning 60 During a Pandemic

Last week, I experienced turning 60 during a pandemic.

Maybe in different times, I would be upset by the fact that most my life is over. However, in the midst of the pandemic and civil unrest, this landmark birthday seems like a minor thing.

turning 60 during a pandemic

You’re never too old to dance!

Instead, this turning point in my life seems like the perfect time to reflect and count my blessings. As they say, not everyone gets to be 60 and for that I am thankful. Because I’m older, I know there are simple reasons to appreciate each day of life – even during this COVID outbreak.

Like what, you ask?

After a record-breaking summer of heat with 146 days of 100-plus temperatures this year, fall finally arrived in the California desert where I live. Last week, my husband and I sat outside on our courtyard. Mars shone brightly above us. We enjoyed a barbecued steak dinner and listened to romantic music.

These are the things that bring me joy.

Because of the pandemic, I pretty much missed my youngest grandchild, Paige’s second year of life. She thinks I live in a phone. Last week, we called my youngest son, Christopher, and his wife, Johnni, and I sounded upset. Paige grabbed the phone and looked at me with her big  blue eyes and asked, “What happened, Grandma?” She looked at me seriously, like she was eager to listen, and really cared. And she’s two. My heart swelled.

These are the things that bring me joy.

Throughout this pandemic, my friends have dropped off small homemade gifts, sent flowers and cards, and provided much needed support and love. My family lives across the street and always have a listening ear, willing to help me in any way. My other grandchildren live with me along with my oldest son, Jonathan, so thankfully I’m not deprived of their company during this pandemic. My 9-year-old granddaughter, River, proudly showed me how she’s learning to skate with her new teal roller skates and matching helmet. She described how she can only wear clothes that match. My 11-year-old grandson, Rowan, couldn’t wait to show me his tomato plants and a playground he built for his two parakeets created out of sticks and other homemade materials.

These are the things that bring me joy.

So, this is the thing. Once you stop focusing on the fact that life is passing by faster than you ever imagined and lamenting those extra wrinkles – you can find many reasons to be happy you’re 60 years old. Although this has been a difficult year in many ways, I search for ways to stay calm, trust in God, and focus on the positive.

After all, at 60, I know what matters. I fully realize the importance of my spiritual needs, relationships, my health, and being compassionate. I have weathered storms and know that I’ll survive. I appreciate a good laugh. I understand my priorities. I am more confident and feel comfortable in my own skin. I actually wasn’t born yesterday and have gained some invaluable wisdom along the way.

Besides, turning 60 is sorta liberating.

Last week, I was sitting in my courtyard with classic 60s music blaring in my earbuds. Let’s face it, I was rocking out – I mean full on with arms swinging above my head – with my eyes closed. Okay, so maybe I had a glass of wine and, by the way, I really like to dance. Suddenly, I heard a noise at the gate and opened my eyes. It was the UPS man delivering a package with a huge grin on his face.

In my younger years, I would have died of embarrassment. But you know what? I didn’t even care. He left the package and I closed my eyes and rocked on.

That’s the beauty of being 60.




Julie A. Gorges is the author of two young adult novels, Just Call Me Goody Two Shoes and Time to Cast Away and co-author of Residential Steel Design and Construction published by McGraw Hill. In addition, hundreds of her articles and short stories have been published in national and regional magazines, and she received three journalism awards from the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association while working as a newspaper reporter. Julie currently lives in southern California with her husband, Scott, and has two grown children and three grandchildren.

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12 Responses

  1. Barry Silverstein says:

    Congrats on turning 60. You are younger than ever — and as always, great observations!

  2. James Milson says:

    Happy 60th! Life’s joys are truly found in the simple, little things. Best wishes to you and your loved ones as we all go thru this very odd year together!

    • juliegorges says:

      Thanks, James. You are a great example of growing older with plenty of adversity and challenges during this pandemic, yet able to remain positive. So enjoy your uplifting blogs!

  3. Awe, I love this, Julie! You brought the biggest smile to my face reading this!

    I know exactly what you mean when you talk about the things that bring you joy. I’ve learned to stop and pay attention much more in my later years, but have done so much more these past several months.

    We never know what’s around the corner, do we? Enjoy every moment and cherish and love those around us, near and far.

    Oh and Julie, Rock On!!! ♪ 🙂 ♪

  4. Julie says:

    Beautiful – if the pandemic has taught us nothing else it is family and dancing and good food and watching the night sky that truly are the most important things – the things that bring us joy.

  5. Cat says:

    Your story has me teary-eyed here, Julie. Such a tribute to the power of family and love! If we can be surrounded by these things, the problems of the world (and Covid) are easier to face. Happy Covid 60th birthday -:D xxx

  6. Happy birthday Julie, congrats on reaching that awesome milestone. I’m only a couple of years away myself. Grateful here too, to have one of my sons , his wife and my grandson living here too. So we haven’t missed out but feel your anguish too as our other grandson was born this year and we too, have only seen him via video. I long to cuddle him. Keep rockin to that fabulous music.

    • juliegorges says:

      Thanks, Sandra. Our lives are so similar, even though we live on opposite ends of the earth! I feel your pain as a Grandma – that you have yet to see your new grandson. So hard! You’ll have lots of cuddling to catch up on when this is finally over. And yup, plan to keep rockin’!

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