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17 Things I Embraced by 60

How and why I kicked the bucket list to the curb

En español | Sliding into 60, I realized that not a single "bucket list" out there squared with my crazy-quilt life. Aspirational accomplishments don't move me, but the minor joys and victories I've managed to notch so far sure do. So here are 17 things I'd embraced with gusto by my 60th birthday. (What are some of yours?)

Woman putting on makeup in side mirror. Things to Embrace at 60.

Accepting your age and your body are two things that may come along with turning 60. — PhotoAlto/Alamy

1. A 'friend with benefits'

So my libido's supposed to be waning? Try telling that to my new "friend with benefits" — a wonderful man I've known for more than 40 years. His on-off second divorce keeps us from being a couple at this point in our lives, but our coupling is caring and satisfying. Not bad for our combined age of 125!

2. Dancing

Sometimes you just have to get up and shake your booty. Do it alone or with a partner, in public or in private, as if no one's watching or it's your Dancing With the Stars audition. If you're at home, try it naked!

3. A daily laugh

When I get to the end of a day where nothing's made me laugh — a rare event — I'll watch myself dance naked in the mirror. That usually does the trick.

4. My schnoz

I was teased mercilessly about it when I was growing up. As an adult, I had a boyfriend who told me I'd be pretty if I got my nose fixed. (I wanted to have him fixed instead.) A year ago, after removing a cancerous lesion, my surgeon warned me my nose might never be the same. To everyone's amazement, it grew back without a visible scar. Now I love it — size, bump and all!

5. My body

I learned body acceptance after my husband introduced me to naturist resorts. Sure, I saw some hardbodies there, but most of the bodies were dumpy, scarred, jiggly, wrinkly or creased. These days I like what I see of myself — including, so far, all the original parts.

6. My age

The only good reason to lie about your age is to sneak into a club — something I haven't done in a good four decades. Now I'm 62; if you have a problem with that, you may also have a case of undiagnosed ageism.

7. My wardrobe

No red hats, sensible shoes or form-hiding tops, thanks. If I have it, I'll flaunt it. As for that Old Navy sequined tank, in my defense it was on sale for $8.50. (And I must say I fill it out nicely: New Year's Eve, here I come!)

8. My ability to love again

My husband broke my heart when he died suddenly in 2004, but at least he didn't do it on purpose. Not so the cad I fell in love with a few years later: After asking me to marry him, he abruptly pulled the plug. Painful? Yes, but it taught me I still have a functioning heart, bruised and callused though it may be.

9. Solo travel

A traveling companion can be an asset or a liability. I learned that during a junior year abroad in Ireland in the early 1970s. Winging it alone, you set your own pace and collect your own memories.

10. Solo dining

The funniest things happen when you eat alone. I returned to Dublin a few years ago for my 60th birthday — a post-bad-breakup gift to myself (see "cad," above). In the hotel dining room my first night, the maître d' seated a younger woman at the table next to mine. Her accent betrayed her — Brooklyn, it turned out — and we started chatting. She was on a business trip; when I mentioned the reason for my own trip, she blurted out, "My girlfriend just dumped me!" Over coffee and dessert, we commiserated that jerks come in all genders.

Next page: A side of me that people don't know. »

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