In addition to committing to 10,000 steps a day, taking multiple classes a week and following a healthy diet, my pre-70th birthday shape-up includes appointments with my dentist, doctor, financial advisor, spiritual teachers and… a reading from a master of the mystical sciences.
Through the social media magic of Facebook, I recently reconnected with a friend I had lost contact with close to 30 years ago. Ellen Goldberg is both a psychotherapist and a master of the mystic sciences of Palmistry, Tarot and Astrology. These ancient tools can show us the tendencies, challenges and gifts we were born with. Using them together, you can get a comprehensive picture of yourself and your current situation.
It had been decades since I had a full reading, and this summer seemed like the perfect time.
We’ve all heard the expression “It was written in the stars.” A person’s astrological chart is a reflection of what was written. “You were born to spread ideas. That’s what you do best,” says Ellen as she points to the 3rd House of my chart that has to do with Communications and is laden with planets. No wonder why I took to public relations like a duck to water. Could my lack of a mate and children have something to do with the fact that my 7th House, Relationships, is empty? Hmm?? So much of my life, including my independent nature and ability to manage money, made sense as Ellen explained other areas in my natal chart.”You were given a lot of free will in this life.” So true.
The lines in our hands are as unique as our fingerprints. A palmist looks at both of your hands. The non-dominant hand, in my case my left hand, shows the qualities you were born with and doesn’t change much over time. The lines of the dominant hand, in my case my right, can change as we make choices in our life.
“You’ve always been your own person – even when you were a little girl.” “Your lifeline and your headline have a very healthy separation. You’re an independent thinker.” I’m relieved to hear that my lifeline is long and strong. The round pink patch at the base of my palm below my pinky is called a ‘psychic blush’ and is an indication that I have a highly developed intuition, which accounts for my relying on gut reactions. My palm and my chart told parallel stories.
To complete my reading, Ellen brought out her Tarot cards. You ask the cards a general question. Mine was, “What should I know about my future?” After mixing the cards around, I chose ten and gave them to Ellen who arranged them on the table.
What was most significant was the card in the middle of the arrangement that represents the present. The Wheel of Fortune signifies positive changes. Yes!!! As I enter this next phase of my life, I am indeed ready for positive changes.
My mother told me that by the age of two, I was an expert at the Match Game. She would name one-half of a married couple, and I’d supply the name of the spouse. Marcie… and Murray. Evelyn… and Ira. Schendel… and Abram. Ruthie… and Manny. Corinne… and Aaron. Selma… and Nat. There was no fooling me. Ingrained at that very early age was the belief that adults lived their lives two-by-two.
Growing up, I thought a crucial element on the ‘to do’ list for my life was finding the Frick to my Frack, the Salt to my Pepper. It never occurred to me that I would live most of my life alone
When puberty hit I was at an all-girls junior high school, so there were no boys around; the search for Mr. Right was on hold. Though popular in high school and college, I was never one of the girls who had lots of boyfriends or dates.
Senior year in college, a crop of new engagement rings would appear on the fingers of friends after a holiday break. I hadn’t found my Mr. Right but I was sure he was out there somewhere. In the meantime, I’d go about the business of my life.
During my two years of service in the Peace Corps right after college, my focus was on my assignment, traveling, and learning about Filipino culture. I managed to find a couple of Mr. Wrongs that were fun to be with but offered nothing in terms of a future. Not to worry. I had time.
No pressure, right? Wrong! It would hit when I’d least expect it.
My parents came to see me while I was living in the Philippines. They spent two weeks visiting my assignment, meeting my friends and witnessing first hand how I had adjusted to life on the other side of the planet. We were saying our good-byes at the Manila airport when my mother leaned over and whispered to me, “I’m so proud that you’re doing so well as a PCV (Peace Corps Volunteer) but I can’t wait until you’re an MRS”. Would someone please shoot me!
Over the decades, there have been Mr.Wrongs, Mr. Okay for Nows and a Mr. Almost, who was in and out of my life for a dozen years. There was a time when I secretly suspected that the authors of the book Smart Women/Foolish Choices did their research while hiding in one of my closets.
I got used to being the third, fifth, seventh, etc. during gatherings as more and more of my single friends found Mr./Ms. Rights. My coffers would be in much better shape if I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard: “You’re not married? How could that be”? “I wish I knew someone I could introduce you to.” “You must want to stay single or you would have found someone.” “Do you think maybe you’re too fussy”?
My lack of a Mr. Right did not stop me from living a rich and full life. I was not one of those sleeping beauties who was waiting around for a prince to come before I started living.
Yet, here I am at nearly 70 thinking it would be nice to have a Mr. Right in my life, which is a pretty tall order for a woman who hasn’t had a date in ten years. But hey, I’m ever the optimist. In the spirit of ‘God helps those who help themselves’, I joined Match dot com where I’ve been resoundingly unsuccessful.
So, should you happen to know an age-appropriate, healthy, financially secure, single man with loving children and grandchildren (Why not go for the whole enchilada??) who is affectionate, kind and generous; whose politics are left of center and who possesses both a great sense of humor and of adventure – do me a favor – send him my way.
In designing the plan for my pre-70th birthday summer shape-up, I knew that I had to move more. I was becoming sedentary and isolated; I needed to nip those behaviors before they became more entrenched.
For years, I had followed the American Heart Association’s recommendation that everyone should aim for 10,000 steps a day for overall health and to decrease the risk of heart disease. This summer seemed like a good time to reintroduce the 10,000 Steps habit back in my life.
New York is a great walking city, and I’ve enjoyed logging steps in Central Park and along the Hudson River. But, I could do more than walk the streets of New York. Logging 10,000 steps a day was an opportunity to have mini adventures and reconnect with friends.
I did just that last week when I took the train to Poughkeepsie, New York and walked across the Hudson River.
The Walkway over the Hudson is the longest (1.28 miles), elevated pedestrian bridge in the world. Since opening as a state park in October 2009, millions of visitors have enjoyed the unparalleled views from this bridge that was built for freight trains after the Civil War.
Didi and I met years ago when I was starting out in public relations, and she was a staff writer for US magazine. Our business relationship quickly turned into a friendship. While raising her two children, Didi was a community activist and a leader of not-for-profit organizations. At an age when most people are afraid to take on new challenges, Didi was elected to the New York State Assembly in a special election in March 2012 and re-elected to a full term in November 2012.
She is a passionate advocate for her constituents. We were stopped by people several times as we walked back and forth across the river. They wanted to ask about the latest legislation or to discuss problems in their towns. I watched with pride as my old friend gave each of them her full attention.
As my 70th birthday loomed large in the September horizon, my intention for this summer was to devote my time and energy to getting my body, mind and spirit in shape for that milestone. I intended to walk more, eat less, drink plenty of water, have check-ups with my doctor, dentist, financial consultant and spiritual advisors. In short, I was going to get my shit together.
Ah, but we all know the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Would I keep the commitments I made with myself??
There were good days and not so good days. People may think of me as a human road runner, but my couch potato, ice cream and carbohydrate loving self-lurks just below the surface.
Several friends suggested that I get a FitBit to help me keep track of my steps, food intake, calorie output and water consumption. They said the device was helpful and kept you ‘honest’. I resisted until one of my FitBit using friends was hit by a car as she was crossing the street. She went flying through the air and spent the next ten hours in a hospital emergency room where she was checked head to toe. She was badly bruised, but nothing was broken.
When I spoke to her the next morning, I assumed she would take to her bed for a couple of days to recover. Wrong!! She had her FitBit on and was going out to run errands and log steps. She did 10,000 steps a day, every day. No excuses, no exceptions. Now that was the commitment and motivation I craved. I ordered a FitBit the minute I hung up the phone.
It’s now been 30 days since I strapped on my FitBit; it has become my BFF. I wear it all the time. Unfailingly, I’ve met or surpassed my daily goals. I’ve lost weight, increased my stamina, and am looking more toned. I’ve been feeling so self-empowered that I even started this blog.
There’s a whole community of ‘FitBitters.’ It’s commonplace to have people point to mine as I pass them on the street and have them give me a thumbs-up or a high-five, and I return the gesture. My new fun activity is planning when and where I’m going to log my 10,000 steps.
For the record, I have ZERO connection with FitBit. I’m just in love with mine.
Hope you will continue to follow me on my Countdown to 70. Marian Rivman.
I was a freshly minted blogger when I arrived at the BlogHer15 conference at the New York Hilton this past weekend. The first post, Milestone Birthdays, for my new blog Countdown to 70…and Life Beyond had hit the blogosphere just days earlier.
Looking around during the introductory Keynote, I realized that aside from the waiters who hovered near the tables, I was one of a handful of gray-haired people in the crowded ballroom. It was conceivable that I was the oldest person in the audience. What a thought!!
The impetus for my blog was my impending 70th birthday that is on September 12, 2015. Having spent my 60s caregiving for my now deceased mother, I am devoting this summer to getting my body, mind and spirit in top shape for the rest of my life. I thought it would be interesting to chronical that process, and share some of the stories of my life; a blog seemed to be the way to do it.
Mine has been a life of the road less traveled. It is my hope that sharing my stories will inspire others to live their lives to fullest which is what I’ve always tried to do with mine. Now seemed like the right time.
I wondered how the blogging community that I had self-selected to join would respond to this newbie blogger who was pushing 70. I need not have had a moment’s trepidation. Never have I been with a group of people who were friendlier, more supportive, creative or downright fun than those I met last weekend. They embraced me literally and figuratively. I could not have felt more welcome.
Count me in!! I had found my peeps.
Bloggers, who are predominantly women, come in all shapes, sizes, religions, ethnic origins, sexual orientations and locations.They write about family, food, finances, fashion, politics, parenting, painting, travel. The list is endless.
Bloggers are a powerful force in the current media landscape. Time and again over the weekend I met women who were fierce agents of change, and I wanted to join their ranks.
What most people don’t know is how hard bloggers work. Writing a post is the least of it. Once written, it has to be marketed over a variety of social media platforms. Hours are spent on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest trying to attract both followers and sponsors.
I can’t say I wasn’t warned. When I first thought of starting a blog, I met with my old friend Debbie Mitchell of Deborah Mitchel Media Associates who did her best to give me the lay of the land.
However, after attending several of the workshops offered at the conference, and listening to bloggers I met, I wondered if I was cut out to be a blogger. I had just spent a decade with my life on a short leash because of my caregiving responsibilities. I was rejoicing in my new-found freedom. Did I want to tether myself again; this time to the care and feeding of a blog?? It was an opportunity to examine my priorities and boundaries.
The reception my blog and I received at BlogHer was personally empowering. I even got more comfortable having my picture taken.
After much deliberation, I’ve decided I’ll continue to blog. But, I’m going to do it on my terms, and I’ll probably break some “this is how it’s done” rules. My days won’t be spent tethered to my desk, computer, iPad or phone. Facebook is my friend, so I’ll continue to post there. I can’t promise that I’ll ever be adept at Twitter. Living my life, rather than writing or tweeting about it, is my priority.
I hope you will continue to follow me on my Countdown to 70 and my life beyond. Marian Rivman
In 1995, I was hired as a consultant to the Secretariat of the UN’s Fourth World Conference on Women. My assignment was to partner with the in-house Senior Media Advisor, Patsy Robertson.
When I first met the dignified, impeccably groomed ‘Lady’ Robertson (my nickname for this remarkable woman), I told her how excited I was that my 50th birthday would occur when we were all in Beijing. Patsy looked directly into my eyes, put her hands on my shoulders and said, “My dear, a lady NEVER tells her age.”
She said it was acceptable for a woman to tell people when her birthday was, but it was nobody’s business how old she was going to be. I chose not to take her words to heart and continued to plan for a 50th birthday bash in Beijing. Gertrude Mongela, the Secretary-General of the Conference, heard of my plans and whispered in my ear one day that her 50th birthday was going to be the day after mine.
For ‘Lady’ Robertson age was something you did not discuss. For large numbers of women AND men, age was something you lied about. Thanks to Google, that option doesn’t exist anymore. With a couple of clicks, your date of birth is available for all to see.
One’s chronological age is fast becoming just a number. Pervasive stereotypes of how one should look, act, and feel at any given age need to fall by the wayside. Baby Boomers are reinventing aging.
Medical advances will make it possible for us to live longer. We’re more aware of the importance of exercise and nutrition. We want full, meaningful and vibrant lives. That’s exactly the kind of life I intend to have as I start my Golden Years.
This lady does tell her age. I’m going to be 70. It’s fun seeing the shocked expression on people’s faces and hearing their exclamations of surprise when they hear how old I am. “No way!” “You’re kidding, right?” “Really? Show me your driver’s license.” My favorite is “Shut up!!! You look younger than my mother.”
I’ve been camera shy my whole life. Whenever I saw a camera pointed in my direction, I’d do my best to get out of the shot. I marveled at people who started vogueing the minute they saw a lens.
Paradoxically, one of my jobs as a public relations consultant was to get my clients in front of the media. I would tell photographers and cameramen I didn’t want to be in any shots and stayed purposely out of camera range. When my family and friends found out I’d been with someone famous, they always asked “Did you get a picture with him/her?” Nine times out of ten the answer was no. Then they’d chide me for being an idiot for missing the opportunity. There were those times when a photographer would pull me into a shot and take me out of my comfort zone.
When I decided to start blogging, I realized that finding photos to go with some of my posts could be a challenge. There are whole chapters of my life that I have no visual record of because I wouldn’t let anyone take my picture. And, in many of the photos I do have, I look like a deer in a headlight.
However, there were two photographers who were exempt from my ‘Don’t shoot me’ rule. Mort and Alese Pechter were the official photographers for my client DEMA (the trade association for the scuba industry), and they traveled with me wherever I went. Given that I was the spokesperson for the association, I couldn’t shy away from their cameras. The Pechters made it painless, and luckily for me, graciously agreed to photograph events I was producing for other clients. I’m grateful for the beautiful pictures they took of me over the years.
It has been many years since the Pechters shadowed me with their cameras. In those years, thanks to the global proliferation of people who have cellphones with built-in picture-taking capabilities, the world has become a minefield for the camera shy like me. There is no hiding. The time has come for me to get over my phobia. I’m going to bite the bullet and say “cheese.” This weekend will be an initiation by fire. I’m going to attend the BlogHer conference in New York. There’ll be thousands of trigger happy bloggers snapping away, and I’ll be one of them. I even bought a selfie stick.
On September 12, 2015, I will be 70 years old. The number astounds me. As I countdown to 70, I’ve been reflecting on other Milestone Birthdays, remembering where my life was at the time and how I’d spent the summer before each.
Twenty-One: The summer of 1966 was spent training for my assignment as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines; I was going to teach science in an elementary school. My first ever plane ride was from New York to Boston.
There were 42 in my training group. We spent ten weeks living in dorms on the Radcliffe Quad while taking intensive language and cultural studies classes. We rented bikes that we rode around Cambridge. I felt like an Ivy League co-ed. It was a far cry from the experience I had living at home with my parents in the Bronx and walking to Hunter College.
We flew to Manila on September 12th, my 21st birthday. There were champagne toasts as we crossed the Pacific. What a way to start my life as an adult!!
Thirty: The summer of 1975 was dedicated to job-hunting; I had been unemployed for more than a year. The situation was dire; my unemployment benefits were about to expire. Reorganization of New York City’s Addiction Services Agency where I had been working as a manpower development specialist had left me jobless in a very depressed employment market.
What was particularly frustrating was that I was supposed to be a job-finding expert. While at the agency, I had found jobs for hundreds of our clients and a booklet I wrote, “Help Wanted-A Job Hunter’s Guide” had been widely distributed.
A reporter at the Daily News, who thought my unemployment was a great human-interest story, wrote a piece “Job Expert Can’t Find One” that appeared in the paper on August 7, 1975. My phone started ringing the minute the paper hit the stands. The callers weren’t employers with job offers; they were producers and reporters asking for interviews. I did dozens hoping one would lead to a job.
On September 12, 1975, my 30th birthday, I appeared on the TV show Midday Live with Bill Boggs. One of the other guests was Stanley Tannenbaum, an executive at Kenyon & Eckhardt, an advertising agency. In the green room, Stanley told me he thought I was one smart cookie who should be in his business. He offered to send my resume to all the ad agencies in the city. I landed a job as an assistant account executive at Benton & Bowles.
Forty: By the summer of 1985, my foray into the advertising industry was long behind me having left B&B after a year. The Madmen life had not been for me. After a half-hearted job search, I decided to start my own business. Quality Respondents recruited subjects for consumer research groups. A New York Times article about QR, “A ‘Central Casting’ for Consumer Research”, prompted an avalanche of people to volunteer to be subjects.
By 1982, I had recruited thousands of people for hundreds of groups. I was ready for a change. That year, I fell in love with an Israeli underwater photographer who owned a travel company that specialized in exotic scuba trips. I became his de facto public relations consultant. My efforts were so successful that after two years, the executive director of the scuba diving trade association (DEMA) asked if I would be interested in promoting the whole industry. It was goodbye Quality Respondents – hello Marian Rivman Communication Consultants (MRCC). DEMA was my first client, and I represented the association for more than eight years.
With 40 fast approaching, the summer of 1985 was spent getting myself in shape for the globe-trotting life I was starting to live. I took multiple aerobics classes and treated myself to workouts with a personal trainer. I was fit and toned at the birthday party I threw for myself.
Fifty: I had found my calling in Public Relations. By 1995, in addition to DEMA, MRCC had represented an eclectic roster of clients including: UN agencies, programmes and world conferences; beloved children’s singer Raffi; legendary music producer Phil Ramone and global non-profits like the Amazon Conservation Team.
In the summer of 1995, I was working at the UN. This time as a communications consultant for the Secretariat of the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women that was being held in Beijing September 4-15. Since it was pre-birthday cleanup time, before heading to the office each day, I’d go to the sports club across the street from my apartment to run on the track and workout on machines
On September 12th, 1995, I celebrated my 50th birthday in Beijing. It was an incredible start to my 50s, which were filled with interesting work, travel, and a few romances.
Sixty: My life was in a VERY different place as I approached my 60th birthday in the summer of 2005. My father had died in January 2004, and I had become my invalid mother’s caregiver. I had moved her to New York from Florida, and she was living in an apartment across the street from mine; she had home health aids 24/7. I was running a nursing home for one.
My pre-birthday summer cleanup included multiple yoga classes weekly, an extended juice fast, and numerous hours with a masseuse. Having stopped jogging years before due to a knee injury, I bought a pedometer and started logging 10,000 steps a day.
On September 12th, 2005 I celebrated my 60th birthday with close friends at a neighborhood restaurant. My future was cloudy; I had no idea how long my mom would live and I would be caring for her.
Seventy: It is now the summer before my 70th birthday. I am no longer a caregiver. My mother died in my arms on April 16, 2014, three months shy of her 97th birthday. My dad had died when he was 90. I have some serious longevity genes.
This summer’s birthday cleanup is a crusade to get my mind, body and spirit in condition for the rest of my life. I’m devoting full-time to the effort. My FitBit (electronic activity tracker) has become my BFF and I’m fanatical about meeting my daily goals, and it’s working. My friends are getting used to my suggesting that we take a walk instead of going out to eat. The neighborhood Equinox Sports Club is my go-to place for yoga and other classes. Trader Joe’s makes it easy to eat healthfully. I am having a blast!
My 60s were spent caregiving. It is my intention to spend the rest of my life at “full throttle.” My Bucket List still has many items that I want to check off.
I hope you will follow me as I countdown to the big 7-0 and as I start my life as a septuagenarian.