Because I'm older, I know there are simple reasons to appreciate each day of life - even during this COVID outbreak.

Turning 60 During a Pandemic

By Julie Gorges

Last week, I turned 60.

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.

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 an award-winning author and journalist writing about life after 50. Her blog,, was selected as one of the top 50 baby boomer blogs to follow in 2019 by Feedspot. Her award-winning book, "I'm Your Daughter, Julie: Caring for a Parent with Dementia" is available on Amazon. To learn more about Julie, visit her author website at

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