“How terribly strange to be seventy”

… as Paul Simon wrote in the lyrics of “Old Friends” while still in his twenties.

Kathy Stinson at age 70

My birthday is this month. Friends older than I am smile or even laugh when I say how strange it feels to be on the brink of seventy. “You’re so young,” one said to me recently. I suppose in some respects it’s true. It’s also true that I am no longer young.

Last month I came across “Self-Portrait” by Mary Oliver. Naturally, it resonated.

I wish I was twenty and in love with life

and still full of beans.


Onward, old legs!

There are the long, pale dunes; on the other side

the roses are blooming and finding their labor

no adversity to the spirit.


Upward, old legs! There are the roses, and there is the sea

shining like a song, like a body

I want to touch


though I'm not twenty

and won’t be again but ah! seventy. And still

in love with life. And still

full of beans.

We never know what a coming decade will bring but have I ever faced one as full of uncertainty as this one? For me personally, my family, our planet, or for humanity? I don’t think so.

Sometimes the weight of concerns I carry in all these areas has me feeling less full of beans that it seems Mary Oliver did at seventy. Other times, I’m as ready as anyone to climb those dunes and even swim in that sea.

Whatever the state of mind and body on my birthday later this month, I will celebrate it with gratitude for the roses: all the love, safety, good health, and security that my life has offered me, so far, and compassionate awareness of all who are struggling.

In the meantime, tell me what you love about being the age you are — especially if you're over 70!


  1. Gillian O'Reilly on April 6, 2022 at 10:29 am

    My sentiments are expressed by a birthday card showing a classy dame (that’s the only word for her) of the 1940s with the speech bubble along the lines of, “Honey, you couldn’t PAY me to be twenty again.”

    • Kathy on April 6, 2022 at 12:36 pm

      That is a great birthday card caption, Gillian. Thanks for sharing it!

  2. Sylvia McNicoll on April 6, 2022 at 10:59 am

    I love watching my children grow into such amazing parents. I feel joy sharing hikes and museum visits with my nine grandchildren. Grateful for less hustle to make mortgage payments and VISA bills. When asked, I enjoy sharing the wisdom that I have acquired. Or puzzling along with the rest of the world.

    • Kathy on April 6, 2022 at 12:38 pm

      These are wonderful positives in your life, Sylvia. I relate to that mix of “wisdom” and “puzzling.” It’s a good place to be, I think.

  3. Ingrid Ermanovics on April 9, 2022 at 5:03 pm

    Happy birthday! I know youll keep living your best life with your eyes and heart wide open.

    • Kathy Stinson on April 14, 2022 at 2:02 pm

      Aw thanks, Ingrid. That’s a lovely message. 🙂

  4. Janet Barclay on April 15, 2022 at 9:55 am

    Having recently celebrated my 65th birthday with mixed feelings, I found your post very reassuring. Although there are things I don’t love about getting older, I’m starting to discover a lot of benefits now too. Happy 70th and here’s to many more!

    • Kathy on April 15, 2022 at 10:08 am

      Thank you, Janet. I wish you many more too — years and years of discovering the benefits! 🙂

Leave a Comment

Please read my Privacy Policy before commenting/subscribing.