Advice on Turning 60 • New Tricks
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Judi Knight photoWhen I first started doing WordPress Meetups, I met Russell Fair and started working with him on the Meetups and then we co-organized WordCamp Atlanta for a couple of years. Russell is a brilliant programmer and smart entrepreneur with a wife and two elementary school aged kids. After working with Russell for a while I was shocked to find out he had just turned 26.

The tides turned on us a few months ago when Russell told me he was turning 30 in October. Excitedly, I popped out with “Wow, that’s great, I’ll be turning 60 in November”.  It was his turn to be shocked and I’d say he was really stunned, like he never considered age at all. This is, by the way, a great thing about the WordPress community in that it is so diverse and accepting.

And yes, I am turning 60 on November 29. I can say that without any fear or shame about my age, frankly because it can’t possibly be true. You see, I’m really in my mid-forties.

Oprah Magazine’s Beauty Editor, Val Monroe turned 60 a couple of years ago and validated this feeling for me. She said to a 45-year old friend, “I am going to tell you something about yourself that you are not going to believe.”

She told her, “You were born in 1950 and you’re actually 60.”  Her friend said “That just doesn’t make any sense.”

And that is exactly what I’m talking about. Age is crazy and it does not make any sense. But what makes some of us feel younger?

My mom has been a great role model. She started running when she was fifty and she started the Santa Rosa Island Triathlon in Pensacola, Florida when she was sixty.  She and my Dad, who was her right hand man, were busy with this race all year long. My Dad passed away from melanoma several years back but my Mom, who continued as race director for 15 years, still has a pile of friends of various ages and stays on the go at 79.

My life path followed her lead, in that one thing lead to another and I ended up with an unplanned new career as business marketing consultant/web developer when I was 55. Click here for the whole story.

My husband is 73. He lied to me when we met and told me he was 51. I totally believed him. A few months later it was his birthday and I asked how it felt to be 52. ( I was 47 at the time). He said sheepishly that he was actually turning 62! At first I was incredulous that he told such a whopper. Then I understood why. He felt and acted like he was in his forties. In fact, he was a lot more fun and interesting than most men I was meeting who were my age. Plus, his Dad lived and stayed active living on his own until age 102.

Duane still works as a Broadcast Engineer at CNN and, although he loves his job, he recently got his certification as a personal trainer as something to do in his spare time. I am quite sure he will be here at 100.

So here I am at sixty and at my age at least earned the privilege of sharing some words of advice, beyond the typical eat right and exercise, so you don’t feel like 60 when you get here.

1. No matter what age, if you are interested in something, go for it, explore it and master it. It does not have to make sense. Do it for its own sake.

2. Stay open to new technology. You can choose to keep up or be left behind. As far as I can tell Luddites are not all that happy.

3. Understand when there is no more cheese in your particular tunnel and go look for it elsewhere. You will find it if you look.

4. Get involved in activities and stay engaged with people of all ages. You will learn from those both older and younger than you.

5. Say yes more often. As we get older there is a tendency to become set in our ways and turn down opportunities that are outside of our comfort zone.

6. Never retire. By all means change jobs if that is what you want but find something meaningful to do.

7. Spend time everyday finding and expressing gratitude for all of the good in your life. Even when times are tough, and we all have those shitty times, acknowledge the good and it will grow.

8. Remember it’s never too late (for most people).


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  • Brad Iroff

    This is so true, age feels so irrelevant these days and I attest that the WordPress community is responsible at some level. I have close friends ranging between 20 and 71 and it's a rarity that age comes up in conversation. I always enjoy reading your newsletter and if there is one that I read completely, it's yours. So Thanks! Love the "Who moved my cheese" reference!

  • Camille

    At age 65, I can say I wholeheartedly agree with your words of advice, Judi.

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