The January After Turning 65

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Two Weeks Before

A frozen morning. Outside, an army of bone white trees.

An icy clear sky.

Birds pecking at the kitchen window.

You say, ‘it’s only a number’ the way people do. You aren’t trying to make me feel better. You mean this. 

Lately and never far from my mind – turning the corner into the midlands of 60. Only 5 until 70. When does the end come? They say people live longer now but I know, people are also dying younger. 

One Week Before.

A dark evening. I plan the birthday dinner (26th December – nowhere open).

Sushi. Ramen. Rice Paper Dumplings not attempted before.

This week, I make lists. I don’t go out. I don’t like going up the track – past the derelict prefab. It was meant to be taken down years ago but someone lied and now there is a junkyard. A family of 7 in one bedroom. How are they living? 

I’m told not to think about it too much. The two years of stress. On top of other stress. I must talk with myself constantly. Not only about this or 65. Or aging.

But about who I’ll be afterwards. 

26th December. 

A thick and overcast afternoon. In the grocery store people wearing the long hours of Christmas on their faces.

I buy mushrooms, bean sprouts, the cheesecake. You say, ‘are you sure you want that one?’ and I tell you I’m not.

It takes two hours to make dinner. The dumplings don’t turn out well. Not worth getting upset (although I’m not happy about it).

A film later, old music videos because 65 does not mean I’ve forgotten how to dance.

I’ve forgotten nothing. 


I’ll never be 64 again. It, along with the ages that have come before, has vanished.

I’m midway into a decade youth said would take light years to reach.

Youth is an unreliable narrator. I’ve closed the book on that.

In the void now I feel nothing and nothing is a good place to begin.

Besides, it was a brutal year. 

The storms of January have arrived and I have decided I will not break. Nor will I bend.

Instead, I will allow the wind to blow through me. As if I belong to it.

‘The January After Turning 65’

(c) 2023 Deborah McMenamy

All Rights Reserved

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Denise Woodfull

    Hi Deaborah and wishing you a very nice and very happy 2023! I’ve been unwell but now back on tracks. I just love that you shared this very personal insight. I’m coming up to 50 next month and actually feel very similarly, so it’s been very good food for thought. I am recording my own thoughts and questions in a note book and find this is helping. Last year was a shitty one for me too – illness, relationship break-up and general lethargy 😊
    2023 will be a good one I think. To reflect and revise our priorities. Health is now my number one! Just loving your stories and posts, so thank you again for sharing with us. They do touch many lives of readers 💙

    1. admin

      Hi Denise…thank you and wishing you a great 2023. Good to hear that you’re feeling better now. Sorry that you also had a shitty 2022; it sounds like an awful lot happened in your life. Sometimes it’s just one thing after another and that can make it extremely difficult to process.
      Writing things down is so cathartic, wonderful that you’re doing that. Honestly, it is the best form of therapy for me.

      You’re 100% in line with my thoughts on this year. It’s time to reflect on everything and figure out what the priorities are (and what can now be left behind).

      Please take good care of yourself. And thank you for your honest words. I am also touched by the very kind and generous people who take time out of their lives to read what I share. And share back.

      Happy Birthday to you next month! As that old corny commercial used to say ‘you’re not getting older. You’re getting better’.


  2. Denise Woodfull

    Thanks very much Deaborah. Lots and lots of reflecting taking place! I just gave me notice to leave a thankless job – long overdue. They tried to guilt me stay 😂 Taking time out and cutting back on expenses in the meantime 😊 Hugs right back x.
    And thanks for inspiring me to get my act together!!

    1. admin

      Hi Denise…congratulations on freeing yourself from a job not worth your time and energy. They’ll always try the guilt trip routine; manipulation is the way of the world (in my experience anyway). I hope your time out gives you lots of space to think and plan (or not) and generally, to do what is best for you. Thanks for inspiring me to keep going. xo

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