Encouraging the midlife woman to grow, thrive and prosper

60/60 Challenge

60/60 Challenge

When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple…

I recently turned 55…and took my first glimpse at my future as an older woman. Heck, it’s not so long ago that a woman of 60 could retire and collect her old age pension! The mirror testifies that I’m not 19 any more, but I’m not ready for the scrap heap, either. Fit and healthy, I enjoy a demanding job and adore my young family. I still have dreams and ambitions, and I’m certainly not ready for elasticated waists and tight perms…I hope I never will be.

In recent years the media has been full of articles spouting that 60 is the new 40, and 70 is the new 55. That got me to thinking why?

Aside from the media’s obsession with age, the fact is that people are living and working longer. Two generations ago, life expectancy was ‘three score years and ten’, which meant that most women enjoyed a retirement of around 10 years. Nowadays we tend to have our families later in life and often juggle our working lives with caring for more than one generation at a time. Even if we work until we’re 67, we can still expect to enjoy a retirement that’s double the length of our grandmothers.

The downside, of course, is that, as older women in the workplace, we’re competing with a younger generation who have more opportunities and more energy than us! In my day job, I manage a team of young people half my age. The big positive, however, is that, when you’re surrounded by youth, it can’t help but rub off on you!

My inspiration

My mother-in-law celebrated life to the full. Before she succumbed to the vagaries of dementia, she danced through life. She lived in the moment, always giving thanks for each new day. Vibrant, interesting and interested, her youthfulness belied her real age…and the heartbreak she had experienced along the way. She is my role model, the woman I think of when I’m tempted to slip into late middle age. She never gave up on life so her soul stayed young.

The 60/60 Challenge

I want to embrace my life too, so with 60 months to go until my 60th birthday, I am challenging myself to try 60 new things before 2021. In no particular order, here are the 60 things on my list:

Overseas Trips

  • Bruges
  • Dublin
  • New York
  • Northern Lights
  • Paris
  • Reykjavik
  • St Petersburg
  • Venice

Places to Visit in the UK

  • Bath
  • Globe Theatre
  • Monk House, Lewes
  • Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth
  • Stonehenge
  • Widecombe in the Moor

Local Attractions (10 miles radius of Chichester)

Things I Want to Own

  • Capsule wardrobe
  • Designer shoes
  • Long red dress
  • Pandora bracelet
  • Tiffany jewellery (anything!)


  • Art class
  • Busking
  • Chateauneuf de Pape
  • Climb Mount Snowdon
  • Cocktails!
  • Drive a fast car
  • Drive LEJOG in Dora the Explorer
  • Go to a festival
  • Hot air balloon
  • Learn to kayak
  • Live gig
  • Luxury hair treatment
  • Posh champagne!
  • Professional Photo Shoot
  • Spa day with treatments
  • Stay in a tree house
  • Swim with dolphins
  • Tread grapes
  • Walk the South Downs Way
  • Whale watching
  • Writing retreat

Things I want to Achieve

  • 60 books (that’s one a month)
  • Complete the Complete Works of Shakespeare!
  • Cook every recipe out of one cookery book
  • Do something fearless
  • Have a piece of work published
  • Learn a foreign language
  • Lose weight (ideally down to 10 stone 7 lbs)
  • Perform/read my own work at a literary event
  • PhD
  • Read bible all the way through
  • Run the Race for Life
  • Trace family tree
  • Write a blog

As you can tell, some of the things on my list, like drinking cocktails, are quite simple. Visiting St Petersburg, though, will take more planning, time, and money.

My aim is to complete one challenge each month. I am looking forward to the surprise and delight of  facing my fears, and embracing things I’ve put off for far too long. This isn’t a ‘bucket list’, but a leaping off point into my dreams. I am recording my experiences here, both to record my adventures, and in the hope that they inspire you to write – and complete – your own list.

Happy adventuring!

NOTE: A version of this page was previously posted on my other website, Valerie-Evans.com