Chapter 7 - Your Seventh Decade/Chapter 7 - Your Seventh Decade

Your Seventh Decade – Ages 60-69

Backs of three senior citizens and a dog bicycling along a lake.

Senior citizens enjoy a bike ride along a lake path.

By Maureen Santini© Copyright 2018-2019. All Rights Reserved.

If you are new to this website, read why you should strongly consider writing your life story for posterity. Once you’re convinced to give this process a try, start with your first decade

Most of you presumably accessed this post after writing about your sixth decade. Your seventh decade, ages 60 through 69, begins with the year of your sixtieth birthday. If you were born in 1950, for example, your seventh decade began in 2010.

This is a decade of momentous change for many.

One way to approach this decade is to contrast your situation at the start of the decade with your situation at the end. In many cases, people will have retired, shifted direction, or undergone other significant events. You can also jot down a sentence or two about each year in the decade, mentioning events that had an impact on your life.

Remember you are a historian of your own life but also of a way of life, given our rapidly changing society. To this end, your descendants may appreciate knowing not only about your life but also about your lifestyle and daily routine. Things that seem very familiar to you now – as if they require no explanation – may seem quite different and even perplexing to future readers.

Basics

As with all decades, list the addresses of your residences and the names of others in your household and their relationship to you. Name places you visited frequently, such as churches, restaurants, parks, clubs, and libraries. Mention teams, clubs, and organizations you belonged to.

Family and Relationships

Describe your family life and main relationships during this decade. Detail major events such as weddings, reunions, vacations, and funerals. Write about the people you spent the most time with and your typical activities during the week and on weekends.

Work and Retirement

Describe the jobs you held during this decade if you were working. Write down the names and addresses of your employers and your bosses. Explain the skills and duties involved in carrying out your work.

If you retired during this decade, write about the ways your life changed and how you transitioned to a different lifestyle. For instance, mention if you began working part-time, started traveling, switched to a different field, began volunteer work, spent more time with grandchildren, or simply found time to relax and enjoy a more leisurely pace of life.

Hobbies and Interests

In some cases, retirement provides opportunities to take up new interests, perhaps hobbies and adventures they’ve looked forward to for years. Some may even have begun new money-making ventures. Whatever your situation, mention activities you spent the most time on and were most passionate about such as movies, books, cards, sports, crafts, exercise, cooking, coaching, gardening, travel, or volunteer work, to name a few.

Health and Welfare

Describe the state of your physical, mental and emotional health at various points during the decade. Write down the details of any medical events that happened to you or your family members.

Current Events

Characterize the political environment of the times and your positions on issues. Note especially if any of your opinions on major topics changed from decade to decade. State your political affiliation and the extent of your interest and involvement in political matters. Mention political or non-profit causes you were involved in.

Conclusion

The goal of this process is to document your lifestyle, activities, challenges, and rewards – whatever they may be. In addition to the above categories of information, write about any topic, person, place or event that was important to you during this time.

Congratulations on getting this far! Keep going. Your eighth decade is next.

If you have written about each decade of your life so far, consider summing up. You can always add to the summary after you’ve completed additional decades.

The best family histories are those in which multiple family members over several generations write about their lives and lifestyles. Consider encouraging your family members to write their stories.

We hope you are enjoying this process. Comments on the website are appreciated. Please share these posts to encourage others to write their stories.

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Chapter 6 - Your Sixth Decade/Chapter 6 - Your Sixth Decade

Your Sixth Decade – Ages 50-59

Two men talk and laugh while sitting on a bench in a park.

Write your life story for posterity as if you are chatting with an old friend.

By Maureen Santini © Copyright 2019. All Rights Reserved.

Begin writing about your sixth decade, ages 50 through 59, with the year of your fiftieth birthday. If you were born in 1950, for example, your sixth decade began in 2000.

For those who are new to this website, consult previous posts for the case for writing your life story for posterity. 

For those tackling their sixth decade, below are examples of the types of information you may want to include in this portion of your story. Since this is your life story, however, review the events of this decade in your life and add any categories of information that are personally relevant.  

If you’ve adopted the following approach in previous years, apply it to this decade: describe your general situation at the beginning of your fifties and again at the end. If the difference is noteworthy you’ll want to explain your changing circumstances in detail.

Given the reality that society is undergoing a rapid shift in occupations and lifestyles, write down as many details as possible about your routine, your lifestyle and your job. Consider yourself a historian of your own life but also of a way of life.

Basics

As in previous decades, list the addresses of your residences during this decade. Write down the names of others in your household and their relationship to you. Name places you attended frequently, such as churches, schools, restaurants, parks, clubs, and libraries. Mention teams, clubs, and organizations you belonged to.

Family

Describe major events/activities involving you and your spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, siblings, and/or grandparents. Detail family rituals pertaining to holidays, birthdays, vacations, other occasions as well as ordinary days.

Relationships

List and describe the main relationships in your life during this decade. Note major changes such as births, deaths, weddings, divorces, and major moves.

Work

Describe in detail the jobs you held during this decade. Write down the names and addresses of the companies or organizations along with the names of your bosses. Describe the skills and duties involved in carrying out your work.

Hobbies and Interests

Describe your main skills, hobbies, and interests. Did they differ from your interests during previous decades? Did you take up new interests as you aged? Mention interests you practiced or followed regularly such as fashion, food, television programs, card games, music, art, movies, books, sports, exercise, outdoor activities, coaching, crafts, travel, and volunteering.

Health and Welfare

Describe the state of your physical, mental and emotional health during this decade. Write down the details of your health history including major medical events as well as your approach to exercise and nutrition.

Current Events

If you lived through major events, describe the experience. Characterize the political environment of the times and your positions on issues. How did current events in your community, state, nation and/or the world impact your opinions, family and daily life?

Future Outlook

Describe the expectations you had for your life and family at the start of the decade and whether they materialized or changed during the decade.

Conclusion

Consider these questions a general guide. To capture the essence of your life and lifestyle, add information about any topic, person, place or event that was central to your life during this time.

When you complete this decade, move on to your seventh decade, ages 60 to 69. If you have not yet reached your sixties, turn to summing up and reviewing your life. You can always add to the summary after completing additional decades. 

We hope you are benefiting from this process. Tell others about your writing experience in the “comments” section on this website. Please share these posts to encourage others to write their stories.

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Chapter 5 - Your Fifth Decade/Chapter 5 - Your Fifth Decade

Your Fifth Decade – Ages 40-49

A pile of slim books on table with eyeglasses perched on top.

One way to stay motivated to keep writing your life story is to envision the final product.

By Maureen Santini © Copyright 2018-2019. All Rights Reserved.

After writing about your first four decades, most of you are half-way to the finish mark. Well done!

Let’s keep going. Believe it or not, the end is in sight.

Begin writing about your fifth decade, ages 40 through 49, with the year of your fortieth birthday. If you were born in 1950, for example, your fifth decade began in 1990.

We’ll address many of the same topics as in previous decades. Since each decade represents a unique stage of life, however, the questions below are designed to prompt your memory of this time period.

One approach is to describe your general situation at the beginning of your forties and again at the end. In some cases, your situation will have changed dramatically during the decade. In other cases, your circumstances will have remained much the same. Round out your general statements with details in basic areas such as those below. Feel free to improvise.

Keep in mind that various occupations and lifestyles are rapidly changing in society. You are a historian of your own life but also of a way of life. Be as detailed as possible when writing about your routine, your beliefs, and your job.

Basics

Start with the basics. List the addresses of your residences during this decade along with the names of others in the household. Write down the names of places you frequented such as churches, schools, restaurants, sports arenas, museums, and parks. Name organizations you were active in, such as sports teams and card clubs.

Family

Describe major events/activities involving you and your spouse, children, parents, siblings, and/or grandparents. How did your family celebrate milestones, holidays and vacations? Did you spend time together often or rarely? Which traits and lessons did they impart to you? Which traits and lessons did you strive to impart?

Relationships

Describe the most significant relationships in your life during this decade whether they centered on family members, friends, colleagues or others. Many people remember their forties as a time of juggling – finances, teenagers, aging parents, work-life balance, and so forth. Talk about challenges you had to deal with in these or other areas.  

Work

List and describe in detail the jobs you held during your forties. Mention the difficulties and rewards, if any, as well as your attitude toward your work life. Include the names of the companies and bosses you worked for as well as the positions you held. Describe the skills and duties involved in carrying out your work.

Skills, Hobbies and Interests

Describe your main skills, hobbies, and interests. Did they differ from your interests during previous decades? Did you pick up new interests as you aged? State the ways you spent the majority of your leisure time.

Health and Welfare

Describe physical, mental and emotional challenges you and those close to you faced and how you dealt with them. Were you generally healthy or facing health challenges? Were close family members facing health issues?

Current Events

Explain the degree of your interest in and concern about events such as the economy, natural disasters, elections, and wars. State whether you were active in civic affairs or volunteer activities and how your attentiveness to the state of the country and world changed over the decade. Feel free to describe the political environment of the times and your positions on issues.

Future Outlook

Describe the expectations you had for your life and family at the start of the decade and whether they materialized or changed during the decade. 

Conclusion

These questions are only a general guide. To capture the essence of your life and lifestyle, add information about any topic, person or event that was central to your life during this time.

Good job! Now get started on your Sixth Decade

We hope you are enjoying this process. Comments on the website are appreciated. Please share these posts to encourage others to write their stories.

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Chapter 4 - Your Fourth Decade/Chapter 4 - Your Fourth Decade

Your Fourth Decade – Ages 30-39

Dad gives little girl a piggy-back ride outdoors surrounded by trees.

How did you spend your thirties? For many, child-rearing was part of the equation.

By Maureen Santini © Copyright 2018-2019. All Rights Reserved.

If you are following the decade-by-decade method, you are well on your way after writing about your first, second and third decades. If you’re new to this website, review posts that set forth the reasons you should strongly consider writing your life story for posterity.  

Let’s start writing about your fourth decade of life, which spans ages 30 to 39. Begin with the year of your thirtieth birthday. If you were born in 1950, for instance, your fourth decade began in 1980.

Just start writing or, if you prefer, open with a general statement summing up your situation as you left your twenties and entered your thirties. For instance, “I was still searching for my life’s partner and my work path.” Or, “I married and had children young and was feeling restless.” Or, “I was on a high-powered career path with no time for distractions.” Or, “I was happier than ever.” Whatever the situation, summarize the best you can.

Take a moment to jot down the highs and lows of each year or two in your thirties. Mention things that were happening in your life, your work and your family. Mention events occurring in your city, state, nation or the world if any had a major influence on your life at the time.

Write Down Specifics

After summarizing, delve into specific details of the topics in your summary statement. Write as much as you can remember. Create a full portrait of your life at the time.

In addition to the narrative, write down basic factual information in such categories as:

Addresses

List the places you lived in your thirties including street addresses, town, state, country, and type of residence. Identify the people you were living with, if any, and your relationship to them.

Work

List the places you worked in your thirties. Name the companies or organizations, add the addresses, job titles and duties, and anything else relevant about these jobs.

Relationships

Identify the main people in your life during your thirties including specific family members, friends, spouses, and significant others. How did these relationships change from the beginning of the decade to the end?

If you were married with children, write in detail about your family life, including the challenges and rewards of child raising and, if relevant, how parenting changed you and your views on life.

Skills, Hobbies, Interests

List in detail activities that occupied the majority of your time such as reading, sports, cooking, politics, movies, crafts, religion, traveling, and education. How did your interests and obligations change from the beginning of the decade to the end?

Health and Welfare

Characterize your physical, mental and emotional challenges in your thirties. Address the health and medical situation of your friends and family, if relevant.

Describe your attitude toward ambitions or dreams you had when younger. Did you defer ambitions? Did you fulfill any of them? Did your dreams and ambitions change? Did you find different passions? Were you satisfied with your life at the end of your thirties or seeking answers?

Future Outlook

Describe the expectations you had for your life and family at the start of the decade and whether they materialized or changed during the decade. 

Conclusion

These questions are a general guide. Capture the essence of your life and lifestyle during this decade by adding information about any topic, person or event that was central to your life during this time.

Well done! Next up: your Fifth Decade.

Tell us about your writing experience in the “comments” section of this website. Please share these posts to encourage others to write their stories.

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