I’m Turning 60 And I CANNOT Wait! | Said No One. Ever. Except Me.

I’m Turning 60 And I CANNOT Wait! | Said No One. Ever. Except Me.

Turning 60, the concept and the reality, is a big deal for most of us. Preparing for what it means is not usually understood as the same big deal. I think that’s a mistake. 

A Generation’s Retirement Years

A baby boomer is born between 1946-1964. My brothers are older Boomers born in 1949 and 1950. I am a younger Boomer born in 1962. My sister is a Middle Boomer born in 1956.

In the beginning our age differences dramatically impacted our relationships. They were all SO old and I was so far behind them.

During my 20’s, once I was done with school and working, our age differences lessened. We were all working adults. The boys were married with children and my sister and I were single until much later. But essentially we were “all the same age.” 

And now it’s happened again. I am 59 and intend to work for many more years. Likely, beyond 65. They are all retired with my oldest brother age 72, then 71 and my sister who is 66.

Here’s Why This Matters

When my friends and family turned 60, I heard a lot of grumbling.

Maybe a more accurate word to describe what I heard was dread. They said, OMG! I turn 60 this year. I’m getting so old. My body is changing so much. The wrinkles are appearing so rapidly. My hair is coming in so gray I have to color it more often. If I go gray, I’ll look so old. 

I don’t feel any of that (except the gray). I wonder why? It could be because I don’t have kids. So no one calls me old. For me, my best life began when I was eliminated from my corporate job in 2017 and I made the decision to become my own boss. Since then, I report to the best boss ever and I feel no need to retire from working.

My Point of View on Aging, And Turning 60

As my wise father always said, “having a birthday beats the alternative.”

My life experience so far is that each decade has ALWAYS been better than the one before it. And I know that my 60s will not be any different. It isn’t that 60 is the new 40 or 50, it’s that 60 is the new 60.

I’ll go gray in my 60s, I have started a new business and it will thrive in my 60s, I will buy a second home and spend the winter where it’s warm in my 60s, I’ll start spending my retirement savings in my 60s, I’ll start to work differently in my 60s, I’ll stay active in my 60s, I’ll get my knees replaced in my 60s. And G-d willing, I’ll have my health in my 60s.

Let’s Talk About Retirement Savings

I started doing retirement workshops for the employees of Marshall Fields/Dayton-Hudson in my 20s. This was very progressive. The goal of the company was to prepare our employees for both the financial and non-financial aspects of retirement.

Here I coined the phrase, What will you do with a week full of Saturdays? And I learned that most people plan more for a vacation than they do for all the years they will spend in retirement.

I also learned about the importance of saving for your retirement and put every raise I got into my 401(k) until my company match maximum was met. So, as I approach turning 60, I can’t WAIT to start spending some of that money I started saving in my early 20s.

The Impact of My Dad’s Retirement Depression

My dad worked and played a little golf. Those were his interests. He sold his stores when he was a very young 62. He died when he was 76. He didn’t have a plan for what he was going to do with all his extra time when he was done being a Pharmacist. 

He spent the first year in what I saw as clinical depression though he was never diagnosed. Therapy wasn’t a thing back then. Too bad, because that would have been helpful. He had nothing to do. No awareness of his interests and no awareness of how he would identify himself now that he was no longer working.

Eventually he was fine, but it was a waste of that transition year. My dad started to feel sick around 70, really sick around 73 and then died at a very young 76. He didn’t end up having a lot of time to enjoy all those years of hard work and saving for his retirement. I think that’s sad.

Luckily, Most of Us Can Expect to Enjoy 30 Years In Retirement

We are living longer and enjoying many more healthy years in retirement. It’s essentially another lifetime.

First we have our school years until our early to mid 20s. Then we have our working and family raising years from our late 20s to mid 60s. And then we have our retirement years from our mid 60s to, in many cases, our 90s! So planning ahead for all those years is essential to making the healthy years the best years yet. And for making every year count.

Becoming a Retirement Coach

I became a certified Life Coach and a Certified Career Transition Coach in 2020. I have had the honor to serve many clients as Life, Career, and Business Coach.

In 2022 my bestie Michelle shared some information about becoming a Certified Professional Retirement Coach. I ignored it at first. I wasn’t interested in one more certification. But with a little gentle prodding I read what she sent me and my world opened up wide.

I have been working toward this my entire life and never knew it. Until now.

Saving the World One Retiree at a Time: Turning 60 is a Beginning

Most of us will retire after working long years to get really good at what we did professionally. It took us 30 or 40 years to get this good at our jobs. Yet, we give little thought to preparing for the non-financial aspects of retirement. Why would we think we will be good at this with no preparation? It took us decades to get great at working. We shouldn’t think that suddenly, upon turning 60, we’ll automatically become retirement pros.

Don’t Waste Time Figuring It Out During Your Go Go Years

You will hopefully be in great shape and in your best health when you turn 60, and when you retire. You will hopefully have plenty of energy to enjoy all things you love when you retire.

Don’t waste a moment of those best years figuring out how to enjoy them. Start planning now so you’re ready to enjoy every moment of the retirement you’ve been saving for.

Your best years are ahead of you. Let’s make sure every year counts. 

Barb Mason, Coach

I am a coach and jewelry designer. At UNSTUCK Coaching, I help middle-agers make changes toward the most fulfilling employment experience. As my own first coaching client, I know what it takes to get UNSTUCK.

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“Let’s Set An Intention” | What Does That Even Mean?

“Let’s Set An Intention” | What Does That Even Mean?

Several months ago I was talking to a friend about making a weekend date for me to visit. When I said it I meant, Let’s pick a date during the winter months, and then I will book a flight and come to see you at your home. Then we will spend time together face to face. She said, Yes! Let’s set an intention to do that. I asked what that meant. She used her words and thoughts and meaning to explain it. And what it meant to me was, this will not happen. “Setting an intention” is a commitment to do nothing. I think this has become the new acceptable language to mean to do something good–for yourself, or someone else, or something else–that ultimately gets no one anywhere. With this friend, I let the idea go and never came back to it. Why? Because in my mind, her response was bulls**t. 

Corporate Speak: The Lazy Way To Communicate

When I worked in corporate America, I noticed that new words and phrases would be born, someone would start using them, and then suddenly everyone would be using them. It permeates the culture like a virus. I imagine a phrase like that starts when someone goes to some seminar somewhere and hears it for the first time from someone they deem a thought leader. They adopt it into their lexicon when they return from their seminar and use it in a team meeting, or a board (bored) meeting. And those participants think, wow, I’ve never heard that used like that before, but this leader is very smart so if they are using this word or phrase, I am going to use it too so I sound as smart as they do. Soon the word or phrase permeates the whole business and a new “corporate speak” phrase is born. It takes years for it to die. I find these words and phrases completely annoying. 

Intention, Intentional, Intentionality, Be Intentional, Let’s Set An Intention

This is corporate speak (and used outside the workplace as well) for not doing something, but talking about doing it like you mean it. But you don’t. I was speaking with a client a few weeks ago who referred to many things she was doing “with intention.” I asked her about being intentional and what did that mean to her. I shared that I felt like someone who was being intentional was the same as someone penciling you into their calendar. It was a “maybe” commitment. Like, I hope we do this thing. I “intend” to do this thing. Maybe I will do this thing. And I suggested that when we mean it, we are deliberate. We set the date. We make a commitment. We write it in PEN. 

Make It Matter. Be Deliberate. Write It In Pen.

I recommend you give thought to what you identify as an intention and recognize it as the commitment you might complete. And if you are deliberate, recognize that you are writing that commitment down in pen. Then make a plan to execute it. If it’s big, break it down into small, achievable steps.

If you still feel unsure about where to start, schedule a free 1-hour sample session with me today. Together, we’ll set up your plan, turning “intentions” into your future.

Barb Mason, Coach

I am a coach and jewelry designer. At UNSTUCK Coaching, I help middle-agers make changes toward the most fulfilling employment experience. As my own first coaching client, I know what it takes to get UNSTUCK.

Unlock access to a FREE coaching session and downloadable journaling guide when you sign up for the UNSTUCK newsletter.

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Did You Try Changing The Lightbulb? | Simple Solutions to Complex Problems

Did You Try Changing The Lightbulb? | Simple Solutions to Complex Problems

I have a floor lamp I simply love. It has sat in its corner, unlit for years. I want to take it somewhere for repair but it’s so heavy I haven’t managed to get it in the car. It’s okay where it is because it almost looks like an art object. Its beauty and coolness is not maximized in this unlit state. This leaves me sad and frustrated. There has seemed to be no simple solution.

The other day my friends were over to play canasta. We were sitting around the table near where this floor lamp is located and one friend asked what it was. A speaker? I explained it was a lamp in need of repair and I loved it too much to give it away. It was too heavy for me to get in and out of the car.

Old Problem, New Solution

Two of the friends entered into a low talking conversation with some laughter. What? What are you guys talking about? One said very shyly, I don’t mean to insult you, but have you tried changing the lightbulb? I said, I don’t actually remember what I have tried. It’s been like this for so long I’ve almost come to accept it as it is.

They left. And I got out the entire TUB of lightbulbs. The LEDs, the old school kind, the different wattages. I tried several. Guess what? The light came on!

Sometimes, the most simple solution wins the day. If we don’t talk about problems or issues with others when we are stuck, we may not hear someone else’s simple suggestion. And if we don’t hear it, we miss the opportunity to consider that it might work. 

Keep it Simple

Give it a try. You might get your floor lamp back. Or increase your business revenue by almost double. Imagine your life’s possibilities, and understand that you’re probably a lot closer to being unstuck from your obstacles than you realize. 

This is what working in a professional coaching relationship is all about. I help you become the very best version of yourself personally and professionally. And I help you uncover the simple steps that get you unstuck one goal at a time. 

Schedule a free 30-minute free sample session with me to learn more. You may discover that all you need is a new lightbulb!

Barb Mason, Coach

I am a coach and jewelry designer. At UNSTUCK Coaching, I help middle-agers make changes toward the most fulfilling employment experience. As my own first coaching client, I know what it takes to get UNSTUCK.

Unlock access to a FREE coaching session and downloadable journaling guide when you sign up for the UNSTUCK newsletter.

Join me on social media:



“WHAT THE HELL?”, she asked herself. | I Am Nearly 60 Years Old. And This Job Situation is Bull s**t.

“WHAT THE HELL?”, she asked herself. | I Am Nearly 60 Years Old. And This Job Situation is Bull s**t.

I want to share a story about my very dear friend. She is not a client. I wish I was part of her incredible story. I was lucky enough to hear all about it after she made the whole thing happen on her own. You can do this too. If you want to make something like this happen for yourself, but need help getting started, I can help.  

Jane’s Job

I will call my friend Jane because it’s not her name but it’s a name I love. Jane is 59 years old and reached a pretty high level managing a sales team of 18. When she achieved her most recent promotion pre-COVID, she got the list of her direct reports and noticed some of them made more than she did. She brought this to the attention of HR and her boss. The boss said, I wondered when you would notice that. No one seemed to care about this except Jane. And she didn’t appreciate the boss’ remark.

Jane also came to know that others in the organization with less experience but in the same position as she was, made more than she did. They were men. She brought this to the attention of her boss and HR. And no one seemed to care much about this either. Except for Jane.

COVID hit and the whole world changed. Jane’s job included extensive travel which she loved and now she was grounded at home. The product she and her company sold went from a “nice to have” to a “must have” in her field. Her company had to pivot in order to meet the deluge of demand.

I’m not suggesting her situation is unique in terms of how hard things became for so many to deliver products and services before COVID to now. I am acknowledging that some companies are doing this better than others. Some companies are treating their employees better. And those companies need your help. Right now. (It’s never a good time to wait around, but expecially now, don’t hesitate!)

Knowing Her Worth 

Here’s what Jane did. She said, what the hell?  I am highly experienced and grossly underpaid.  We are working an outrageous and unsustainable amount of hours with absolutely no end in sight.  My husband doesn’t even know me anymore because all I do is work and bitch about how bad work is. She said, companies like mine need people with my level of experience. NO ONE has time to onboard anyone right now. She said, I don’t need much training and I can come out of the gate running. That has great value. She found a job that sounded great. It matched her skills well. She modified her resume to reflect the job description.

She received a call from the internal HR recruiter in two days. They discussed salary during the first call which made all the sense in the world because no one has time to waste if the salary expectations can’t be met by either party. Once they determined she was qualified and the salary would work for both. She also mentioned she had a great first interview. 

The entire process took months and it was grueling. It involved phone screens, large group interviews, presentations, flying to headquarters, etc. And that’s what changing jobs takes. 

Here’s how it ended.

Jane got to tell her company to take their inequitable pay and unreasonable productivity expectations and SHOVE IT (my words, not hers). She’s being paid what she should be paid (the difference is HUGE). And when she wasn’t receiving emails and texts on nights and weekends, she asked her boss if something was wrong? The response was, um, yeah, we don’t do that here. If you feel compelled to do that, please put that in your drafts and send it during work hours. If you don’t, you’ll create a problem.

She thought, OMG. What took me so long?  I spoke to her husband. He said it was really nice to have his wife back.

It’s never too late to take your job and shove it. And if you’re self-employed, remember to be a good boss, and make sure you’re setting yourself up for sustainable success! Not sure exactly what all this means for you? Let’s schedule a free 30-minute sample session and get you started.

Go Take a Hike | Read On to Learn Why This Experience Matters!

Go Take a Hike | Read On to Learn Why This Experience Matters!

Last week, my husband, Herb, and I rented a luxurious Airbnb on the Northwest side of Tucson for 8 days to celebrate our “On Average 60th” birthday. I just turned 59. Herb turned 61. We adore the entire area and thought we were staying in the part of town we knew, for a familiar experience. It didn’t turn out that way. We were 30 minutes from where we thought we would be. We made an awesome mistake. The place was seven minutes from Saguaro National Park, somewhere we had never been, or even known about, in all our other visits to Tucson.

The Backstory 

And now for a bit about me and hiking. I just had a conversation with one of my brothers who is an avid lover of the outdoors. So is his wife and entire family. They camp and hike and have a cabin in the woods. They know the sounds of the birds and all the flora and fauna. I told him hiking is terrifying to me. You go up and down. You can get lost. I have horrible arthritis everywhere and the wrong step can shoot pain in ways I prefer to avoid. In theory I want to hike.  It sounds very romantic and adventurous. I’m just terrified.

The Experience

Our “best couple,” Michelle and Don, was with us on this trip. One of them is a bold adventurer of all things FAST. Motorcycles, boats, cars, ATVs, snowmobiles. The other is fit and more of an adventurer of the spa rather than the mountain.

Herb found a hike in the National Park that sounded suitable to the entire group. It was about 4 miles out and back. The halfway point was someplace he and I had already seen called Signal Point. Michelle was dubious but totally agreeable. Don is game for anything. I was terrified but kept silent. I figured there were four of us so if any of my fears came to fruition, I would be saved.

Here is what I learned while on our hike:

  1. Doing research to find the right trail is helpful when you are a beginner.
  2. The hardest part is getting started.
  3. Sometimes, the path isn’t always obvious.
  4. When the path isn’t obvious, it’s great to have a team to decide which turn is the best way to go.
  5. Up is way harder than down, but the view from the top is breathtaking.

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

-Eleanor Roosevelt

The Takeaway

All this got me thinking about a “bucket list”. If I had one, which I don’t, taking a hike in the Saguaro National Park would NEVER have been on it. I was not aware of the park and hikes terrified me. 

The lesson is to pay attention!

Things present themselves to you in unexpected ways. What may seem like a mistake (like picking a place on the “wrong side of town”) ended up being an unbelievable opportunity. And taking that hike gave me insight into how great it can be to conquer a fear. Especially when you have the right team by your side.

Allowing ourselves to be taken in new directions through the power of serendipity can be difficult when we follow a structured routine without a lot of variables. But whether you’re taking a vacation, trying a new hobby, or experimenting with small changes to your routine, if you give yourself the opportunity for an unexpected path to open in front of you, you never know what brand new perspective a novel experience can give you! There’s no reason to wait around to let it come to you. Seek it out yourself!

If you’re seeking insights on hiking, you might want to look elsewhere (just kidding, I have a lot of new resources to share, beginner-to-beginner!). But if you’re excited about the idea of stumbling into a new experience simply by making a few small changes, reach out to me for a FREE 30-minute sample coaching session, where we can discuss which areas of your life you’d like to explore with fresh eyes. Together, we’ll imagine your life’s possibilities!