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60 And Fabulous: The Secret To Successful Aging

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Light the candles, ladies! I'm 60!

Truth be told, I spent about half of my 59th year planning the party for my big six-zero. For six months, I racked my brain on exactly how I wanted to celebrate the big day and year.

In the running was a trip to Disneyland to let out my inner child, a sexy burlesque party, and a "60 is Taking Me to the Cleaners" theme party. I even looked at renting out a local dry cleaner shop for the shindig! My mind also trailed off to an Oprah-esque luncheon with 60 of the most important people in my life -- but the thought of narrowing down the guest list to 60 people gave me a headache, so I nixed that idea. Maybe a "pamper Ellen" party where everyone would come prepared to pamper or spoil me in some way? I love a good pampering, but that party could get real kinky real fast. Last year, I even thought about having a 59th birthday party and calling it "Almost 60, But Who Is Counting?"

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So after six months of brainstorming, I finally decided what I wanted for my 60th: to stay healthy, celebrate the health of my family, love my dear husband and terrific children (my daughter Sarah just got married, so now I have three kids!), and spend my special day with these special people.

It has taken me a while to figure out what's most important to me in life and how to take care of myself to enjoy life to its fullest. In the process, I have learned how to live and age gracefully. In my mid 40s I entered perimenopause and had no idea what was going on in my body and mind, as no one had given me "the talk." I realized something was changing, but I just could not put my finger on it. As most women do, I kept my head down and powered through. Finally, after far too much suffering and struggling, I came to terms with the fact that I needed to take better care of myself. I needed to put myself first if I was ever going to be the woman I wanted to be for the people I loved.

Now, at 60, I have achieved hormone happiness -- and have mastered the fine art of celebrating myself! I try to make each and every day a celebration of life. I put myself on my own to-do list. Yep, right on top! I take care of myself with the same passion, enthusiasm, and determination with which I care for my family! Each morning, I ride my bike with my husband, David. We do resistance training twice a week and together we keep each other honest on Weight Watchers. Let's face it, I'm much higher maintenance that I was in my 40s--my drawers are jam-packed with skin crèmes and potions to eliminate every wrinkle, my systemic hormone replacement therapy, my local estrogen therapy, etc.--but that's OK. I feel healthy. After all, our bodies are the only place we have to live, so we better take care of them!

What's more, I have found a purpose in my life that is bigger than myself. My mission is to educate and prepare women (and the people who love them!) for perimenopause and menopause so that they can lead happy, healthy, fulfilled lives. Some of my best years have been immersed in this journey: writing my first and second book with my son, Jack, finding my own voice and expanding the reach of my mission. I know for sure that I have many more best years to come! My mission is ageless and so am I -- I am living a great life after menopause!

Last, but certainly not least, I continue to fill my life with love -- both giving and receiving it with open arms. David and I try to find joy together in each day, whether it is just holding hands while strolling along the beach, or taking a few minutes to sit in our backyard. We met 37 years ago and still date each other! I am confident my 60th year will be one full of love and laughter!

Still, I would be lying to say that I never get that "OMG, 60!?!" pang of panic. There are days when I look in the mirror and say, "What the hell happened here?!?!?" There are days when I wonder if buying the magnified lit mirror was really a good idea. Thank goodness I can't see much without my glasses anymore! When those thoughts creep into my mind (or out of my mouth!) I try to remember that each and every wrinkle, ripple, and roll is me. I embrace all of who I am and consider myself lucky to be turning 60! After all, I want to be mentioned on the TODAY Show when I turn 100! Willard Scott will surely make a cameo appearance to announce my momentous day!

I know it might seem counterintuitive to all of the age-phobes out there, but I feel stronger, healthier, and more empowered today than I did when I was 40! For me -- and for many women -- 60 is the new and improved 40. For us, gone is the archetype of the grandma-esque, stout menopausal woman with white hair. My mom is 93 and I have never seen a gray hair on her head! She is still going to the beauty salon every week -- her head full of rollers, teasing, and hair color! You can bet I am following her lead... sans the rollers and teasing, that is! Frankly, most of my friends are grandmas, but they don't look anything like that old grandma we often picture sitting in a rocking chair. They are biking, surfing, and hiking with their grandkids. They are full of life -- amazing, awe-inspiring life!

What a joy it is to be 60 and leading a healthy, vital- and purposeful life, surrounded by the love of friends and family! Celebrate with me... Happy birthday to all of us!

Let's hang out! September is Menopause Awareness Month! Celebrate by joining us for a special Menopause Awareness Month Menopause Mondays on Monday, September 16th at 5:30PM PST 8:30 EST! Ellen will be hosting a live and interactive Google Hangout where guests will discuss their own menopause stories and Ellen will answer audience questions about everything menopause!

If you want to share your menopausal story on-camera during the Hangout, submit your menopause story to Ellen at menopausemondays@ellendolgen.com by September 10th. All you need is a microphone and a video camera on your computer. If you have any questions you want answered, comments, or feedback from the last Hangout email them to menopausemondays@ellendolgen.com. Sign up here!

For more by Ellen Dolgen, click here.

For more on women's health, click here.

Ellen Dolgen is an outspoken women's health and wellness advocate, menopause awareness expert, author, and speaker.

After struggling through the silence that surrounds menopause, Ellen resolved to help women reach out and end the confusion, embarrassment, and less-than-lovely symptoms that come with "the change." Her passion to be a "sister" to all women fueled Ellen's book, Shmirshky: the pursuit of hormone happiness. As a result of her women's wellness journey, and in response to the overwhelming thirst of her ever-expanding audience for empowering information, Ellen's weekly blog, Menopause MondaysTM was born.

Menopause MondaysTM allows Ellen an expansive platform from which she broadens her discussion of menopause, women's health, and life as a menopausal (and fabulous!) woman. Her weekly Menopause News Flash provides a one-stop shop for the latest menopause and women's health news and research, allowing women the access and know-how needed to take charge of their health and happiness. In addition to Ellen's ever-growing social media presence, EllenDolgen.com has fast become "the place" on the web for informative and entertaining women's menopause and wellness engagement. In 2012 and 2013 EllenDolgen.com was named first on the list of the "Best Menopause Blogs" by Healthline. Ellen is also a regular contributor to over a dozen leading women's health blogs. Her motto is: Reaching out is IN! Suffering in silence is OUT!

Ellen has appeared on the "TODAY Show," "NBC Nightly News", the "Rachael Ray Show," "The Doctors," Oprah Radio, Playboy Radio, NPR's "Tell Me More," Doctor Radio, and dozens of regional and national media outlets. Ellen is also one of the first regular contributors to debut on The Huffington Post's recently added site, Huff/Post50, which targets 116 million Americans over the age of 50.

Click here to read Ellen's full bio

Like Ellen Dolgen on Facebook, follow her on Twitter and Pinterest, connect with her on LinkedIn, Google+, and Klout, watch her videos on YouTube, and subscribe to her newsletter.

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