As the Queen celebrates her birthday, Starts at 60 wants to acknowledge those in its community who are also thriving as they age.
While Queen Elizabeth II is celebrating her 90th birthday — and 64 years at the head of the royal family — she’s showing no signs of slowing down. She and her husband, Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (who turns 95 this year) are often out and about on official duty, attending state banquets, riding horses, and exhibiting an air of elegant style every step of the way.
Her exuberance puts to bed the assumption that ageing is a slippery slope of senility and doddering.
Sharing her birthday with the Queen, Julianne Stanton agrees.
The Starts at 60 community member turns 64 today.
“We lived in England until I was four,” Julianne says. “Every April 21 my mum would tell me that the 21-gun salute was for me — and I believed her!” It must have been somewhat shocking to discover why it had stopped when Julianne moved to Australia with her family.
Julianne says she was a keen student and always enjoyed new things.
“I love all music genres and was a devoted Beatles and Beach Boys fan. I have always been a sporting tragic — playing various sports. I’m still involved in coaching and administering basketball.”
In the 1900s, only 4 per cent of the population was 60 or older, but better lifestyles and advancements in medicine could see children born at the millennium make it to their centenary birthday.
Wayne Halpin will be celebrating his 71st birthday on the same day as the Queen.
He’s celebrating by spending the day with his wife, Evelyn, driving through the Atherton Tableland and having lunch in Port Douglas.
“Life is bloody great!” Wayne says. “When you get to this age there’s something nice about being able to do what you want when you want; my responsibilities are diminished.”
He says he’s been phoned by family, extended family and friends for his day, but felt particularly special when his children and four grandchildren sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to him over the phone.
One of the challenges Wayne says he and Evelyn, feel exists as they get older is having to live with the day’s rule. He says they have a ritual for gathering their daily news, without being fully consumed by it however, what they read and hear makes them yearn for yesteryear.
“We have significant fears for our grandchildren,” Wayne says.
Now fully retired, the former businessman says he started preparing for his retirement in his 30s, but his mindset about retirement has changed in recent years.
“I’ve seen a lot of people, friends of mine, keep working into their 80s,” Wayne says. “I even encourage them to do it. It doesn’t have to be full-time work [and in a lot of cases it’s not] but that sort of activity not only contributes to their retirement, it also gives them something to do.”
Just like the Queen, Joan Gray turns 90. She told The Guardian, “A lot of people say ‘You don’t look 90’. I used to work on the land a bit before I got married, and I’ve always had an outdoor life.”
She thinks the secret to staying young is getting out and about. She regularly meets up with other people of similar age.
Starts at 60 would like to wish Julianne Stanton, Wayne Halpin and Joan Zolnier a very happy birthday, and thanks them for participating in this story.