Thursday, August 29, 2013

On Turning Sixty...

A couple of weeks ago I hit a sort of benchmark age that definitely gave me pause.  Sixty - dare I say it???  I have whispered it for months knowing that it was waiting for me round the bend, then I went into denial as the date came closer, cringed on my actual birthdate, and then.......suddenly...... it was ok!  Really  - as if someone snapped their fingers or made a secret wish... all of the negative connotations vanished.  And there is more .... I actually embraced the age.  If truth be known, I worked darn hard to get to this stage of my life and I deserve to enjoy it, not run from it!!  And I am still working on making that my TRUTH!!

In the months approaching my birthday, I heard all of the cliches - it's just a number, it's the new FIFTY, it's the new FORTY, you don't look a day over ______ (they kindly inserted an insanely young age!) and more...   I shrugged my shoulders and just felt OLD........I mean O......L.........D!!! And the closer my birthday came, the older I felt.  It was as if I was aging months with each passing day.  My mind was playing horrible tricks on me and I was believing the worst of this ominous age.

But as quickly as it came..... it went.  And you know what?  I am just the same as I was a few months ago.. What has changed dramatically is my attitude about a lot of things.  Could I finally be growing up?  Maybe there really is hope for all of us!!

Here is what I have learned/realized in the two weeks that have passed.....

I love my  life.  Is there anything I would change?  Of course, I would wish for perfect health instead of having to deal with some challenging health issues. Yet I am so very aware that no one escapes unscathed; we all have personal struggles - some are more visible than others, but no one has a "perfect" life. But, for me, I know it could be so much worse. I am still independent and do not have to rely on others for daily tasks.  I can read and craft and love my dogs and bake and do needlework and so many things that make me happy and fill my soul.

I can live, free of fear, to make choices for myself. I can explore new interests and learn new skills. I can choose to do whatever I want, within reason!  There is so much ahead of me that I long to experience.  I realize, now more than ever, just how precious each and every minute is.  And I don't want to take one  of those minutes for granted.

I am blessed with three wonderful children who have grown into very special adults.  I have two beautiful granddaughters and look forward to more grandchildren in time. (my youngest son is not married yet so there is definitely time!!)  I am living out my life in the city where I was born and raised. And even though my parents are no longer here, many of their friends still are And their friends are now my friends. And my parents set a clear and wonderful example about how to be an active and caring member of a community. Yes, I am still trying to make them proud.  But I am also finding my own way to give back to the city that I love, embracing some of their passions and finding my own.

My life is rich in all of the ways that really matter - with incredible friends and family.  I am an only child and always wanted a brother or sister.  I now realize that I have all of that and more in the friends who bless my life.  They are sisters and brothers who I love with all of my heart.  Sometimes I sit back in awe of the amazing people in my life and wonder what I did to be so unbelievably lucky!

So..... is turning sixty all that bad??  No.. not at all.  It is a passage into a new journey with a heightened awareness of the beauty of life all around me.  It is time to be grateful for the life path that brought me to this age and stay open to the opportunities ahead.  It's as if I approached a fork in the road and there were two very distinct choices.  I could go one direction and bitterly and begrudgingly move into this "senior" phase of my life and let my struggles dictate my days and basically give in to the aging process. The other direction was a bit more uncertain and uncomfortable as it required trust and faith - faith in myself.  But this direction had so many more possibilities and opportunities - I could feel the excitement even though I could only see a few steps ahead of me. The emotional pull was evident. This is where promise for the future and fulfillment  would prosper. This is where I could decide who I wanted to be and how I wanted to embrace each day.  This is where the only limitations would be self-imposed.  So it was an easy decision for me -  I want to dare to experience all that is available.

Each birthday is a gift in itself .  And this one, in particular, was overflowing with love and gratitude.  Perhaps it felt more special because I finally opened my heart to receive.

I could not be happier and I wish that for everyone reading this.

A surprise family dinner!!! BEST Birthday EVER!

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