I’ve been trying for two hours to write a post in support of the above catchy title. It’s been a confounding 120 minutes.
Do you remember when you were a high school senior and your teachers were thirty-five and you thought, “Man, they’re old”? Then you turned thirty-five and you pushed your version of old age to fifty. Each of the following birthdays moved the distance of what you called “elderly” farther out until suddenly your sixtieth birthday is looming ahead and you find yourself thinking, “I’m too young for this number!”
I’ve known for a year (okay, technically for 59 of them) that—the good Lord willing—I’d hit 60 one
of these Junes. And here it is. You’d think advance notice would demand a better attitude, right? But here’s to turning 60 with the pending arrival of it driving me to distraction. Or to depression. Some demoralizing d-word at any rate.
Not that I cannot whine with the best of them, but I don’t usually wallow in a state of grumbling. Typically, I voice the issue and start finding ways to get some humor out of the trouble. If we’re above ground, then really, what is there to complain about?
But here I am, feeling crusty and cranky as I count down the days until I roll into decade number six.
As with any situation that troubles me, I move pen to paper and start writing. Articulating a complaint, especially, jotting down the words, helps diminish the power of the emotion. Somehow when looking at the black and white of it, the difficulty is not as insurmountable, so the trouble lessens. Usually.
Re-reading my random notes, I admit to being disheartened by the goals I haven’t achieved yet. Doesn’t tacking that little word at the end of that sentence indicate that I can still get them done? Cross lack of goal satisfaction off the disheartening list.
My fortieth birthday was a fun one even with a dead-end boyfriend not adding much to it. Jackie, sister who turned the big 4-0 two years prior, threw me an Herb Party. If you know a keen gardener, this is the way to root them on in multiple ways. My gifts were plants for the newly made herb bed Dad and I dug in my Cottonwood-root-filled-yard. We hacked and sawed and cut and hacked some more and made a tidy six by six space. My friends helped fill it with a delightful array that I never got to see come to fruition.
Two months later, I made the impulsive decision to bag my ten glorious years in Montana and head back to western Pennsylvania. It was supposed to be a stop gap as I leapt—with my typical laissez faire attitude—into the next great thing, but here I still am twenty years later, so it seems the Lord has other plans for me.
Is my melancholy knowing that time, that flaky, unreliable mistress, is running out? That I’m on the downside of the numbers I’m allowed on earth? Is it feeling that although I quite often feel purposeful, I have not found my purpose?
Doesn’t that make my birthday angst sound so much more profound than simple self-pity?
My purpose, I’ve been lead to believe, is to write, to provoke dialogue, show interest in people and the world around me, and never forget that God has me on this word-driven path. I may not always know what direction I’m going, but what I have figured out over the (many) years is that I am, have always been, moving forward toward where and what I’m intended to be.
Pondering life, I ‘ve observed that it’s made up of those things we call milestones like graduations, careers, relationships. These moments mark our lives and we think of our decades in terms of before and after xx happened. Don’t you think, though, what makes living worthwhile is the moment we connect our lives with someone else? There is a share smiled, a connection made, and that humanity you carry inside ripples out to others. It’s enlightening.
When I travel, I enjoy museums and tours and learning about the place I’m occupying. However, my most vivid memories are snippets of the people I interact with. The elderly gentleman in the Milan Cathedral who smiled as he taught me how to correctly say Buon Giorno. The bartender who ended his shift at a Lucerne cafe and sat with my husband and I to tell us stories of the area. The sharp-dressed doorman in London who posed for a picture with me simply because we smiled and waved at him as we walked by.
Making connections in life, keeping my world large, is vital to who I am. RM never wants to be a dull girl.
Let’s celebrate then, that I’m still here, still kicking and skimming stones into lakes and rivers I walk beside. I’m causing ripples to spin out from my tiny slice of the earth, hoping that as I pass through, I’m leaving more good in my wake than bad.
With those thoughts a part of my intentional living, this birthday shouldn’t be of any more consequence to me than 12 or 29 or 42 or 58. It should simply be another marker of another year well-lived, greatly appreciated, and a launch pad into what’s coming next.
So stop the complaining by ignoring the negatives and contemplate 60 with no more disquiet than I give to the white hairs on my head. Focus, instead, on the delight to be had in being given one more year. Find and announce the reasons to celebrate. Here goes…
I’m fortunate to have good health with only minor glitches here and there.
We live in a comfortable home in a safe neighborhood.
Travel, big trips and little ones, is a constant of my life’s journey.
Friends and family keep wanting to be my friend—what a compliment I find that to be.
Daily I pursue the career I love the most: writing. What a blessing.
Life, my life—in the clearest of terms, is good. What’s to whine about? Here’s to me. Happy 60th Birthday, RoseMary!
Related musings: God, Crown Vetch & Pondering Life