I started to reflect about the passage of time on my thirtieth birthday. I worried that half my life was over and I had nothing to show for it. I had no children, no career. I had a job at the library but that’s not the same as a career. I wanted more. That was the year my husband and I decided to have children and while I was home raising them, I took correspondence courses in writing and began my first book.
By the time I hit forty, the kids were in school, and I began to wonder what to do with my days. I was still writing but I needed something outside the home. That was when I started taking piano lessons. It’s something I always wanted to do as a kid but my parents couldn’t afford it. My daughter was already taking lessons so I knew that once I started I wouldn’t be able to quit. Lucky for me I had an amazing teacher who made music exciting and we became fast friends. She also invited me to sing in her choir which I was reluctant to do because of my hearing loss, but I agreed to try. As long as I was situated beside a person with a strong voice I had no trouble keeping time with the music. Being in a church choir also opened up a whole new community of friends for me as I got imbedded in church activities and started a few of my own.
Before I even hit fifty I decided that I didn’t want it to be the beginning of the end. I know that sounds a bit dramatic, but I was aware of time slipping away. I wanted to bust out and do new things. Staying home and baking cookies for the grand kids is wasn’t the kind of future I envisioned — at least not yet. This was the year I took horseback riding lessons, another childhood dream. I got a 10 speed bike for my birthday which I love to this day. I even took up roller blading, nothing at all like the roller skates I had as a kid, but as long as I didn’t need to stop in a hurry, I was okay.
By the time I hit fifty-five my mother-in-law died and it rocked my world, and not in a good way. Through this transition I had to learn to let go of the things that had been so familiar and comforting to me and create a new normal. It wasn’t easy but over time I came to embrace the changes her death created in my life.
This year I celebrate the big “six oh”. It seems funny when I look back to when I was thirty and I worried about half my life being over. If that were true, I’d be done now. But I’m not, thank God. Sixty offers a whole new kind of promise. While I spent a major portion of my life taking care of others, worrying about what people thought of me, and generally trying to please, I’m at a place in my life where those things matter less. For the first time I feel pretty comfortable in my skin. I’ve learned to ask for what I want, and to realize that you have to make the best out of what you’ve been given. I have wonderful friends who I consider like family. My kids turned out well. And I have a lovely home and a great husband who shows his love every day by supporting his family. I’ve also learned that sometimes you have to let go of what doesn’t work in your life and move on. I could go on, but you get the idea. Life is good.
As sixty sits on the horizon, I think about how it’s time to relax a little more and allow things to unfold. I think about trusting life to lead me where I need to go instead of stressing out all the time. I think about making choices that feel right for me and not what some “self-help guru” thinks I should do, or anyone else for that matter. I think about worrying less about getting old, and more about enjoying the journey. All in all, sixty is shaping up to look pretty damn good.