Last year on the eve of my 59th birthday I wrote of my feelings about it. It was so hard for me to believe that I was entering the last year of my fifties. Then I blinked and here I am, on the last day. I am turning 60. WOW.
This birthday, this one that carries an age that starts with an “S” instead of an “F” has brought me reflection like none I have ever experienced. The mental review of my life; the thoughts about what to do with the future have plagued me. It is a milestone age, so much different than the others.
Often times I have quoted the movie “The Natural” when it is said that “I believe we have two lives, the one we learn with and the one we live with after that.” I feel that 60 years have given me the knowledge to make decisions about the rest of my life. And it’s time to start living.
There are things I’ve learned that will help to make those decisions. Things I now know that will allow me to live a happier, less stressful remainder of my years. But also things that I will carry with me for all my days.
The saddest thing I’ve learned is how much I will always miss my parents. I lost both of them in this decade; this next one will be filled with things (G0d willing, yes I now feel like things are in His hands more than ever) that I ache to have shared with them. My oldest daughter will be getting married next year and oh how I wish they could have danced at her wedding. How I wish they were here to see the successes of my girls and will not be here to see my grandchildren whenever they arrive. (Soon, please)
Life without them permanently alters everything. I want to talk to them again, I want to hug them and share my joys.
I’ve learned a lot about friendships. The theory of “make new friends and keep the old” is not true in all cases. In the past few years I have been fortunate enough to make new friends that have blessed my life in insurmountable ways; this doesn’t always happen at my age. On the other side, there are people that after a time you just feel as though it’s time to let go.
I want only to surround myself with those that make me happy, toxicity is no longer something I can handle. Whether it be a friend or another situation, if it makes me feel anything but content and happy or a joy to be with, it’s over. I believe this will help me live longer.
I loved the simplicity of my childhood. The ability to live without a cell phone, a computer, an IPAD, 300 cable TV channels, DVR, and all other things technology related was so much nicer and allowed me so many more ways to exercise creativity, to communicate effectively (no texting) and be closer with people. I am sad that my girls didn’t get to know this way of life and their children will, even less.
Never take your health for granted. It is a gift and it doesn’t always keep on giving. An ache or pain at 60 is far different than an ache or pain at 20. I’d rather spend more time at the Doctor making sure things I experience are nothing serious than put it off, only to find out later that I should have gone sooner.
And speaking of woulda, coulda, shoulda: never will I look back and wish I changed something or did anything different. This life I have lived were my choices - whether I was influenced by someone else, not guided properly or whatever the case may be, there is not a single damn thing I can do about any of it. Except now, with time still left I can do things I regret not having done. Go places I wish I had seen. Say things I wish I would have said. There is still time to live from any learned mistakes.
It’s time to let go of memories that caused me any pain; people that hurt me over the years. What’s the point of dwelling on those things? I am a highly sensitive person and things touch me too deeply. I need to learn to let things go; to slide off my back and move on. This will help me enjoy my days and give me a freedom that I’ve never known.
I know that my body will never be the same as it was. I’ll never have the energy that I had in years before but I need to see that that’s ok. SO what if it takes me a tiny bit longer to do things, at least I can get them done. I’m not 100; 60 is the new 40. No really, it is.
My girls are my greatest joy and achievement. As they grow older and I watch them mature into fine young women, I feel so much pride. They are MY girls - they are my life. I will always worry about them no matter how old they are. This is one thing that will never, ever change. The depth of love one feels for their children is something that can’t be explained to them. Until they have their own, they will never understand.
Being married for over 30 years was work. It’s been “the best of times and the worse of times” but at 60, I look forward to spending all the rest of my days with him at my side. There is a comfort in knowing that I have a partner that I can grow old with, that we know each other through and through and love each other in spite of all of it.
The world has become a very ugly place. It is my hope that my children and their children will live to see it become more peaceful and enjoy their lives the way I have been able.
To list all that I have learned in this 59 years of life could fill a novel. I’ve had a blessed life, despite illness that only served to make me stronger. I plan to use these things I’ve learned and have the happiest rest of my life.
That could begin with a Cubs repeat.