Yesterday, sometime early in the evening, my chronometer turned over and the number 60 officially attached itself to my life.
I am 60, going on a new decade of life.
When I was a kid, heck, when I was a teen, I couldn’t imagine my life beyond the age of 40. At that, I saw myself as a wrinkled failing boring woman.
Not so. Not at 40. Not at 50. And certainly, not at 60.
[ok, there are wrinkles…]
My birthday is my very own personal holiday. I take the day off from work, treat my Mother to lunch, and engage in some type of decadent activity. I ushered in the 50’s with a mani/pedi. I thought it would be appropriate to ring in the 60’s with a massage and facial.
More important than spa services, however, is the opportunity for me to reflect on my life.
If you are still reading, let me offer some of those insights:
My youth was protected, filled with family, love, good things.
My teens were a time of stepping out of that protective a shell a little bit. I recall feeling spasms of independence, even though I was totally dependent on my family and friends. The golden moment was that of thinking for myself and discovering that I had something to offer the world.
My 20’s brought further self-confidence. Those years also exploded with major life events:
- I graduated from college
- Took my first adult job
- Married the love of my life
- Bore 4 children
- Moved 5 times
- Bought 2 homes
- Began my own business
My 30’s dawned with a sigh of relief, since I had done pretty much every major thing in life short of dying in my 20’s. Life became children-in-school-scouts-sports centered with a side of heavy church music ministry involvement. Along the way, our little family knew precious moments like pizza while all piled on our bed and watching a PBS Christmas special, traveling to Washington D.C. in our station wagon, and the infamous staycations. We also experienced the start of multiple adolescent growth spurts and outbursts. The unbelievable event of that decade was that we built a home in the ‘burbs. Before exiting this era, I returned to the workforce outside the home and began my journey in professional ministry.
The 40’s brought my Master’s Degree and 3 different parish jobs. I entered the unhealthy world of Lupus and a number of breast biopsies. Sarcoidosis made an entrance as well. All of these adventures introduced me to stress and brought me to a new understanding of my own mortality. The joys of many years of grade school, high school and college graduations, the wedding of our eldest, and a variety of other child becoming adult life events left me exhausted.
By the time I came to the era of being 50, I needed some serious time for processing. In addition to all the above, I had lost my Dad and my Father-in-law. I had endured a variety of surgeries. And I had come face to face with some nasty, nasty people.
After the initial shock of realizing I was indeed 50, and most likely better than halfway through my life, I took a huge, deep breath. And exhaled. My body hurt. My heart ached. My mind reeled. Who was I? What did I really believe? How could I reconcile two very painful ministry positons with what I felt certain was a call?
The plus side of this midlife, over the hill angsting was that I found a new strength. “Talk to the hand” was a trite saying that took on great meaning for me. I had been around the block. Take me as I am. What you see is what you get. Done and done.
Free of tuition bills and the financial support of 4 now adult children, I could begin to experiment with finding my style. The world of fashion and cosmetics and shoes were my bailiwick! I had fun I could never before experience! Over that decade, I became a Granny to 3 adorable babies. Vacations became a reality. And in all of this life, I started to wonder more about who God is than at any time in my life. I found myself and lost myself a bit as well.
This spiritually fertile decade offered the chance to teach, to lead retreats, and to become certified in Spiritual Direction. I learned to weave and rediscovered the designer gene that I thought had left me a long time ago.
And here I am, 60 years old.
So now what? I hope to share some of those questions and thoughts and discoveries with you all over the next year, unless of course, it reads really boring.
In which case, I prefer to deal with the wrinkles, thank you…