On Turning 60
"With aging, you earn the right to be loyal to yourself."
I am unsure how I feel about turning sixty.
There are some days where I am not bothered by the thought at all. I certainly don't feel as if I am entering my seventh decade. Inside, I am somewhere between the ages of 15-30, depending on the day and my mood. But then there are other days where I am all too aware of the passing of time, which seems to be passing more quickly with each year.
There are days when I feel as if I have fully come into myself, the person I have always been but have often molded and shaped into what I thought others wanted me to be or how I thought I needed to be in order to gain acceptance. But on other days...
... I am vulnerable and anxious, and find myself on shaky ground, hyper-aware of transitions that are occurring and which feels like sand shifting beneath my feet, leaving me unsteady and apprehensive of the future. It is days like this that are hard and I feel the need to retreat and sort through my feelings.
But, also, every now and then on days like this it is as if the universe has heard my worries and responds with a message. Take today, for example. My horoscope tells me to open up and be vulnerable rather than keeping my worries in. Soon after, my daughter texts and, upon hearing that I am feeling low, suggests I treat myself to something special and promises to call later to chat. Finally, after starting this post the phone rings and it is my dearest friend, checking in to see how I am.
I tell her about how I am feeling, how I am missing my girls and feeling unsure about turning sixty, how I am having trouble with post-vacation blues. I follow the advice of my horoscope and share my vulnerable feelings and she gives me the best gift ever.
She listens and doesn't say I am being silly. She listens and reminds me that we have a lot of plans to look forward to. She tells me a story that makes me laugh. And by the end of the phone call I am feeling better, not so sad, thankful that I have such a wonderful friend who somehow knew I needed someone to talk to.
I really have much to be thankful for as I reach my 60th birthday. I remain cancer free. I am married to my best friend, a wonderful man who knows me better than anyone. I have three beautiful, strong, kind, and accomplished daughters. I have my mom, who is 83 years young. And I am lucky to possess so many lovely and supportive friends.
"That's another great thing about growing older, your life is written on your face." -Frances McDormand
Turning 60 means that I am gaining wrinkles on my face, my hair is graying and my body is softening. My thoughts turn to getting more exercise, eating mindfully, and being accepting of the gray. I don't fool myself; I will never be a dedicated exerciser, and I don't know if I could ever give up sweets, but I can get a walk in daily (or almost daily) and focus on fresh foods for meals. Common sense alone tells me that just making small changes will make a difference in how I age. It will also affect how I feel about myself, knowing I have made the effort to treat my body, mind and spirit with love and respect.
I have a feeling that I will be going through more highs and lows these next few days as my birthday grows nearer. I will continue to think about how I envision my future. One thing I know for sure is that as I turn sixty it is time to give myself permission to be true to myself, to live a life of gratitude, with kindness towards myself and others and with an open heart.
"The longer I live, the more beautiful life becomes." -Frank Lloyd Wright
Sending love and cheer your way,