I can remember thinking I would never make it to sixty. It seemed like some mythical number off in the distance. Of course, back then, everything in life was hard. I worked hard, I played hard, I was raising my little girl all on my own and I remember thinking every day ‘I’m tired’. It was also a time when I looked at my grandparents and foolishly thought sixty was old. Let’s fast forward that constant moving time machine….sixty is far from old
At sixty, I’ve learned a lot things, wisdom I wish I could have embraced in my twenties and thirties. But here’s the thing, wisdom, really great wisdom, is rarely understood or followed when we are young. We need to walk through a little (or a lot) of hell to truly understand the wisdom.
My younger me had to pack thirty-six hours into a twenty-four hour day, seven days a week. I had do do everything right away. I was afraid to miss anything going on, everything had to be perfectly right all the time. I rarely went to bed before midnight, if I was lucky. Now, I’m content with a good nights sleep and nap in a sunny place on a beautiful day, and a good book. The work, the phone calls, the cleaning, the laundry? It will get done in due time. Our children grow up fast. They don’t need us later, they don’t need to hear in a minute or tomorrow. They need us now while they want to spend time with us. Parents too. If you are blessed to still have your parents with you as I am, take the time with them, listen to their stories. I love hearing about their youth and the history of their lives.
My younger me collected too many things. The house, the cars, the toys, closets full of clothes and shoes, the latest and greatest gadgets. So much stuff…too much stuff. Now, I treasure simplicity. I can’t relax when there are too many things around me. I’ve spent the last year letting go of a large portion of this stuff. I’ve decluttered, sold or donated so much and I still have a ways to go. I’m having fun repurposing treasures I’ve rediscovered. It’s amazing what a bit of paint and a sander will do to what I used think of junk. The old jeans I’ve kept in the back of my closet all these years? Some funky fabric and the art of embroidery, which my mom taught me when I was a kid, have created a masterpiece.
My younger me blindly believed the family and friends I love would always be there. I’ve cried so many tears learning the hard truth on this one. I thought I have time…lots of time but the reality is, life can change in an instant, in the blink of an eye everything you hold so dear can change. I could be sharing a glass of wine and some laughter one night and the next day? My friend is gone forever. Accidents, unexpected illness, it happens to all of us. I hate goodbyes. I always have, but it happens. Every day is precious. Every laugh, every hug and every story shared…is a gift. Don’t throw it away. Work will always be there, but family and friends may not.
My younger me worried so much about how I looked, the weight I gained or lost, was I dressed right for the occasion… I worried about other people’s opinions of me and did I fit in, was I good enough, smart enough, pretty enough. Would I ever meet the right guy, find love again and settle down. I stressed over so many things that really didn’t matter. Now, when I look back, I have to laugh. At sixty? I honestly don’t give a damn. I am who I am and it you don’t like it? It’s not my problem. Your opinion of me isn’t my business. I work hard, I take care of myself so I can do the things I dream of. To me, a few wrinkles and grey hairs are a beautiful story waiting to be told. I’m too busy living my life and loving those I choose to be a part of my world, than to worry what others think.
Life isn’t a race. I don’t need to cross a finish line or finish everything I start. Life is about living. It’s takes many of us years to figure that out. Experiences and people matter so much more than things. When I look back over the last sixty years, I have few regrets and lots of wishes and dreams. The biggest thing I would have changed was time wasted over things that really didn’t matter. My biggest lesson was learning to trust that little voice inside my heart telling me when to go for it and when to let go.
My life has been a journey, an amazing journey filled with wonderful people and incredible experiences. I’ve experienced heartache and pain from the loss of so many loved ones over the years. Yet those I’ve loved are in my heart everyday. My mind is a movie projector of memories. I can close my eyes feel the presence of the ones who have moved on. I’ve had adventures and lived dreams that many haven’t been able to experience. My life has been a blessing in every possible way.
The beauty of it all…is it isn’t over yet. Turning sixty doesn’t mean I’m getting old, it means I am looking at life in a different way. No matter what is happening around me, I choose not to live in fear. I have sixty years of learning and I have faith. My dream is to be able to make a difference in the lives of those around me. To make their worlds shine a little brighter in some way. God has a plan for me and he isn’t done with me yet. That little voice inside of me is still talking.
Be the change you want to see happening around you. Live your dream, it’s never too late