When I was young(er), I looked with great anticipation to arrive at those signature years; 18, 21, 25 (for car insurance purposes) and even 29 (the first time). I don't know what I thought my life would look like, or even who I would be, but those were earmarked as important years.
As a teenager, I think I thought 25 was surely old and mature. I used to believe I would be able to handle things better..."when I was older". Specifically I thought this when I was 16 and my grandma died. She was the only grandparent I really knew, as my dad's mother died when he was a toddler and his dad (who lived in Norway) died when I was around 5. My mom's dad died when I was 6 or 7; I have vague memories of him but remember him more from pictures. My specific memory is of him saying to my brother, "I'm going to thump you". So now I know where I get that specific talent.
Grammy was my first significant loss. At the funeral, I was appalled to see people visiting, laughing, eating, etc. at the meal after the service. That is when I thought - maybe we handle things better when we are "adults".
My dad died when I was 28, followed by my son when I was 29. That was when I understood that age has NOTHING to do with preparing for loss.
But what a blessing 40 turned out to be. By then I had met, dated and married my "gift" and he threw a surprise party for me. What a great night with friends and family. And did I mention that our "yours and mine family" was soon to include an "ours"? We moved to Kansas City and settled into a new home and a new normal. I really didn't think life could get any better.
Yet it did. By the time I turned 50, I was ready to throw my own party. After a couple of health scares, my appreciation for life helped me embrace my birthdays. The prior decade represented so many accomplishments -not only graduating from college, but I had also completed my Masters in Counseling Psychology. My career path had taken an unexpected turn and I was on a new path that I truly enjoyed.
This is the year of sixty. I am days away from leaving 59 (which for me is the new 29). I wonder what it will hold? I still think I will count by 5 year increments (unless something changes). I will gladly say "I am 60" when asked. I will embrace this birthday and any others I am blessed to have.
We will be celebrating in Mexico which means I will turn 60 an hour earlier than I would here. I used to wonder what 60 would feel like? Now I know that it feels like every other year. With the exception of my knees. They truly feel sixty years old.
Until next time,