Becoming Sixty

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elder-scar-clan570I remember the book I saw on my parent’s coffee table during a visit toward the end of my father’s life. The title read, “The Joys of Aging”. I opened it and saw that all the pages were blank. While I appreciated the humor, I felt a sinking feeling as though I suddenly realized how they really felt about getting old.

I remember happily turning fifty in the Museum of Modern Art. A woman in the museum told me she remembered fifty as a great age. I haven’t heard anyone say that about sixty. My cousin told me that she felt old when she turned sixty. A friend who recently turned eighty told me she felt old when she turned seventy. I wonder when I’ll feel old.

As I notice my hair greying, deepening lines on my face, forgetfulness of minor details like why I just walked into the kitchen, I am reminded that I am aging. A significant change for me as I enter into my sixties is that I notice that the present moment is becoming far more precious to me than the planning of my future.

As I enter into my second Saturn Return, behind me lies the grueling and painful process of having witnessed and supported my parents through their final illnesses and deaths. Their absence leaves a gaping emptiness which at times is very difficult but also highly transformative. My parents have moved on and I have made it through the most intense part of my grief. I am free to move into a new and deeper phase of my life, becoming 60.

womanbikeAging has its benefits. As I age, my mind as well as my creative interests have deepened. I am making more music, writing, teaching and counseling, engaging in business, cultivating new friendships and challenging more emotional edges.

Sometimes when I get nervous about aging, I keep in mind the “Over Eighty Hiking Club” that I witnessed as I struggled to climb up a mountain in Yosemite in my forties. I think of the eighty plus female gymnast who still flips in the air and the many artists, activists, musicians, writers, healers, teachers and wise elders that I so appreciate as role models.

At this moment, I am officially sixty. Thank you for reading my blog, please feel free to respond with comments or any thoughts and feelings about your own aging and/or other life transition processes.

Affectionately,
Deborah

 

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5 Replies to “Becoming Sixty”

  1. I remember the mother of 1 of my friends saying “it’s a short walk from 50 to 60”, being 40 at the time, it scared me a little. Now, at 63, I survived the 70’s, sailed through the 80’s, began to run into some personal and medical hiccups in the 90’s, and prayed for the decade from 2000 – 2010 to end. My mother and father have both passed, their illnesses and deaths happened quite quickly but their spirits are very much alive in me for both of them. At 63, things have taken on a different perspective….I care about myself and those close to me more authentically and lovingly. I value patience, pacing my life, and working (part time) in a profession that hopefully makes a difference in the lives of those who are struggling. I advocate to others to keep class-ism, racism, sexism, agism, sexual orientation-ism, egoism, and every other negative ism I can’t think of right now. Other miscellaneous thoughts…..OMG, I stopped dying my hair, I’ll never totally figure out my smart phone, I see a few new creases in my face, forget the club and party scene, make-up (what?). I feel settled in my own skin. I don’t know exactly how to describe being 63, oh, did I say that I cherish…. sleeping?

    Peace and power to being 60, 70, 80, 90, and 100.

    Francine

  2. Francine, I just read your comment. Thanks for your honest and heartfelt prose. I love how you said you were finding peace in your own skin. nice writing. Deborah

  3. I don’t think about aging much because if I get caught up in my head about a number versus how I feel I won’t live fully. I Love the benefits of aging especially the wisdom and the sight to see where you were and where you are now.

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