Where do we go when sixty looks differently than what we were expecting, planning for, looking forward to? What do we do with the newly gifted free time? How do we adjust to the hours that for forty years were structured by the demands of a JOB? How do we cope with sagging and crinkling and graying and a brain that wanders aimlessly searching for enthusiasm and purpose? How do we feel relevant and necessary? How do we redefine ourselves when we wake up at sixty and the terrain is unfamiliar and we've lost our map?
Walking around in this fog with a candle and wet matches has demanded some serious contemplation. Shannon taught me the vital importance of lists... so today I am making a list...
Up at six ... Herd cats ... Coffee with bees ... Hmmmmm and that's where the trouble begins. Starting the day isn't the problem. Putting the day to good solid soul filling use is where I stumble, so I'm adding a little writing to the mix. A daily dose of clarity.
Have you noticed how easy it is to offer advice to someone else? Their shared problems or questions or crises are easily addressed. But looking inward, staring at that familiar face, your forever friend in the mirror and knowing exactly what to say, without judgement or criticism, with total acceptance and compassion ? Not so easy.
So we begin again. Sixty should be full of promise and wonder and adventure. Sixty should not be about saggy breasts, crows feet, losing 15 pounds overnight, battling clutter, pajamas to WalMart, drive through fine dining or wearing a carpet path between the refrigerator and the recliner.
Sixty does mean that we are going to lose people we love. We are at the age where our parents have either met or miraculously and wonderfully surpassed the average life expectancy of 78.9. For some of us life is all about our children and grandchildren, for others cruise lines and golf courses.
I must find something different...like many of us... life hasn't unfolded according to plan. But life is beautiful and a gift that we can't just rip the paper off of and throw in the closet.
Last night I saw a piece on TV about Haiti. Women making and children eating dirt cookies. It haunts me. Even as they were eating dirt cookies, those little faces were bright with smiles and hope.
I know it sounds cliche but I walk around in a home, safe and warm, with a full pantry and more clothes than I will ever wear and all I see is the clutter...or even more ridiculous, can't find anything to eat ! What if all I had to fill that empty space in my belly was dirt cookies.
Maybe this morning I just needed to remind myself of my blessings. Open my heart to the truth that anything is possible. Get dressed and ready for a day of amazing grace . Maybe this morning, Heaven sent me an image to hold close, an image that is so much more compelling than wrinkles and weight and soulful purpose. Maybe this morning I simply need to remember that another woman, not all that far away, has no time to worry about sixty or saggy breasts or fast food... Another woman is buying a five dollar bag of dirt to make dirt cookies... with a smile on her sweet face.