Yesterday was my 64thbirthday. While that may not be old, it’s hardly young. The thing is, I still feel like a work in progress and while it’s a bit of a cliché, I really don’t feel 64.
Many years ago, I came across a newspaper column a wife had written about her spouse. Her physician husband had retired and one of the parting gifts he received was a gift certificate to a fortune teller. A couple weeks later when he called to make an appointment for his reading, his wife was baffled telling him, “you don’t even believe in that stuff.” But off he went. He returned from his encounter in a pensive mood. This man went on to achieve the greatest accomplishments of his life during his “retirement”. He established a neighborhood health clinic for low income patients, including mental health care, a service often denied people without good insurance or the means to pay themselves. And he reveled in every moment of it. It turns out, the fortune teller told him he was too young to rest on his laurels and had much more to accomplish in his lifetime. So, did the fortune teller truly see this, or is it simply common sense that we are only limited by our own myopic view of ourselves.
A few minutes of research reveals some of the many people who have achieved momentous success in their 60s and beyond. Laura Ingalls Wilder was 65 when “Little House in the Big Woods” was published. Dame Judy Dench starred in her first film after 60. And Grandma Moses didn’t start painting until the age of 76 when she gave up embroidery because she could no longer hold her embroidery needle due to her arthritis. The examples go on and on and leave me pondering but also eagerly anticipating what is next for me!
As an adult I haven’t fully embraced my birthday. While I always have fun at my children’s and other people’s birthday celebrations, I’d rather celebrate others than be the focus of attention. But his year I decided to make a change. It was time to start celebrating myself and all that I have achieved throughout this hectic year. While I am glad to receive birthday greetings via Facebook (and appreciate that Facebook keeps me apprised of other’s birthdates!), there’s nothing quite like receiving a paper card in the mail. This year I saved up all the greetings that arrived during the week and on the morning of my birthday Mr. Smith made me a mimosa and I had a lovely time opening my messages of birthday love.
I’m not sure where my next trip around the sun is going to take me, but it’s been a pretty fine ride so far. This year I’m going to try and step out of my comfort zone and open up to all this magnificent universe has to offer. I think a fortune teller would tell me to do the same.
C’est la vie.