Way back . . . in 1996 . . . as my mom was getting ready to celebrate her 60th birthday, she struggled. The whole concept of aging was hard for her to accept, and she fought it.
(My mom and dad in July 1996, as they celebrated their 40th anniversary -- days after my mom's 60th birthday.)
I think that, somehow, for my mom, "turning 60" meant walking through a door clearly marked ELDERLY.
I didn't understand this at all at the time, and quite frankly, I probably didn't try that hard. Because as my mom was turning 60, I was 37. With a 7-year-old and a 4-year-old. . .
And a job. And a dog. And a husband who worked really hard. And we were building our cottage. And I was applying for grad school. So. Probably not at my most sympathetic.
And especially because my mom was vibrant, active, beautiful! Not . . . OLD. And certainly not on the verge of elderly.
But, at 60, she was mourning her younger self. The smooth skin. The tiny waist. Jeans that fit. Feeling good in a bathing suit. A sense that life had meaning and purpose . . . and a future. She was beginning to feel time slipping away. And she didn't like it at all.
Eventually, she snapped out of it and got through it. She turned 60 and settled into her life and pretty soon, we kind of forgot the difficulties she had . . . turning 60.
Fast forward . . . 23 years.
Now, it's me on the cusp of 60.
I've been thinking a lot about my mom. Remembering what a hard time she had when she was standing where I am today. And I've been thinking about how . . . I don't feel like my mom did. At all. Not even a little bit.
It makes me wonder why. What's the difference? Why was 60 so hard for my mom . . . but not for me?
First, there's the cancer thing. Once I got through chemo, I just didn't care about how old I was anymore. Because getting older . . . means you're still alive! And, for me, that's a gift. (More birthdays! Yes, please!)
So there is that perspective. But even without the cancer thing, I just don't feel bad about getting older. Sure, there are things that just suck about aging (lack of collagen in the skin, for example, or degrading eyesight; colonoscopies; the shingles shot. . .to name just a few), but generally, I feel READY to to turn 60.
Ready to embrace my years -- ALL of them.
Ready to tackle aging -- with intention!
What ELSE is there to do about it?
As I turn 60 next year, I'm going to be exploring . . . aging with intention. I want to embrace turning 60 (and 70) (and 80) . . .
- feeling as good as I can
- feeling as happy as I can
- feeling as badass as I can
So stay tuned.
(Because we're all in this together.)