Emily Dickinson said “That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet.” I can spend my days, even moments of my days, bemoaning the fact that I am 60. I could easily slide into a little funk of regret, remembering and resentment. I could spend half a day staring at the road, wondering who comes and goes and what their lives are like. These days and hours and moments will never come again. I am certainly not opposed to losing oneself in a cup of hot coffee and downtime on the porch, but that is something completely different. Those moments are of value. They build into me. The other time lost is simply that, time lost that takes a part of me along on that road that never circles back.
There have been pockets of time in my life that I call “golden moments”. These are rare but they are glorious. However, the other normal moments of life must count. The smile exchanged with a stranger at the park, the text from one of my sons asking about my day, the first red tomato on the vine, great claps of thunder at midnight and rain pelting my window. These exact moments in time will never come again and I must remember that they are sweet indeed.
It was a beautiful summer day, not the 98% humidity, hazy, buzzing of annoyingly loud locusts kind of day. It was crisp and blue and clear. It was what summer is supposed to be. I had not worn shorts many times this summer, for several reasons. However, a cute, cotton orange pair I had bought on summer clearance a week ago, just the right length and width, had been burning a hole on my shelf. Today was the day. I donned a charcoal gray t-shirt, those great shorts, gray flip-flops and felt pretty good, until….my mother saw me. She asked if I was planning to leave the house looking that way. She said she was a bit appalled that a 40 year old would wear such a thing. I reminded her that I am 60. Hearing myself say that aloud was a bit startling. I realized that she would have found fault in whatever I had on, unless it was a maxi skirt and turtleneck sweater.
So we pressed on. We did errands and bought coffee out and spoke thousands of words about why and when and what if and who and how and then repeated that conversation four or five more times throughout the day. I mumbled prayers for grace and wisdom, as she pleaded for understanding and peace. It was a day of not finding God in the moment to moment. But on this lovely evening as she sleeps (hopefully in peace) and I look into a starry sky, perhaps we have found Him.
Yesterday I turned 60 years old. Coming up to my birthday I believe I felt a sense of fear and panic. I could not wrap that truth around my graying head. I had been asking my mother if she is certain the birth certificate is correct. Bless her. She is 89 years old and has dementia. One day she told me that she thought quite sure I was turning 40, not 60. Often, it grieves me when her memory is unclear but occasionally we get those good days of fuzzy thinking.
So I am officially into my 60’s. I felt the love and support of family and friends, perhaps in some cases it was pity. But here I am. Today the anxiety has passed (okay, is passing). I step into this new decade with many thoughts and emotions. I also step into it with a few extra pounds. Turning 60 does have its cake and ice-cream and pie and cupcakes obligations. I am, in fact, a pleaser by nature. That is a subject for another day.