I celebrated my sixtieth birthday weekend on the Puget Sound, in a lovely house on the water, with a big porch and enough deck chairs for all. My family surrounded me, and did everything. I mean everything. I didn’t lift a finger, just sat and ate and drank and explored a bit. I did some reading and lots of pondering. I did request a family photo with everyone groomed, and that experience was highly entertaining.
They gave me thoughtful and generous gifts, including socks that say, “If you can read this, bring me a glass of wine.”
Steve, with the help of two college friends, sent an email to everyone in my life, requesting birthday cards, and they’re still coming, and they’re still making me cry.
I did write something. In fact, I wrote several versions of my sixty something. Here is today’s version:
Sixty showed up, not unexpected, but not entirely welcome. She drops her luggage at the front door, though I notice she keeps a small pouch, just in case. She surveys the room—piles of books, papers, the stuff of life—and chooses the best chair for herself.
“I told you so.”
Slightly judgy, though I don’t take offense.
She settles in, leaving me to figure out what she knows and when I should have learned my lesson. I pour us both a glass of wine, the good bottle, of course.
I was hoping that when Sixty arrived, my best self would already be here. The self who is gracious, clever, fun, and (always) delightful. Older, but not old. Experienced, but not done. Smart, but still curious. The self with sassy short gray hair, stylish scarves, and fabulous earrings. Maybe not skinny, but certainly strong. A kayak on the car, intriguing reads on the shelves, and a passport full of stamps. Perhaps the self who knows her way around a semicolon, remembers how to hard boil eggs, and isn’t afraid of Marie Kondo and her tidy promises.
Instead, Sixty came on a regular Thursday, on the hottest week of the hottest month of the hottest summer. Dishes in the sink with a few fruit flies for company, projects that still require care and feeding, and a celebratory white hair saluting from my chin. There’s an embarrassing spot on the carpet from our dog, and he’s been gone for six years. It annoys me every time I see it, but I haven’t done a thing about it.
Though I’ve been counting the days, I wasn’t quite ready for Sixty.
Yet, this is it, isn’t it? This is the life with the lovely moments…plants that bloom, even when we forget to water, coffee shared, work that is creative and sometimes even meaningful. A partner, parents, and grown children. Blue skies, fresh peaches, eyes that can read. Arms to hug. Toes to touch. Friends who see all of me, and stick around despite what they’ve seen.
A roof, a bed, clean water, a garden, neighbors with babies in curls. Enough time, new ideas, good memories that stay, not-so-great memories with the sense to fade. Sun rising, moon shining, a few clouds and a hummingbird. Music, laughing and shadows through the trees. The bluest lake, proudest mountains, and a shiny city, close by. Cheese and chocolate, as a bonus.
Small and fine and precious and ordinary. Life—available right now with the stretchy waistband, one size fits all.
Sixty, you are welcome.