Today I entered a brand new decade. I turned 60. Yep. Just like that, I left my 50s. This past decade was a time of questioning the meaning of my life and the paths I walked. There were so many changes. Just when I set off on one journey, it would come to an end, and a new journey would begin. It was both exhausting and exhilarating. It was definitely a decade of discovery. My goodness — my whole life moved to an entirely different realm.
I learned to be more patient, kinder, and less reactive. I listened more and judged less. I grew to greatly appreciate the magnificence I see in the people I love, even more than I had before. Each person I love is such a treasure, such a magnificent treasure.
I discovered that my true friends REALLY, REALLY, REALLY have my back. They have demonstrated that repeatedly. No matter what, they have embraced me in times of triumph and loss.
I learned that life does NOT come to a screeching halt if someone misjudges me or rejects me. Now granted, it still does come as a shock if a person I thought DOES care actually doesn’t. But do you know what? as the new decade unfolds I realize that I already have way more than my share of people who love me. Even after times that left me feeling shattered, I find that my loved ones have the glue that helps reassemble me. I cannot afford to obsess over the times and people who shattered me. They are not worthy of that kind of attention, and my refusal to forgive is not worthy of me! That is SO yesterday! I am certain that they did the best they could.
During the past 10 years, I worked at my church for a couple of years, attended to the home fires before and after that for a bit, and tutored for the past 7 years and counting. Both working for the church and tutoring have been sources of joy and renewal. It gave me a chance to give and grow. It continues to give me the chance to re-ignite the downhearted and help them move towards their own brand of magnificence. (Of course the chance to teach the subject material is a great thing as well).
So, as I assess the state of my life I see that my path is far different from many of my college classmates and the peers of my generation. Many of them are “super stars” in the business world or as volunteers. Some of them are gorgeous beauties to boot. I am none of these. Despite my big career plans after getting my MBA decades ago, my career (by the world’s standards) is small, maybe even insignificant by their standards.
My ways are simpler and littler. But my students are twinkling stars. They take my breath away as they grow, change, work, and strive. To be a part of that is a privilege. I would not exchange that for a Wall Street job. I cannot imagine my life without the students I have had.
To be a wife to my dear husband, and a mom to my lovely son are true blessings. Our sweet family of 3 is a well-oiled machine. I am grateful for what I have.
I have friends in town and around the country who love me and I them. How lucky can one girl be?
I am grateful for who God and my loved ones continue to help me become.
So what does the next year and decade have in store? I do not know. I will tell you this, though. I will rejoice in the life I have. I will pray. I will live life to the fullest. I will continue to work on the books I have been writing. I will get to the beach more often, and to the mountains as well. I will stop to notice the sunrises and sunsets more often than I have during the past 10 years. I will love more, give more, laugh more, and relax more.I want to accumulate mountains of grace, joy, perseverance, love, laughter, and beauty.
So each day, I want to venture forth with my heart and arms wide open. I will embrace the world, and seize the day.
The gift I have today is the gift of the ones who REALLY do love me. They “get me”. The gift I have today is also the opportunity I have to love each person in my life. I also have the gift of the opportunity to forgive. Resisting that last opportunity makes the ropes on my sails so tight that my sails rip apart.
Recently, God has mended those sails which had been torn asunder. So now, I head into the open sea. By forgiving, the ropes are no longer too tight. “Sail on silver girl. sail on by. your time has come to shine, all your dreams are on their way”.
The next stage will be full of sunshine, storms, joys, sorrows, laughter, tears, sickness, health, work, relaxation. Sail on!
As I sail on, I remember many wonderful birthdays in days gone by: surprise birthday parties; family birthday parties; small gatherings; larger gatherings; and all the birthdays yet to come. I head into today, as Dr. Seuss would say, “with my head full of brains, and my shoes full of feet”….
and a shout out to ALL of my beloved ya-yas, friends, cousins, and others.