Does the coming end of 2020 feel like a blessing or a new beginning to you? As with so many things, it depends, doesn’t it?
If you turned 60 this year, or if you, like me, are starting to slide into 70 (I turn 68 in January), or if you’re like our founder, Margaret Manning, your 60s are already in the rear-view mirror. Consequently, this year might well have felt like a terrible waste.
So many things we couldn’t do, so many things we had to stop doing, so many new limitations. And for far, far too many of us, terrible losses.
However, if I may.
As with all things in our lives, you and I have choices. One of those choices is to decide how we frame our situations.
We can concentrate on our losses: our youth, our unlined faces, thighs without cellulite, a youthful pre-kids waistline, any number of body-image issues that you and I might have. By this time in our lives, we have also lost friends and family.
We can also concentrate on what we’ve gained: a modicum of wisdom, new perspectives and experience, the gravitas that only comes with losses and life lessons and failures and the hard-won ability to laugh in the face of life’s worst.
Your time is now. Our time is now. Here’s why.
This Inverse article points out what you and I probably already know but may not necessarily acknowledge: we only truly come into our own right around 60.
My goodness, what terrific news that is, for those of us who have, and my hand is up here, spent far too much time focusing on the physical and what we lose, rather than celebrating the wisdom and grace that only comes with age.
I didn’t even begin to take on what I loved best until the year I turned 60. My first book didn’t get born until 58, and the darn thing won three prizes. The only reason why is because by that time I’d been writing for so long, that my “first effort,” as it were, was hardly a first effort.
I’d long since put in my 10 thousand hours. My first book was more so the culmination of decades of hard work.
From the Inverse article:
“Interviews with 1,042 people aged 21 to more than 100 years old reveal that people tend to feel like their lives have meaning at around age 60. That’s the age at which the search for meaning is often at its lowest, and the ‘presence’ of meaning is at its highest, according to a new paper published this week in the journal Clinical Psychiatry.”
I can’t speak for you, but that’s superb news. Because while society in its infinite lack of wisdom begins to devalue you and me for the crime of aging, we are also rising into whom we were meant to be.
That is if we possess the wisdom to let go of chasing youth and focus more on what the aging processes have given us: the right to mentor, give back, and be in the fullness of our being without the intense pressures of perfection.
One reason I have so much respect for Margaret Manning is that she invested enormous amounts of time and treasure into creating something that serves that very population: you and me, post 60, at a time when society wants to shove our infertile selves aside for youth worship.
If we buy into that message, we stand to lose what we’ve just been given: Permission to be what we have spent six decades learning how to be: our best selves. Without the angst and frustrations of our early and middle years, you and I are free to concentrate on our best work.
We can delight in writing or travel (okay, okay, when the planes fly again, let’s be patient), in exploring not only the world but our inner worlds in ways we simply couldn’t before.
We have gifts to offer, whether that’s in a new business, or our own family circle, or the circle of friends we have crafted. How will you and I re-create our lives now that, finally, the pressure to live up to impossible standards can be set down?
I can’t speak for anyone else, only myself. Single at almost 68, I have no family but for those I cobble together. My “family” is stretched across 47 countries. As an adventure athlete (though a clumsy one), my life is full of variety and challenge and joy.
This would have been simply unimaginable in my 40s, when I still battled eating disorders and struggled with body image issues. Now free of both, I am living the life that was unimaginable 20 years ago.
This is my time. Your time. This is when we find out what we were always meant to be and give the world our considerable gifts. New lands appear on the horizon at 60.
Lands that we are far better equipped to explore, whether they are emotional, physical, mental, or spiritual, or any combination thereof. We are more ready to head towards those new horizons than ever we were at 20, 40 or even 50. For my part, that is the best possible news, even in a most difficult year.
How are you going to use the time you have now? What gifts have you been given that you can finally now unwrap and enjoy? What are the advantages of having turned 60?