Now that I’ve settled into age 60, I have a few observations.
One over-arching theme of 60 is humility. It’s humbling to recognize that so many cliches about one’s – ahem –advanced years are now true. Attention young people: Yes, I'm talking to you 59-year-old whippersnappers. Please take notice when your elders offer these thoughts because your day will come sooner than you think.
Now don’t tell me about those rare birds running marathons at 90 or Betty Giboney holding down a full-time Courier-Times reporter’s job at 78 by day and keeping up with her ballet exercises by night. I’m talking about those regular earthlings among us whose hearing, knees and hips offer a challenge or three.
Down side: I know that my hearing isn’t what it was. Up side: my lip reading has improved because Brian has been telling me that my hearing is failing for so long that I don’t have to hear the words, only watch his mouth move. Curiously, I have no problem hearing my knees creak.
But there’s more good news! I’d always heard that older people don’t need as much sleep and that they get up by choice at ridiculously early hours. Well, it’s true. It started happening to me pretty suddenly. I don’t mind rising at 5:45 a.m. I’m up at least a couple times in the night as it is and sometimes then I find myself thinking, Good. I’ve only got another hour before it’s a respectable time to stay awake.
I enjoy that early hour alone to sip black coffee and quietly welcome the day. I also find that I now need the extra time to make myself presentable because I clearly deteriorate in the night. Getting up early means I don’t have to rush. I’m tired of rushing. I like a slower pace, and if you can’t have a slower pace at 5:45 a.m., when can you?
That’s supposed to be a rhetorical question, but the answer might be 7:30 p.m. when I’m sometimes ready for bed. And hey, that’s just science; everything has an equal and opposite reaction.
What I also notice is how quickly time not only rushes by, but seems to evaporate before my eyes. I will think of a story I wrote two years ago only to find that I actually penned it six years ago. Or say we visited my brother and sister-in-law in Liberty a month ago. Then I find out that no, it was actually two months ago.
I don’t know how it is that we find ourselves in 2019. Time travel? If the world doesn't stop revolving so fast, I'm going to need a seatbelt installed in my easy chair.
My church-women’s life group is called the Midlife Moms, or MLMs for short. What a difference a dozen years make. At age 48, we were legit at midlife. After all, if we lived to be 96, which of course we all intended to do, as though we had any say in the matter, we were midlifers with years to spare. Even at 52, we could each name someone we knew who made it to 104. So sure, we could claim midlife.
But at 60? That means we’d have to live to 120 to truly be at midlife right now! OK, we’re officially pushing it.
What I also know about 60, though, is that traditional time tables have shifted. For years I compiled mental lists of my best stories in case I needed the clips for future job opportunities. Brian checked out the job boards to keep an eye on what administrative positions were open. Just in case, you know.
Or we’d talk about how “someday we’d like to visit there,” regarding a vacation spot.
What I know now is that we’re no longer interested in future career moves to something bigger and better. Brian is retired and doesn't want to run anything. And if we’re going to visit a certain vacation spot, build a dream house, or even buy a new sofa, it's time.
Yes, it’s time to fill that bucket list with ideas for what's next. And to use the good bubble bath.
The time is now to keep writing regular devotions about God’s input in my ordinary life, something that I enjoyed and felt challenged by last year. The time is also now to do my best to get and stay as healthy as is within my ability – knowing that health of every kind is priceless.
And maybe, we should think about renaming our ladies life group. A friend in Ohio mentioned that in her church, women of a certain age have a group called WOW. I would like to be a WOW. What woman wouldn’t?
In her church, the group stands for Wise Older Women. Yes, that’s it! I would like to be a WOW! And I would like to start NOW.
Donna Cronk is Neighbors editor of The Courier-Times and edits the quarterly her magazine for women. This column originally appeared in the Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019 issue.