I had always considered turning sixty would be a defining moment in my life. I believed I would be at one with myself, comfortable and secure in my place in the world, calm and at peace. Two years ago, when my whole world turned upside down, I questioned whether that would ever be possible. Previously I wrote of seeing my life as a tree passing through seasons. After my youth of spring and the happy summer of motherhood, in the autumn of my life I felt my tree had been cut down and I had plunged into an early winter of despair.
However, after some time, I realised that the roots of my tree (family) and my trunk (experience) had not been destroyed. Moreover, I was growing new branches (friendships and opportunities) and I had managed to save some seeds from my younger years. Then as I saw green sprouting all around me, I realised I had reached a new spring, and some of those saved seeds I had already planted and they were beginning to grow.
These are the seeds that I saved and this is where they have come from:
- Kindness: Although living a hard life herself, bringing up nine children through two world wars and the depression, my grandmother always knew someone older or sicker or more lonely who needed her help. My grandmother taught me kindness.
- Pride: My father did not see me graduate or marry yet his look of pride in me, whenever I did anything of value, is imprinted in my memory.
- Laughter: One of my uncles, taken from us too young, filled our family gatherings with fun and laughter.
- Serenity. My aunt who died of cancer at age 33 was always serene and calm.
- Boldness: My cousin nearest to me in age was killed in a car accident on his 21st birthday. He was daring. I was cautious. I still hear his voice ‘go on, you can do it’ that urges me on to begin things I am afraid to try.
- Courage and resilience: My mother lost her mother, sister, husband, an aunt, two brothers, two friends, and two nephews over an eight year period. Widowed at 47, she worked for the next twenty years in order to educate my two younger brothers and provide for her own retirement. She never complained and has been the rock of support for everyone else in our large extended family.
- Fairness, Standing up for others: When I was about ten a friend of mine taunted a disabled girl in front of me and I said nothing. When my mother found out she said to me “if someone ridicules someone less fortunate and you do not defend them, it is as if you said the words yourself”. My mother taught me to stand up for fairness.
- Community: My mother and father were community minded people.
- Wisdom, tenacity, endurance, gratitude, hope and optimism: from my mother
(my mother is 87 after-all, and she keeps throwing me more and more seeds)
- Family and loyalty: As well as sharing happy times, my large extended family and close friends continually support me and each other, no matter what.
- Belief in me: My sister and best friend have shown an unswerving belief in me
- Parental love: I had a strong belief as a mother of not only doing things for my children, but also doing things with my children; coupled with family togetherness.
- Patience, humility: My four beautiful children have taught me patience and humility.
- Justice, Free Speech, Humanitarianism, Ethical Science, Protection of the Environment: My whole family including all my children have lived by these beliefs and have spoken up for these as essential elements in a free compassionate society.
So how do I feel my life is for me at sixty?
A new spring. A new beginning. A new chance. A new opportunity.
I will begin by continuing to plant those seeds I have listed and keep nurturing them into the future. .
I wish you very happy sixties, dear Elizabeth. You sound very positive. For sure this is a very good start to the new decade in your life. Enjoy it! There’s still so much for you to enjoy and to live life to the full. Much love and best Wishes, Uta. 🙂
It is actually great turning sixty… people do not expect so much of me and I do not have to feel guilty for having an occasional day of sitting back doing not much.
I always think since I am to turn eighty this year it is quite all right for me to slow down and take it easy. In a way I find this much less stressful than having always on my mind a hundred things I am expected to do. Well, I would say it is good to slow down a bit even when you are ‘only’ sixty. Enjoy your leisure time! 🙂
Well I only get those ‘leisure’ days for a day here or there, but they are good to have when I get them 🙂
What a beautiful awareness and those seeds so filled with love, compassion, grace and growth. You are growing tall and strong and beautiful!
Thanks so much for you continued support.
Each decade just use getting better and better!
So right… 🙂
What I see is a tree with a strong sense of self. This was a solid piece of writing, Elizabeth–all encompassing and deeply rooted. Happy (Re)Birthday!
Thanks. I do feel more comfortably grounded than I did previously. slowly getting there and thanks for the continued support. 🙂
Very beautiful and profound, Elizabeth. You make me see how life in your sixties can be a wonderful blessing. x
I think it will be…. and I have a vision of serenity…
it is coming, it is coming 🙂
Your Spring is a glorious thing. Thank you for sharing these seeds and making the world a more beautiful place.
thank you for your support.
Happy birthday! I love the concept implied here that the past is best viewed as experiences and learning.
Ah yes… but there are two parts to the past.
The old past and the new past… which is which?
Great explanation about the Seasons of our Lives. I am almost there, turning 59 in November. I feel that my roots are strong, family is fairly solid, I will always worry about my past and hope that my future will hold some surprises and possibly a hand to hold and partner… Good list of your seeds from which you grew and seeds you gave to your children, too. Wonderful post! Smiles, Robin
Thanks. It is great looking back and remembering happy times with loved ones gone; and sharing the memories of those times with those still with me …
Thanks for your kind comment
The memories help fill in the holes in our lives and the new times help give us hope for the future! I enjoy your posts and am grateful for your ‘being there’ liking mine! Smiles, Robin
I enjoy your posts too. When I ‘like’ it means I have read them…. sometimes I am in a busy whirl and have not the time to comment but I have enjoyed them and thanks do much for your support of me.
Sixty is no longer old age. You are set to make the most of this sexagenarian decade and will reap the rewards! Happy Birthday 😀 xx
I think I will make it my decade of cultural experience …. so much in that area I would like to explore. 🙂
With your new perspective–and the memories of your family and friends–you have defeated discouragements before they can attack your new decade, Elizabeth. It’s a special time to take a deep breath and be grateful for all you’ve learned…and then smile at the calendar and prepare for new and equally wonderful new lessons. This is my fourth year of “life in the 60s” and I’m constantly pleased and amazed.
Expect a beautiful new decade!
I am starting to make many great plans…. and I feel a serenity coming on.
Thanks for your support.
Wonderful post, a great new beginning for the next decade! 🙂
Thanks. I feel strangely calm about it….. in fact happily calm.
Thanks for stopping by 🙂
I’m not there yet, but am married to a man who is past the 60’s. It was an amazing decade for him. I would have said the best of his life, except now I have to say that this year is the best of his life.
Not everyone chooses to grow through life. It appears to me that many decide to stagnate. I like to be around those amazing people, like you, and like my husband, who choose wisdom and growth. You inspire me!
Thanks. I think it is one of the gifts of divorce that i am actually looking forward to this decade.
A year ago I was dreading it because I wanted so much to retire and knew that i would not be able to.
Now a year later, I am glad that I will not be retiring because I have so much yet to accomplish. 🙂
Yes you do! 😀
I don’t plan on ever retiring. I might change courses, and do something new or different or slower at some point.
Ken is definitely not retired, although he’s officially “retired” from his former “business.” But he’s always up to something new. I think traditional retirement would kill us both.
My mother is 87 and I have to plan any visit around her activities and she usually only has brief “free” days here and there. It is a good way to be. “Wear out, don’t rust out.”
Thanks. It is amazing how much my thoughts are going back to my very young years and I am remembering so much of what they passed on to me. It may seem a strange thing to say but I am starting to see some real advantages of being single and being able to take my life in exactly the direction I want. This is incredibly uplifting.
Doesn’t sound strange at all Elizabeth…
PS. This is not my ‘turning sixty’ vision post I said I would write… that is still to come although I think it will take me a year to write it 🙂
Pingback: My ‘turning sixty’ resolution … to live by my core values. | Almost Spring
Pingback: Adjusting my vision | Almost Spring
Pingback: Love under a rainbow | Almost Spring