When I turned 60, I felt it was a very amazing, profound even sad thing. I had lived so long! On the downside, single, in debt, barely getting by and full of pain.
When I recently turned 61, I glibly congratulated myself on living another year and hoped and wondered if I will make it to 62. Things I never thought about when I was “young”. With age, “young” and “youth” become relative. I felt my usual melancholia of a birthday when I turned 61. I realized more pain and the same debt. Trying to keep the same car I have had for so long and keep a decent humble life style. I have pains I fear may need surgery in shoulder and knee from working 38 years in the factory. My insurance under the Obamacare plan would not cover it. My employer is a cheap bastard that does not care for his workers. Only making money for himself with few if any real benefits for the workers.
At 61, I am scraping by. When my body is full of pain and I do not feel like moving, I know I HAVE TO and my mind pushes the flesh to life and movement.
I remember how, when young and living with my parents so long ago, I would listen to my father complain about HIS aches and pains. I smirked about it then and now know something of how HE felt. I want to go back in time and wipe that youthful smirk off my y0ung self face.
When we are young, we are immortal. Death is beyond our awareness and imagining. We fall off a bicycle, cry seeing a skinned knee then treated and dry eyed we get back up on that bike. DEATH is something incomprehensible to youth. Or something we refused to believe in.
I recall as a child, we children would find a dead bird or some dead animal and bury it in a place. It was littered with popsicle stick and other stick crosses. We imitated the adults burying people. We had little thought about WHAT those crosses meant. MAYBE we assumed there was an afterlife for the dead animals. Few of us knew loss.
But we learned.
We learned too as we entered our teens that we DO break and die. Some were sent off to a distant place to die in a war few supported. I was so young then that I recall seeing bodies of young men and civilians of all ages. DEAD. Messy dead. Not coming back. Not coming back to life.
In my life I almost died 5 times. At 18 months of spinal meningitis. Falling through pond ice. Suicide. Jumping off a cliff at night when very very drunk. Driving very drunk often. Does it count that a dentist told me I was hours away from dying from an infection in my jaw?
So close, you see.
At 61 I have reached this plateau and look into tomorrow to reach another in my life climb. There will be more pain,
But there will be more Joy.
There will be increased Wisdom with the pain and joy.
There will be more loneliness.
There will be greater deeper friendships with learning empathy, compassion, greater loving kindness.
There will be more medications I will need….
Yet no more self-medicating with alcohol, smoking and drugs. A part of the “Wisdom” was learning to give up what hurts me…
… Including the white flour white sugar heavy salt and meats I have been EATING FOR MY BIRTHDAY! (I start that this coming week. AGAIN.)
I find that my memories and care about my past becomes weaker and lesser. Did what happen in the past really mean so much? What meaning does it have NOW? Do any of THOSE people I once knew matter? They are not here now. I am not in their now.
At times I think of past loves and lovers and wonder about them. Then I laugh and think I do not matter to them because they, like I, moved on from that long ago time.
There is no need to “forgive”. We cannot change the past nor those we knew in our past. They cannot change us. What we can do is let go of the past and those we knew then. To live NOW in this moment with all those around us and part of us.
There is a need to LET GO.
Of resentments past and present.
Of worries and fears that are mostly IMAGINARY.
Move forward into NOW and the now of Tomorrow.
With MIND, work like a mechanic on an old car that this body is, to maintain it. Crippled by lack of spare parts, keeping alive what there IS.
Dying very slowly,
Yet growing growing growing….
Remembering how so many of my past Elders became bitter, hateful and angry.
Choosing to NOT be like them and remember that child inside that never died… he just falls deeper and deeper back inside … inside the layers of age.
Choosing to smile more, laugh more, give more and ADD more to the lives of others and NOT be burdened as so many others are with fear, hate and the anger that rises from both.
Choosing to continue to reach for and chase that PEACE so Elusive in life I sought for so long and will continue to chase and seek and sometimes FIND and in finding realize…
Hey you old bastard you finally grew up … embracing the Positives.