Ode to the past, present and future

~ On the Other Side of Sixty ~

Of late I have been in a deep introspective place in my heart and mind.  I guess it's normal as one approaches a big life event. Dealing with sudden rushes of sadness followed by tears, dread, then laughter and feelings of well being as I struggled with the issue of turning sixty this coming November 26th. How did it happen so quickly? I don't feel any different. I think the way I have always thought, albeit hopefully, with a little more wisdom. Well, of course my body has new little aches, my eyeglass prescription has been changed several times over the last few years to where I now must wear them all the time if I want to read something or work on my computer.  For the first time I am actually looking back over my life!

Has it really been 37 years since I first walked the halls of my first college - filled with the dreams of a starry-eyed freshman already counting the days until I would become a PhD. and professor of archaeology? Studying the ancient past to better understand the human condition, pondering what once was and considering how it might help us follow more straightly our path to becoming better at being human? Of course I was going to change the world!

Recently I was in contact with one of my beloved anthropology professors only to discover he had retired and had cancer. The ensuing shock accompanying the fact that he was the last of the anthropology department as I had known it.

Many of my professors had passed away at terribly early ages soon after I graduated and went off to graduate school, all unbeknownst to me at the time but nonetheless painful as I discovered this truth. I suddenly felt a gaping hole inside me - the kind you feel when you lose something or someone so close to you that they are a part of you.

The sadness was overwhelming. I was mourning not only my professors' absence but also all those bright shiny unfulfilled lost dreams.  The feelings were so totally new to me and flooded my mind so quickly I could do nothing but sit down and cry, and cry, and cry some more. Eventually as the tears subsided the emptiness that will never again be filled as it once was made a new void in my heart.

Now as I am a mere few days away from this right of passage I still have mixed emotions, some sad and some happy.  Not living in a society that reveres it's "Elders," where things are all youth oriented it is a challenge to "Grow Old Gracefully"; however, I am determined to leave my own unique statement upon this life colloquium.

Then I was a starry eyed anthropology student, a lover of nature, photographer, wife of a doctor, gardener, music lover, animal lover and free spirit.

Today I am a wife of another, artist, free spirit, gardener, medievil music lover, photographer, painter, writer, animal lover, naturalist, avid reader, blog designer, weaver, confirmed vanilla lover, and rescuer of worms from puddles, and spiders from the rain.

~Growing Old Gracefully~

Comments

First of all Happy Birthday for a few days time! I hope that you have a wonderful day and a great year ahead. I don't think that 60 is old at all. It will be upon us all one day - hopefully - and 60 is certainly not "old" anymore. In fact, I would say that most 60 year olds seem to think that they are about 50 or even 40 in the way they act and live. Live your life as you wish and enjoy your life and I hope that it brings only wonderful things to you. xx
Pam said…
Thanks for sharing a little of your history Beth! I'm coming up on a milestone too in a few years, 50. Wow, don't want to hear that!! LOL
Mereknits said…
I think it is hard to embrace aging as we are changing and sometimes in more pain and able to do less. But I am trying. I turned 50 this year and I am trying to be okay with my wrinkles, gray hair and where I am in life. Blessing to you dear Beth as you turn 60.
Hugs,
Meredith
Quinn said…
Hi Beth - I read this post on Brain Pickings just before visiting your blog, and I thought you might like it, too:
http://www.brainpickings.org/2014/11/24/anne-lamott-small-victories-grief/
Hugs,
Quinn
What a lovely, thoughtful post Beth! I'm actually looking forward to getting older. As long as you can stay healthy and active, I think there's a lot to look forward to beyond 60. Enjoy it!
Jules Woolford said…
That is such a thought provoking and heart felt post Beth! But don't forget my friend, 60 is the new 40! X
I'm older than you...and I'm really enjoying my 60s! Just keep moving! lol And being creative makes a world of difference and look at all the wonderful art you do! Hugs, Diane
111 LaLa Lane said…
First of all, Happy Birthday! Honey! Age is just a state of mind. Get out a kick up your heels and enjoy this time of your life. Love the look of your new blog. Look forward to more.