Thursday, March 14, 2019

Where The Journey to 60 Ends

"So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day."  ... 2 Corinthians 4:16


Out at the farm on March 16, 2009, I stared into the bathroom mirror and thought, "Ugh. You're 50 today. In the 4th grade you wrote about Grandma being in her 50's--and she was old!"

Oh dear. It took me exactly one year to recover from turning 50. (Seriously.)

Then on my 51st birthday? I stared into the same mirror and told myself, "Get a grip!" I'd moved even deeper into my 50's and no way could I step backwards into my 40's, the decade I'd adored.

So I did. Get a grip, that is.

And slowly, my 5th decade got better. Oh, there were bumps, but God picked me up and really, He kept reminding me about 'guarding my heart', watching my attitude. And when I did? I healed faster.


On my 59th birthday, I determined 60 would not shove me around like 50 did. Instead, I'd spend the upcoming year preparing my mind for entering a whole new ancient decade.

I would arrive prepared for 60.

Oh, some friends told me, "Ignore the whole thing! It's just a number!" But eh. That felt all wrong for me.

No, I felt the need to emotionally get ready. Hey, I even chose a theme verse--

"Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom."   ... Psalm 90:12

Cool verse, right? And although some days I said, "Man, I don't want to turn 60," (and yes, I'd be reminded of the alternative), still, I noted what God was showing me about growing older--and those truths helped support me, like a cushion.

Also, they made this year feel more like an adventure, rather than a dreaded thing.

If there's something you wish to do, a legacy you want to leave? Better start now. 

And what you begin--finish. Refuse to bog down in discouragement.

Don't resent having to make changes. You won't be able to do forever what you did your first 50 years. Tweak the way you do things to fit the version of you you are now.

Ask for help, but never feel helpless. Much is still in your power to change, especially your attitude. 

Be ok with slowing down. With not rushing in mind or body. With not changing direction in a hurry, only to become dizzy. Work smarter, not harder.

Life goes by so fast. Extreme daily gratitude will slow it down a bit in a wonderful way.

Complaining is a waste, especially if it doesn't challenge you to make changes. Bitter old ladies started out as simple, average complainers.

Visit your memories--but don't camp there too long. 'Do not say the former days were better than these.'  (Ecclesiastes 7:10).

Appreciate that the wisdom you've gained through these long years is helping you make better choices. And now let it keep your attitude right, positive while moving forward.

Wonderful times are ahead.

Well, you get it.

And you know? When I turn 60 on Saturday, I'll thank God for slowing me down during my 59th year and teaching, helping me to face a whole new decade. This one will not blow me away because He helped prepare my mind for it--

---and as with any decade, He will be the best part of this new one, as well. I can't imagine walking into any decade (or day) without Him.

"Take control of the second half of your life. Dream about it, wonder about it, and think boldly about what you want. And take the first step, which is usually the hardest."     -------- Charles R. Schwab


Also, as part of my Journey to 60 I finally replaced one of my high school yearbooks which I'd given away decades ago (long story). It's from my sophomore year and I bought it cheaply via Ebay.

The wild thing? It had belonged to my freshman (and partly sophomore) year boyfriend(!) 

Gulp. Now, that just felt plain weird. (Oh, and as far as I know, he's still living, so don't panic or anything.)

Anyway, it gets weirder

The 16 year-old me had signed that yearbook. And it was after aforementioned boyfriend and I had broken-up. And what I wrote was, oh my goodness--so passive-aggressive. Man, I nearly fainted.


Now, every once in awhile God shows me that yeah, that old passive-aggressive thing can still slip out of me in areas where He and I haven't quite worked on.

But this yearbook signature thing! Oh my. It wasn't blatantly bad (I was never a mean girl), just subtly, but still. I felt mortified. Argh.  I had to forgive myself (that's important, you know) and remind myself I was only 16 at the time.  (Hey, there was that.) ッ

Well anyway, this next part was cool.

See this picture?

That's me under where I'd written 'Debbie.' (The next summer, I changed it to Debra.)  

And what would I tell that young girl? I'd say, "Love God with all your heart and just do what He asks. No matter if you do it alone or if no one else seems to understand. Keep it that simple--and you'll be fine."

Now, on many levels, I treasure that photo, but a favorite level? On my right is my friend, Linda, the same friend who, with her husband, Guy (who also attended school with us) visited Tom and me back in 2012.

And here we all are--

And how special is it that? Linda and I have kept in-touch with letters, Christmas cards, emails and Facebook starting when we were merely 16, the year my family moved away.

It is special. And much appreciated.

Happy sigh.



Betsy said...

What an inspiring post Debra. And early happy birthday to you! As you know, we share a common age. I’m 59 also. I honestly haven’t had any problem as I’ve gotten older. Maybe 60 will be the one that hits me between the eyeballs. I hope not. And if it does I can always come back here and re-read your post. I love the story of the yearbook. Isn’t it funny the things we would go back and change if we could? Hopefully we don’t continue with those “passive aggressive” actions as we grow older and hopefully wiser. You have posted some wonderful advice today. I hope you have a wonderful birthday my friend.
Blessings, Betsy

K.E. said...

So that's how you know Fawn...and through that connection - me. :)

Pam said...

Sending you a big birthday hug, dear friend. Although we've never met, face-to-face, you have become a true inspiration to me and many others. You're turning 60 on Saturday and I'm turning 65 next Saturday--WOW!!! We should be brimming with wisdom, right? Well, this post certainly is full of wisdom. Thank you for sharing your insights with us. It takes time and effort, and you are such a consistent, faithful blogger. I pray that God will bless you in a special way on your birthday and every single day that follows. XOXO

Deb said...

Happy birthday tomorrow, Debra! I loved this post! You know, 40 didn't faze me. 50 didn't faze me. But 60 about did me in. Not turning 60. Oh, was anticipating turning 60. I cried, I railed, I was all ridiculous! The day of my birthday came. I got a speeding ticket for going...wait for it...60 in a 40 zone. The cop didn't even give me a break for it being my birthday. But ever since then, life is back to being grand. And everything you said is true. It's just a number. And God knows the number of our days. I intend to savor every one! I pray you have a lovely birthday, but most of all, just keep being the one and only YOU! You are a blessing to so many! (And wow do you ever look like your daughter in that photo!)

Debi @ Tuesdays Child said...

Happy Belated Birthday, Debra! I hope your day was as special as you are. (Hugs)

Debra said...

Betsy--thans so much for your birthday wishes! If you're not 'feeling the squeeze' of turning 60 in a few months, then you'll probably be fine. heh. As for the passive aggressive thing? I'm thinking many quiet/introverted types probably do it more than they think. It's an interesting thing--only after the fact do I notice it in myself. Alas! :)

Kim--aha! Now the mystery is solved. (I wish Fawn had been in that photo, as well. Fun!)

Pam--wow! Thank-you so much for your kind words of encouragement. I always appreciate them--and you,my friend!

Deb--as I mentioned at Facebook, I so enjoyed your comment! So nice to know I wasn't the only one sometimes experiencing nail-biting moments before turning 60. :)

Debi--thanks so much for reading here faithfully and for being sweet!

Thanks, Everyone, for helping make my 60th birthday something to remember. Blessings, Debra