"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
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.