Life Can Really Begin After 60
What is Age Appropriate?
When I was a little girl I and my two sisters were raised and trained to understand that most things we wanted to do would come with time and age. I couldn't drink coffee, stay up after 7:00 p.m. or wear stockings/nylons and heels.
The term "age appropriate" was not used then, but a more common term was "you're not old enough yet." So often I would ask to do something already knowing the answer, but I would ask anyway!
So, as I waited and grew, drinking coffee with more milk than coffee was finally offered (what was the big deal of that?) When the day came for buying my first pair of stockings I was so excited. I was about 11.
My skinny legs couldn't even hold them up, so they sort of sagged around my ankles. Pantyhose, which allow for a more perfect fit were not developed at that time (watch it) and with the garter belt technique your stockings either fit perfectly or your spent all day adjusting.
My sisters were right behind me trying to get dibs on whatever I had forged through to get for myself. "Well Barbara drinks coffee; well Barbara can stay up; well Barbara wears nylons!" I noticed they never said "well Barbara goes to do the laundry!"
Those heels with the pointy toes; you know, the ones that can kill bugs in the smallest corner?; well they were beautiful and at age 14, I held my head high as I walked the ten blocks to the subway for church. By the time I got home I needed orthopedic surgery (see my article on this subject.)
Finally I was able to watch the late show on Friday evenings and even the late late show! LOL. One school night I begged to watch a program past my curfew. My parents consented and I was convinced that I had finally worn them down to do whatever I wanted. The next morning when my sisters were fresh for school, I felt I had been "slipped a mickey!" I was made to wash and eat breakfast. I almost broke my neck and drowned in my oatmeal. Well, the thrill was OVER and I went back to my 7:00 p.m. curfew with pleasure. My mom sure knew what she was doing.
The blurry vintage photos are myself and two sisters. We did everything together as a family.
Along the Way
Over the years I have lived my life in an "age appropriate" manner. Some habits just don't change. I must admit I sampled alcohol and went what we called "partying" a little early. Mom didn't want to hold the reigns too tight. But there was still curfew. Tell me why she was the only mother standing on the corner waiting for my sister and I to come home. We were only 2 hours late. Well, curfews and being grounded went hand-in-hand. It became a way of life. I couldn't wait to really become grown enough to do what I wanted.
It's so funny. I wanted to be 18, no 21, no 25 so I could rent a car, 30, hey hold on a minute I didn't ask for that! It is truly amazing how quickly the years go by. Now I am old enough to do anything but don't want "age appropriate!"
Sixty is the New Whatever
That's right. Whatever you want 60 to be, that's what it can be. Just look at AARP. Folks are skiing, skating, flying to China and Africa, I hear white water rafting is awesome and writing your first book in your senior years is like your first solo flight in a two-engine prop!
I love what I am doing now. There's nothing "appropriate" about it. I have etched out a new way of life since leaving the legal profession as an assistant to an awesome attorney for 31 years. Within those years I married, had my daughter, became a single parent and continued rearing her while ice skating, roller skating, jumping double-dutch, playing hot peas and butter, riding bikes, hitting the rides at Disney World and Six Flags. She is now 25 and I still am game for most of those things (no more roller coasters).
I've just finished writing the second series of a book for teenagers, became licensed and ordained as a minister, and creating a website for women. The sole person responsible for all of my successes is my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He enables me to do all of these things and more. I spent some years in depression regretting my failures.
My failed married troubled me much because my dream as a child was to marry and raise my children in a loving home. I imagined cooking and cleaning and going on family outings. It was all I wanted. It was devastating. As I got older, I felt I could never recapture any happiness. What would I do now? What could I do? As a child I always wrote stories. I loved literature and spent hours in my room reading the many books I'd taken out of the library. Now, at this age, I have completed something that gives me great pleasure!
I love cooking and do it well and have given my daughter a good home and life. I have developed valuable friendships and I love sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ and helping people. I am of worth and value and I have so much more I want to do!
As for my sisters we are now 62, 60 and 58 respectively. We have had very varied and interesting lives. My youngest sister spent 13years teaching in Beijing, China. She learned the language which she could add to that of the languages of Spanish and Italian. I think when she retires she'll spend some time brushing up on them. My middle sister was a missionary and is a gifted singer and accomplished writer (see 2besure here on hubpages).
In fact, as young sisters in the choir, my dad taught us how to read music and we each had our own instrument. I was first clarinet. They played piano and later one of them studied the cello. So you see, we all have so much to do now that child rearing is over!
I wake up in the morning and thank God to see a new day. If I awake at 3:00 a.m. and hear the birds singing, I say "I hear birds; I'm still alive! Thank you Jesus." I get a freshly brewed cup of coffee and try to spend time reading my Bible for encouragement and talk and sit quietly with the creator of the universe.
Later, I might write as I did today. Some days I stay in and others I go for walks because I know I need the exercise. Last week I joined Weight Watchers because I need to lose more than a few pounds. I go to the supermarket, or Walgreens, or pay some bills. I always hope to meet someone, greet them and let them know it's good to be alive. I let them know Jesus loves them. These are hard times. People need to have hope. That's what I do as a minister. I take classes and I plan trips. I have a list and hope to be packing for Charlotte, Atlanta, Colorado Springs (pray for them that the fires will end) and then hopefully Nassau, Bahamas where I have family. I have Aruba on my list and my church is going to Costa Rica. Anything is possible.
The Best Is Yet To Come
There so much more I can learn and do. I want to pull out those French tapes and get some music for the clarinet. Things I put down long ago but would like to pick up again. It's never too late.
So, instead of looking back at what I dreamed to do and didn't (see my hub on procrastination), I'm looking at what I have done and am grateful, and looking to those things I want to achieve and am excited. Each day is new, fresh and full of promise.
Yes, I'm beginning to love life more than ever. With excellent health, a vision for my future, a positive attitude and strength from God, I'm just getting started!
In every life there is difficult, pain, struggle and failure. However, we have the ability to look from a positive view and change what we can change and pray all ways.
Oh, and about that term "age appropriate"...I learned to knit and crochet when I was eight years old. Kids told me I was an old lady and that was for grannies in rocking chairs. Well, I'm no whistlers mother and I haven't knitted or crocheted in many years. Although I might go back to learning that too, it won't be because I have nothing else to do. It'll be because I want another challenge.
It is so very possible to love life at whatever age. It's not too late!