I turned 58 today.
I have mixed emotions about this birthday. On one hand, I don’t really hold much weight in what number I am.
58, who cares.
But on the other hand, 58, like 48, 38, 28… feels like the age when you have to start accepting the new age bracket that’s rounding the corner. You are on deck for another chapter of life.
For the most part, I’ve never let my age tell me what I should be doing EXCEPT at key ages like :
10 = double digits
13 = teenager
16 = freedom to drive
18 = legal to vote and drink alcohol
21 = adulthood
Beyond those, birthday’s have just been a marking of time. But 58 . . . Something about this birthday feels different. I am almost 60. 60!!!!
I think what’s different about this birthday is all of the sudden I am feeling my runway is shorter.
Having a shorter runway means I no longer have the luxury of saying . . . “One day I’ll do XYZ”.
This realization is actually providing a bit of clarity for me and making me think about my life day to day rather than putting things off for later. When I think about it though it’s really a good thing.
But, if I am being honest, this clarity is also a bit sad, too. As the “I’ll do that one day” mentality starts to dissipate, I’m realizing that I won’t be all that I imagined I would be. I am now having to choose what I can realistically do based on time and the quality of which I want to do something.
For instance, despite my childhood dream of learning how to play one of my favorite Mozart’s pieces I now realize I will never be an accomplished piano player. Not because I can’t do it, it’s just that there are many things I’d like to do before I dedicate the time to accomplishing that.
That clarity smacks you right in the face and can be a real sense of failure or disappointment for many.
The realization of my shorter runway helps me know what I want out of my life. It takes some work to sit down and think about what I want. But, getting aligned with my values is a terrific exercise and helps me know I am on track.
I’ve always looked to my elders (even if they’re just 5 years older) to see what’s coming.
How are they navigating this next age group? What changes do I see in them? How are they embracing the changes in their bodies as they chug along in life? How are they harnessing life? I am constantly trying to see what I can glean from them so I feel prepared and ready.
I remember when I turned 40 I got a subscription to MORE magazine and so many of my friends made fun of me. “Why are you trying to be older?” they asked. “I’m not. I just want to know what is coming and how to do it as best I can!”.
From what I can tell, your 60’s feels like the decade that life really picks up and is full of changes. Changes can be hard but I like to try to find the good in every situation. For instance, if you’ve raised children, you’re probably readjusting to your new family life as an empty nester. That change brings sadness but also freedom and excitement for what is possible. I know for me, I will become an empty nester in 33 days after being an in-house on-call mom for 8751 days. So as I am entering a new sense of family life I’m wondering what other changes will happen in this next decade?
I personally think our 60’s is the decade to take life by the reins.
That’s why knowing who you are and what you want to do with the rest of our lives is so important. I work with my clients every week on this subject. Sometimes being honest with ourselves and realizing that our runway is shorter can create a bit of motivation to live our lives as best we can. I know the last thing I ever want to do is to get to the end of my life and feel like I wasted my precious time on earth.
I think about my life now – I am healthy, active, and curious. I am a mother of 3. A wife. A daughter, sister, sister-in-law, a loyal friend to many, and a coach to so many amazing women. I love my life and I don’t want 1 thing to change. But life is all about changes so I need to accept that and make sure I am doing everything each day to make sure I can continue this life I love. Physically and mentally.
I recently saw a post on IG of someone who turned 60 who said, “It’s my birthday. Bring it on 60. I have been preparing for you!”
That’s the paradigm shift that we all need to have. If we want to have a quality older life then we need to do the work now.
We cannot expect to be physically agile in our older life if we do not move and work on our strength, and balance now.
We cannot expect to have quality relationships in our older life if we do not put the work into those relationships now.
We cannot expect to have radiant skin as we age if we don’t take care of it day to day with SPF, moisturizer, etc.
You can apply this to all areas of your life that is meaningful to you – finances, hobbies, community…
We have to prepare for a quality older life. It doesn’t just happen by chance.
So, as I blow out my candles tonight and celebrate with my family and friends (including my 88 year old parents), I am going to make my focus this next year all about doing what I can do each day to prepare for the next birthday, and the next, and the next . . .