Friday, 14 August 2015

Reflections on Turning 60

Time to grow up? 

In some ways, you do begin your second childhood when you enter your 60's.  Rather than being focused on what other people think of you, you become more interested in having some fun again. Another kick at the can, so to speak. On the other hand, if your parents are still living, you can no longer lean on them with your problems, expect them to bail you out. The roles have switched. You are now the caregiver, looking out for their safety and well being. For me, it made me feel like I was truly an adult. I was totally responsible for my own life, with the added responsibility of caring for my parents. 

When I was young, I thought 60 was ancient. You were considered past your prime, over the hill, a senior, an old bag etc. Now that I have reached that milestone, I honestly don't feel all that different. Certainly not old! A few aches and pains, a bit of memory loss, but I still have my curiosity, the drive to learn new things, intact. I enjoy talking to people of all ages, learning their history, story, valuable information. If I don't experience it first hand, the internet has made it possible to connect with people from all over the world. The isolation and loneliness of my youth has long been banished. I am of the generation that may have initially sworn off using new technology. I did. That included microwave cooking, ATM use, computers and then the dreaded Smartphone. Now, I embrace them all. Microwaves, not so much because of the possible effects on food chemistry. I love digital photography. Being able to view, edit and share images in minutes is very exciting.

I must admit that turning 60 this May, put me in a bit of a funk. I even went off Google for a while. I was depressed. I thought of all the projects I hadn't finished and probably wouldn't complete, all the things that I may never do. Teaching overseas for one. I had started an English course to that end and withdrew. I usually don't give up easily. Over 20 years ago, I had to put my teaching career on hold due to a car accident that left me unemployable for 3 years. After 26 job interviews, the last 3 years ago to teach in Abu Dhabi, I had to except the fact that I was never going to get another teaching job. Thankfully, the United Arab Emirates position fell through.  I wouldn't have been able to help my parents, keep them in their lovely home and country property they worked so hard to build and landscape. I would have also had a more stressful life  as a day care supervisor and would been away from my son, who still needed me. 

What lies ahead? Based on the example of my parents, friends and relatives, life can be enjoyed as long as you keep a positive outlook and live a healthy lifestyle. Don't focus on the negative aspects of aging. Get out and smell the roses, the woods, immerse yourself in new hobbies and interests. Read a good book that not only entertains, but teaches you something about history, other cultures. Plunking yourself in front of the TV, becoming a couch potato, will shorten your life and you won't really live anyway. You will just come to exist. Nourish your friendships and value your family ties. It is people that make life worthwhile. Above all, have faith!