I am closing in on a milestone birthday. On Sunday, I reached the Biblical lifetime allotment of three score and 10 years.
Celebrating ages that end in zero or five usually prompts some soul-searching, which can be a bit daunting. We ponder what we have or have not achieved and usually fall short of our expectations. We can become a little depressed.
Oddly enough, the most depressing birthday for me was 35. I recalled the Biblical 70 years and thought, “My life is half over and what have I done with it?” I remembered all the great writers who accomplished their whole life’s work and died before 35. I guess by the next milestone I had become resigned to the idea that I would probably never achieve greatness. Therefore, I could greet the milestones with a more relaxed frame of mind.
This must be a good couple of months for milestone birthdays. A friend recently celebrated the big five-oh, and her employer gave her flowers. Another friend will turn 90 next month. This puts me right in the middle.
In spite of all the angst about what I have not accomplished in the average lifetime, there is something liberating about becoming 70. People no longer expect much from you. That frees me to expect less from myself.
That does not mean I plan to just sit in a rocking chair and do nothing. I can take satisfaction in very small accomplishments. I mowed almost a fourth of my yard the other day. I can take pride in that, while ignoring the foot high foxtail and turkey foot grass, which covers the remaining three-fourths.
My old age is being warmed by my abundant supply of friends and heart-children. One of my almost daughters gave me a birthday present which allowed me to have an over-the-top celebration. I wanted to go to the Victory in the Valley women’s weekend for cancer survivors, but the state of Kansas revoked my driver’s license. Kim Frantz volunteered to take me.
Try to embrace whatever age you are with joy. After all, would you want to go back to the age when you were cast into a black hole of depression if you flunked an algebra test or failed to get a date for your senior prom?