On August 17, I celebrated a “milestone” birthday. That’s what they’re called when you enter a new decade of life I guess. 20, 30, 40, 50 and now 60! I’ve noticed that past the age of 60, milestone birthdays are celebrated every five years: 65, 70, 75, 80… and from then on the cards written all seem to be celebrating with great fanfare the fact that you’ve lived another year and Hallmark and the friend who gave you the card is proud and maybe somewhat astonished at this accomplishment.
Am I being facetious?
In July, I spent a memory-filled weekend with five friends from high school. We call our little group “The Babes of ’58” since it was in that year we all were born. We decided when we turned fifty that we would all get together for a weekend reunion at some resort spot to celebrate our “milestone” birthdays. We didn’t want to have to cook or clean, just feel pampered and spoiled. Our goal was to renew in person our close friendships, to laugh, to reminisce, to share our lives and to drink wine. Not necessarily in that order. We had such an amazing time at our first reunion that we decided to continue our get-togethers every five years. That way we had time to plan and save up for our time away. Our first gathering together was in Osoyoos, in the Okanagan, at a Villa in the middle of vineyards. Splendid weather, long walks and fabulous cuisine was a perfect retreat for us all. The next reunion was in Fairmont, B.C. at the hot springs resort there, and this last reunion was in Sooke, B.C., in the small town where we had grown up and gone to school together. We rented a townhouse for the weekend, close to eateries and toured down old roads re-visiting old stomping grounds and recapturing childhood memories.
We each live very full lives with our families, jobs and hobbies that govern our time. To escape for a few nights away is a welcome distraction even though we spend most of our first night’s conversation talking about our families and hobbies. Sharing our lives, even though we can do so over social media, is not as satisfying as when we are face to face and we can see the slight nuances in body language, and enjoy the close camaraderie of being with good friends. Although this year, our hair is a little grayer than it was five years ago, and our step is not as lively as it was the first time we got together, we are sixteen again in our mind’s eye when we relive memories from high school. The laughs are genuine. Our friendships are precious.
I am the “baby” of our group, because my birthday falls in August after the other gals have already celebrated their birthdays. In high school they kidded me a lot about being the least mature of them, the baby, the one that wasn’t old enough to get into their kind of mischief. I’ve embraced the title now. It’s nice to be the youngest in the room for a change!
I have spent some time now coming to terms with the fact that I am in my “senior” years. My husband is in full denial of the fact that he a senior. He still enjoys besting the twenty year olds in weightlifting at the gym he attends. He might lift more weight, but he feels it more the next day too! We can’t deny that our bodies don’t behave the way they used to when we were young – er. Me? I acknowledge that although the mind may be willing, the body is weak. I discovered this summer that paddle-boarding may look easy, but falling off of one at my age hurts a bit more! My cracked ribs will attest to that! Still, I don’t want to just stop trying and doing new things because I am a “senior”. I want to continue to experience new things, see new sights, and set new goals for the future.
I am not a fan of the term “bucket list”. I think I’ve said that before. I don’t want to have a long list of things I must do or see before I “kick the bucket”, because that implies if I don’t do everything on the list I’ve failed at life. That’s dumb. I have places I would like to see, but I have discovered that God directs my path. I will gladly go where He takes me, near or far. I’m content.
That said, when God puts a new adventure in front of me, I can’t negate it just because I’m “senior”. I’m not ready to retire. I wonder what I will be able to share with my “Babes” at our next reunion in five years. I’m praying it will not be predominantly my complaining about aches and pains and lamenting over teen years gone by, but instead I hope I will be able to share about my new adventures, new experiences and the rich insights about life I did not know before. A lot can happen in five years. God’s calling still challenges me and directs me in new and fresh ways. I look expectantly to the future and wonder, “What next?”