Sixty. I turned sixty today. Its odd because I remember when sixty seemed old and it sure doesn't feel old when it is my own age. There are a few tell tale signs. It still surprises me when someone pulls out a cell phone in public and starts talking away. Texting is a mystery. Many events, like the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., are memories to me, not history. I notice when I put my name and birth date in the registration book at the gym at least 85% of the people who sign in are significantly younger than I am, many even younger than my daughters. I have a teen aged grand daughter.
So yes, six decades have passed since my birth and they've been full ones. I've learned, lost, loved so much. Twice married, once widowed I've eulogized one husband, both parents, aunt and uncle. I know the stories, often going back two generations, of most of the objects in my home. I live in a home in which my daughter put a space heater in her son's bedroom because she remembers how cold that room was nights when she slept there as a child. I can't remember how many color schemes we've had in the hall bath since we bought the house thirty three years ago. I remember as if it were yesterday how proud, happy, and disoriented I felt the first night I tried to sleep in the house when it was new.
At sixty, my past is longer than my future and that doesn't scare me. I don't know how long I have or how much of what I do have will be good time, productive time, but then I never really knew that. I don't feel like winding up my life, settling down, slowing down. I am still up for adventures, hard work, creating new stories, making a difference. I look back on accomplishments and mistakes and want to use all I have learned to create more of the former and fewer of the latter. I am still learning, and I also want to teach, to pass the torch, to inspire.
So what do I want to share tonight. It's simple. I am not in charge of what happens to me, for better or for worse, but I am in charge of taking the feelings that result from whatever happens and transforming their energy into work, art, or service. I am not entitled to spin my wheels, nurse my wounds, sit on my gifts. Transformation is my responsibility, whatever happens. Love, not ego.