What happened? I’m turning 70 and I didn’t see it coming.
Somehow things got all mixed up. The years between 50 and 70 galloped by without me keeping track. It’s as if some evil jokester stole a score of years while I was taking showers, waiting in grocery lines and eating ice cream cones.
Turning 50 was no big deal. Time was still on my side. No young girls were calling me “Sir” while holding the door open. I regularly stayed up past midnight. I felt like my career was still ahead of me. I had hit a professional groove in my 40s and I was physically and mentally excited to launch a whole bunch of creative ventures. Financially, I could be a bit reckless because I knew there was time to catch back up.
At 50, none of my close friends had died. My parents were considered the family elders. It was the other people who had stents put in their hearts and were slowed from chronic pain in their lower backs. Not me.
I don’t mean to sound like a complainer. Lots of good stuff happens at 70. Five great kids call me “Grandpa.” I’ve let go of thinking I need to fix all of the problems around me. I now have the duty to pass on the challenges, and accompanying stress, to younger generations.
In my 50s, solitude was never my pal. I ran away from those moments of deafening silence. Now, I’m ready to hold it close to my being. Solitude has lost its scariness.
In one sense, my life has been about removing a long series of masks. At 70, there is no mask left, only flesh to catch the soft breeze. And it’s not like I thought I was ever a really good-looking guy, but now I know for sure. That gives me a sense of relief, a warming lack of expectation when I look in a mirror.
Looking back from 70, I fully accept the bumps and accomplishments of my youth. I feel comfortable in my skin, even in my expanding nose and ears.
Today, as a man packed with years, I accept that what people think of me is none of my business. It’s only my German shepherds’ approval I seek each day, and I don’t need to be dogged in that pursuit. They love me unconditionally.
And I still have goals for the future: I hope to talk less in my 70s and listen more. I hope to always be reading several good books at the same time. And since I’m aged, I will buy these books in hard copies, so I can touch their precious pages and line them up in bookcases that have survived many moves.
The greatest gift of my aging is the capacity to genuinely love others and, deep inside me, wish them joy and accomplishments.
I feel blessed I’ve been working for a company for over 25 years that inspires individuals to change for the better. I believe I’ve been my own client.
Yes, 70 feels good.