I am actually only a few days from being 61, but 60 has such a nice round sound. My life, all our lives, move only in one direction. We have to live in the present and make flexible plans for the future. We do learn from our past experiences though, don’t we?
There are many behaviors and thought patterns I have left/am leaving behind. Some old stubborn ones (worry, fear) keep trying to push their way through to the present moment. I push back with the wisdom of age.
Our family is going through a stressful time, with Sandy’s father Butch now receiving hospice care at home. He’s a brilliant man, one of the “greatest generation,” with a long life behind him. He was at Brooklyn’s Ebbetts Field the first day Jackie Robinson played in the Major Leagues. He served on a Navy ship as an officer during the Great War (“You may have read about it in the papers,” he has often said dryly). He raised three sons, one of whom died at age 59. He drove a sports car till he was 85. All true, a full life, but the leaving is so hard.
Every turning point gives us an opportunity to reflect and change. Here are some behaviors I am giving up, especially in light of Butch’s final illness. These old habits are nothing but dead weight once you’ve reached 60, or even 30. Even a long life slips by so quickly.
- Controlling people or situations. It’s like teaching a pig to sing – it’s a waste of your time, and it really pisses off the pig.
- Trying to prove myself. My in-laws didn’t “approve” of me for a long time. I’m not religious, nor Republican, I don’t cook and I didn’t even change my last name! I am myself, I adore their son, I show respect but live according to my own values.
- Telling myself I’m too old. This is just my excuse for not learning something new or taking a chance. Butch started building an airplane in his late 70’s.
Enjoy all your moments, and stay fabulous,
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Thank you for all of this. They are all good reminders!
Thks for sharing this. I’m well into my 60’s and still learning how to fulfill the needs of my itchy brain while dropping some of the pressure/stress/work-induced behaviors and perspective of years past. I retired at 61 for various reasons and was so surprised by the personal challenges of retirement! I enjoyed this post.
I truly identified with this post and I’m so sorry for what you and Sandy are experiencing right now. I’ve lost both my parents and lost my beloved husband of 34 years last October, so I’m all too familiar with the pain. I’m still struggling with it now,
I love what you will no longer do at 60. I think I began realizing those same things in years past—I’m 57 now. I had the same issue with my husband’s relatives long ago, but even as a young woman, I refused to compromise my values or integrity. Just as you stated, I remained true to myself, while adoring their son, and they just had to adjust. After all, he loved me for who I am and that’s what mattered. It seems like eons ago now.
I wish you peace and strength at this difficult time.
Wise words. Especially about not pissing the pig off!
I sympathise with your situation. I’m currently in the process of saying goodbye to my Dad. He’s not a hospice stage yet but I’m sure that will come. My thoughts are with you.
What a powerful post, especially in light of your family situation. My sympathies for that. Your hard-won advice is sound. I’m learning similar lessons from experience.
Your #3 is one of the reasons I started my blog because I never want to feel too old and I fully understand the stresses we can put on ourselves and those that come with caring for our parents. Just the other day, my mother asked me “is your mother still with you? (as in, is she still alive?). My mother has Alzheimers so the question is not so much shocking as it is just sad knowing that that part of her memories may be gone as well.
So sorry to hear about Sandy’s father. That must be difficult for you all.
No.1 on your list strikes a deep chord with me. I’m a total control freak. I’m trying so hard not to be, but it seems to be ingrained in me. When I reflect on it, I think it comes from fear, a need to hold onto the things I can control as I fear what I can’t. Thank you for your wise words and advice. I so enjoy your blog x
Sounds like Butch has had a very full and memorable life, but it is sad that it is coming to an end. I am always trying to work on #1 of the behaviors you’re trying to give up. It’s so hard to accept that there are some things we just can’t change or control, but letting go of that need to control everything leads to much greater peace of mind.
I am sorry to hear of your family’s troubled times. It is tough. I am continuing to have a hard time regarding my dad and you must be having those feelings of loss or hardship. I will pray for you. I too have some of those feelings of proving myself, or dwelling on the past, when ji didn’t have EDS, but anxiety and worry are never truly helpful behaviors. I’ll be thinking of you!
Wonderful words of wisdom! I need to print them out and tape them up somewhere so I can remind myself daily. It’s amazing how much of our lives we waste on futile efforts like worry and trying to control things. For the last few years I’ve been reminding myself that it’s not my business what people think of me (goes along with not trying to prove yourself) and although tough some times it is so true. Thanks for the inspiration!
Oh the years I wasted trying to get my mother-in-law to like me! Saying these goodbyes is hard. It does make you reflect. Great advice. Enjoy your blog.
Sorry you and Sandy are going through this difficult time. Saying goodbye is always so very hard… Thinking of you!
And, yes, difficult times are a chance to reflect and (hopefully) make some changes for the better. Life does go buy extremely quickly indeed…My dad suffered a major stroke last year, and the last year has been incredible hard, but I also think I have lived the last year with more purpose and focus on what matters. I still get caught up in the “small stuff” once in a while of course but less so…
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I don’t have a problem with 3, but 1 and 2, sheesh! I don’t want to be pissing off more pigs! (But they sounded so good!) Seriously, thank you for these valuable reminders on the eve of your 61st. My thoughts go to you and your family at this difficult time.
These are all such great pieces of advice.
#3 is a biggie for me.
This has to be a difficult time for you both. It is hard to see people that were once so vibrant deteriorate.
(((((( Patti ))))))
Wise words, Patti. I wish I could control people enough to make them stop being so controlling! I get so tired of bossiness – that’s one thing I am too old for.
My mother-in-law grudgingly approved of me by saying I wasn’t “aggressively American”! She’s gone, but I’m afraid I still feel the need to prove myself to other people. However, I think that habit and programming are slowly being broken. Again, that’s something I’m too old to worry about.
Happy Birthday – you look fab at 61!
I must try all these.
Three points to live by, Patti especially the third one. I despair when I hear women in their thirties saying this.
Butch sounds like a fantastic man, I wish him well. xxx
I believe you’ve hit the nail on the head with #3—that’s what keeps us going!!
#1 is the hardest for me—you would think I would learn by now…ugh!
Great post. I’ve been working on number two. Thanks for the well timed reminder!
Very well said. I have to work on number 3. Thanks.