I Am Sixty

I am now sixty years old. I’m grateful for three things:  That I’m alive, am in reasonably good health, and I know God.  There have been changes over time – some for better and some for worse.  It’s nice to be wiser. Not so nice to not be able to find the right word I want to use, right when I want to use it.  It’s nice to know what/who is worth expending my time and energy on.  Not so nice to not be able to move/trust my body in the same way I once did. It’s nice some people show me deference.  Not so nice when it’s only because I move slower or can’t read the tiny print to figure out which button to push. 

My time on this earth is running down.  I figure I have about 25 years left (based on the fact most of my relatives have died in their 80’s).  That may seem like a long time at first, but not when you consider 25 years ago was only 1996.  Gulp.  The older you get the faster time flies. Back in my younger days there seemed to be much more wiggle room and lots of time to make mistakes and then to fix them, to make choices and then to change them. Even with wrong choices that couldn’t be fixed I still had time to sort through and deal with them (a.k.a. therapy and prayer). But now, sometimes I feel like the choices I make heading into my own “end of days” may not even have time to play out.  There’s much more of a feeling that they might be final and irrevocable. This can make me a bit nervous.        

A friend recently asked me that old chestnut of a question, “What advice would you give your younger self?”  If I could go back in time, would I talk myself into finishing school?  Would I tell her to take the other job? Would I remind her to get married and have kids? Would I try to change things?  No, I wouldn’t.  Things are as they are and everything that happened made me who I am today, and I’m okay with me (except the aforementioned being 60 years old now).  But I think I would give my younger self a big hug and whisper, “Pammy Girl, you’re alive, you’re in reasonably good health, and  in every single instance it was always worth it to follow God.  Every. Single. Instance.” I think that would help me get through everything.

Today, as I was reflecting on all of this, I suddenly thought, “What do you think eighty-year old Pam would come back and say to you today? What would you WANT her to say?”  Would I want a warning to avoid something or someone? Would I want to be cautioned about one of my choices that might go wrong or not play out? Actually, no. I think I would just like that same deep hug and same encouragement that I am still alive, still reasonably healthy, and it’s still worth following God in Every. Single. Instance. I think that could help me get through anything — even being sixty.