On Turning Sixty

By: Bela Johnson

Jun 14 2013

Tags: , , ,

Category: aging, Hawaii, musings, personal, philosophy, Uncategorized

10 Comments

Aperture:f/5.6
Focal Length:35mm
ISO:100
Shutter:1/200 sec
Camera:COOLPIX S6000

The hollowness of morning rain drums against a parched landscape. There is nothing sweeter than waking to its sound, especially after watering extensively last night to keep the orchids, red ginger and herbs; the flowering shrubs happy. The newly planted shower tree stands stark and leafless against a grey sky, bathing in the elixir of the gods.

We are blessed to live in this place, and there’s hardly a moment I take it for granted. To unwind at day’s end by walking a short distance down to surf thundering against ocean cliffs; to awaken to birdsong and the gentle clanging of wind chimes. In solitude, I wonder how tourists could possibly prefer the crowded beaches of Waikiki. But I don’t dwell on it unduly.

Sixty feels like fifty, only older. Age is a precarious companion, as the mind becomes richer in experience and wonder while the flesh becomes a challenge to maintain. I often observe those far older than me, knowing I will be in their shoes soon enough. When they dither and dally; as they struggle to remember or strike out in frustration, I strive to be more patient and understanding. For in those frail, failing bodies dwells a great treasure trove of history and passion. Inside these elders lies the lusty teenager; the harried young adult; the busy parent or the tortured artist. In the end, nothing matters but the kindness of others and the ability to remember one’s self well enough to function in a world one is about to withdraw from.

I cannot predict the future, but I can choose to live as fully as I am able, in the here and now.  As long as I draw breath, I plan on experiencing all I can of this beautiful Earth while returning gratitude in the most profound means possible. In a sacred dance with the Mystery, the journey ever continues.

2013-05-25 14.30.32

10 comments on “On Turning Sixty”

  1. To be alive and to appreciate the precious quality of each present moment is the greatest gift- and one that you possess and share with us.

    Age? I’m more alive today than when I was young. You too, I bet.

    Happy birthday.

    Tom

  2. Wow, you are another stunning example of 60 being the new 40!! Your positive attitude and energy is TIMELESS.

    • Thanks, Elisa! Glad you enjoy my take on things. Yes, I think our generation defies stereotypical precedents of generations before. Observing my own mother’s passing of late, I realize how lucky I am to embrace life in a way she never did or perhaps could. So happy to be me in the here and now! Life is truly a miracle.

  3. Happy belated, Bela.

    I often wonder how it feels to see your body gradually unable to accomplish all that it could a few years ago. Does it scare? Does it make you more motivated to keep it healthy and functioning? What about the mind?

    I feel very happy to see people much older than me, people like you, who obviously keep their gears greased. It is a wonderful tribute to nature. Congratulations!

    • Well, Priya! It’s a journey in this body! I could always summon energy for hours on end. Now I have to learn how to pace myself. Luckily my husband, 20 years my junior, is the sterling example of just how to do this! His pace is very different, and we are indeed well matched in this way.

      In answer to your question, I am not at all afraid. It’s not in my nature. I’ve always been motivated to keep my body and mind healthy, so that hasn’t changed at all. It’s just more challenging, with the aches and pains. But I keep on going. Just more slowly.

      Sending you joyful thoughts, dear one! Love to little Bela 😉

  4. Happy Birthday!!!
    I went to a birthday party, yesterday, where the happy girl just turned 71.
    So I somehow celebrated your birthday too.

  5. Happy Birthday, Bela – a tad belated.


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