I absolutely loved being 40. By then I’d lived through some of the best and the worst that life has to offer and figured that I’d learned a few things along the way. I had a past filled with memories and lifelong friends and I had a future to look forward to. 40 was a fabulous midway point!
50 was great too! By the time that birthday rolled around, I was looking forward to early retirement and all the adventures that would follow. My fifties have included everything from climbing Mount Fuji to travelling the length of Vietnam on overnight buses to flying over the jungle of Costa Rica on a zipline!
I really haven’t enjoyed being 59 though because 60 has been hanging over my head all year! I want to embrace the next decade with the same enthusiasm that I greeted my 40s and 50s with but it hasn’t come as easily. 60 is such a big number! No longer can I fool myself into thinking that I’m still young. In fact, middle aged is a stretch unless I truly expect to live to be 120!
You’d think that I would have adjusted to being 59 pretty quickly. Immediately after my birthday, we spent several days with my parents. My mother who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease is obsessed with people’s ages.
“How old are you?” she’d ask.
“Fifty-nine,” I’d reply.
“How old are you?” she’d ask again a few minutes later.
“Fifty-nine,” I’d say again.
Over and over and over again.
“I’m fifty-nine.” “I’m fifty-nine.” “I’m fifty-nine.”
It didn’t really help.
Now 60 is just over a month away and I’ve been thinking about ways to celebrate; ways that might make the transition easier. One of the things that I’m passionate about is making micro-finance loans through Kiva; loans that give a hand up to women who are less fortunate than I am. Last night I invested another $25 in Kiva and gave myself an early birthday present.
Most of the women that I’ve given loans to have been younger than I am because loaning to mothers with children in their care has been one of my priorities but this time I decided to look for a woman who was 60. Kiva doesn’t list borrowers according to age so finding her took awhile. I scanned the long list of women in need, looking at each thumbnail photo for one who looked like she might be 60. Sadly, I clicked on many well worn faces only to find that they were much younger. I was reminded again how fortunate I am to have had the life I’ve had. Finally, after searching through many profiles, there she was. Sofai! My loan will enable her to purchase chemicals, sprayers, shovels and fertilizers for her small taro plantation on the Pacific island of Samoa.
Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be looking for other ways to celebrate my “coming of age”. I’m not sure what they might be.