Age is a Number, an Attitude, and a Reality
Even if we don't recognize it at the time
If we’re going to cry, let’s be sure we have a good reason.
My youngest sister recently turned 60. As much as I tried to ignore it — the off-key singing, the lit-up cake, the smile on her slightly-wrinkled face — the wake-up call was heard loud and clear. What the hell had happened, and how did we end up in this decade?
Even more important, had I spent my time wisely so far? And what, exactly, had I accomplished that could be considered worthwhile — or even worth remembering?
My mindset shifted into low gear, drifting toward doubt, stress, and anxiety. How could I possibly justify my years on earth? Did I do anything to be proud of — anything others would later nod their heads about, grin and say, ‘Yeah, I remember when she did that. It was awesome!’
Putting myself on the spot didn’t turn out to be a very good strategy.
Unable to break my dismal state, pessimism quickly set in. I was starting to believe I should just pitch the past like a smelly, rotten banana and slip into a dark hole to lick my imaginary wounds.
And just like that, without realizing it, I’d started planning my own personal pity party. It would likely be a moody affair, complete with wilting flowers, black balloons, deep-throated dirges, and boxes of tissue scattered throughout every room of the house. Apparently, the festivities would include a lot of whining, moaning, and complaining. And the guest list was short.
But before we all gather together to start a sobbing jag in solidarity — dabbing our eyes and blowing our noses in harmony and sync — let me give you a little background to set the mood.
Between my oldest and youngest sibling, there’s a timespan of 10 years. Every day, I’m grateful for my parents’ healthy libido. To say we’re a close-knit group is putting it mildly. Because the family ties have and always will be strong and deeply-knotted.
For the record, I have very few complaints.
Yes, there are a lot of us — six to be exact. Yet taking into account our eclectic personalities and scattered directions, we seem to have a high degree of patience and mutual respect in extending the courtesies of individuality and personal choice in each other’s lives. Because that’s the foundation of strong relationship bonds and decent communication skills - or so I’m told.
While my siblings and I have learned the importance of keeping our mouths shut and our minds open when dissenting opinions rise to the surface, I have to admit that sometimes after a group Zoom call, I have to race to the bedroom, lay face-down in a pillow, and scream.
But back to my “poor me” party, and the real reason behind this story.
After spending a couple days coming to grips with my current chronological age, I decided to quit feeling sorry for myself and humbly tip-toed back into the light of day. Along with my reluctantly improving attitude came a worthwhile conclusion.
While there’s nothing I can do with the time that’s already gone by — no mistakes I can change or regretful words I can take back — there are plenty of opportunities I can consider for what remains of my future. And I knew exactly where to go for a few ideas.
With my youngest sister turning 60, and my oldest sib at 70, I’m in a good place — comfortably nestled in the middle zone , somewhere between those with the wisdom of lessons learned from experience, and those with an inquisitive nature and curious mind unaffected by a date on a calendar.
Adopting a little perspective and appreciation for having the opportunity to converse with others who have much to teach me is a gift. And being able to live vicariously through the lives of those still asking a lot of questions has given me new hope, in spite of my wavering confidence.
My poignant glimpse of the past wonder years through the eyes of my siblings always brings a smile and an occasional tear to the surface. Fortunately, they’re happy tears — the kind meant to be shared and encouraged, with or without balloons.
In health & happiness,
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Jill Reid is the author of Real Life, Discover Your Personal Truth, Life in Small Doses, and Please God, Make Me A Writer. Her books, videos, and newsletter explore life, relationships, self-improvement, health, and personal success strategies for working through the challenges of everyday life.
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