Turning 60 during a pandemic

Last week I turned 60 years old.

Perhaps at different times, I would be bothered by the fact that most of my life is over. Yet amid the pandemic and civil unrest, this historic birthday seems somewhat minor.

Instead, this turning point in my life seems like the perfect time to reflect and count my blessings. As they say, not everyone reaches 60 and for that I am grateful. As I am older, I know there are simple reasons to cherish each day of life, even during this COVID outbreak.

Like what, you ask?

After a record hot summer with 146 days of temperatures over 100 years this year, fall has finally arrived in the California desert where I live. Last week my husband and I sat outside on our patio. Mars shone brightly over us. We enjoyed a grilled steak dinner and listened to romantic music.

These are the things that make me happy.

Due to the pandemic, I almost missed my youngest grandson, Paige’s second year of life. She thinks I live on a phone. Last week, we called my youngest son, Christopher, and his wife, Johnni, and he sounded annoyed. Paige picked up the phone and looked at me with her big blue eyes and asked, “What happened, Grandma?” She looked at me seriously, like she was eager to listen and really cared. And she has two. My heart swelled.

These are the things that make me happy.

Throughout this pandemic, my friends left little homemade gifts, sent flowers and cards, and provided much-needed love and support. My family lives across the street and always has a listening ear, ready to help me in any way. My other grandchildren live with me along with my oldest son, Jonathan, so thankfully I am not deprived of their company during this pandemic. My 9-year-old granddaughter River proudly showed me how she is learning to skate with her new teal skates and matching helmet. She described how she can only wear matching clothes. Rowan, my 11-year-old grandson, was eager to show me his tomato plants and a playground he built for his two parakeets made from sticks and other household supplies.

These are the things that make me happy.

So this is the thing. Once you stop focusing on the fact that life goes by faster than you imagined and regretting those extra wrinkles, you can find plenty of reasons to be happy about being 60 years old. Although this has been a difficult year in many ways, I am looking for ways to stay calm, trust God, and focus on the positive.

After all, at 60, I know what matters. I realize the importance of my spiritual needs, my relationships, my health, and my compassion. I have weathered storms and I know I will survive. I appreciate a good laugh. I understand my priorities. I am more confident and comfortable in my own skin. In fact, I was not born yesterday and have gained invaluable wisdom along the way.

Plus, turning 60 is liberating.

Last week, I was sitting on my patio playing classical music from the 60s blasting through my headphones. Let’s face it, I was rocking out, I mean squarely with my arms hanging above my head, eyes closed. Well, maybe I had a glass of wine and, by the way, I really like to dance. Suddenly, I heard a noise at the door and opened my eyes. It was the UPS man delivering a package with a big smile on his face.

In my youth, I would have died of shame. But you know what? I didn’t even care. He put the package down, closed my eyes and kept rocking.

That is the beauty of being 60 years old.

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