Dearest Friend, I’m Turning 60
January 2nd I turn 59 years old.
The countdown to 60 begins
Saying this out loud seems both impossible and terrifyingly real.
The idea takes shape…
There is a beautiful forest trail in my neighbourhood with a steep footpath leading into a lush green valley complete with a cute little wooden bridge over a sparkling stream. Finny-dog and I always stop on the bridge and watch the stream as it winds its way through the trees until it disappears. I’m not sure why we stop; maybe this spot reminds me of catching tadpoles as a child, with my dad. Leaning on the wooden bridge railing and breathing in the crisp fall leafy-air… is when I first came up with the idea of writing about turning sixty.
I asked myself, should I take a crack at shining a light at life over fifty. Who’s going to read it? My gut tells me there are lots of us feeling both curious and reverent about aging. Especially during a pandemic.
Personal reasons I want to write this blog…
I don’t know if I have the dementia gene but according to my dad’s doctor I have a fifty percent chance. Those odds suck. It’s called fronto-temporal dementia and I watched my dad lose his beautiful mind to it, in his sixties. Witnessing dementia up close impacted my view of aging. While my dad’s shortened life reminds me to make the most of what time I have, a gift my mom’s gave me reminds me that each of us have a story worth sharing. At eighty, my mom wrote her life story and gave it to me for my birthday. My mom was not a writer or a scholar but she lived a life full of insights and lessons. That scotch-taped, handwritten pink journal, she titled My Life is so dear to me. Reading her life story, in her words has given me the courage to write this blog for me, my kids and anyone interested in my insights and lessons learned.
In my 60 years, I have had some pretty incredible experiences and a few big stumbles. I grew up working-class, raised by moderately messed up parents; I graduated from nursing and worked at both Bone Marrow Transplant and ICU, I’ve travelled the world, lived as an ex-pat, married and divorced a narcissist, camped at the base of Mount Everest, learned how to be a better parent and taught folks how to eat plant-based. I studied Non-Violent communication and restorative justice and then created an empathy kit to save my own family from the grip of mental illness. In the blog, I want to unpack the mistakes I’ve made (oh, but there are so many…) and use the lessons to make my life better. My therapy sessions with Dr. LInda Johnson have been and will continue to be a considerable part of my healing and insights. I’ll share it all.
What I want for my 60’s
I want to shift gears and live a deeper life. I want a life that’s more intentional, more intuitive with a focus on what’s important. I want my sixties to be focused on showing up better, strengthening my relationships, reading and writing more, making more phone calls and writing more love notes. I feel the pull of the old-fashioned pen-to-paper mode of communication. Maybe it’s the big bundle of my own love letters I found in my mother’s attic a few years ago. Those hand-written letters on flowered stationary and simple lined paper from cousins, friends and first boyfriends all made me feel a warm connection to those who wrote me. Here we are in a pandemic with limited face to face contact, I think a hand written letter is exactly what we need.
I’m even offering to send you my blog in the mail and if the mood strikes, write back with your thoughts… old school…(details below). Of course, I also want lots more face to face when it’s safe to do so. I plan to gain and share insights over the next year. I think this is a unique moment in my life, and I want to make the most of it.
If this kind of weekly blog speaks to you, join me and sign up.
As a nod to living more in the real world, I will happily send you a copy in the mail, complete with a stamp and an opportunity for you and I to be pen pals. I want you to write back to me and tell me what you want for your life.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know you want the mailbox option. The online version will drop into your inbox on Saturday mornings, if you subscribe at shelleypeters.com
Dearest Friend… begins on January 9th, 2021
Subscribe Dearest Friend…my weekly blog about turning 60 runs through 2021.
This year I am writing a weekly letter called;
Dearest Friend…I’m Turing 60.
It’s my journal entries documenting my life and insights as I approach my 60th Birthday.
If a letter from a friend sounds like a good idea…sign up.
I can’t wait to meet you.