Happy first day of Summer! It is hotter than blazes here, so I’m hoping days 2, 3, 4, etc. of Summer are much more “normal.” What is the Summer of 60? In 60 days I turn 60. It’s taken me a long time to be able to even say that. 60 is the age my grandparents were when they were really old. 60 is the age my parents were when I started thinking about the fact that they would actually not be here forever (even though I’m lucky enough that they still are). I’ve tried to think of ways to make it more palatable like the “40 is the new 20” craze. But somehow “60 is the new 45” doesn’t have the same ring and it just isn’t true (and I’m not sure I liked 45 any better). People tell me I don’t look 60 (which is, of course, awesome) but my body feels it–every single day. So now that I’m quickly approaching the sixth decade of my life, have I learned anything? I think I’ve learned a lot and feel a burning desire to share it with you. If you get one piece of inspiration from this Summer of 60, I will feel like my mission in writing it was worth it.
So a little bit about me and what I learned early on. I’ve been married for 42 years and have two children and seven grandchildren. My husband has owned his own business most of our married life and I have worked for basically two attorneys in my 35+ year legal career and as a secretary in construction companies before that. But we have had our share of tough times as a young family–wondering if the electricity would be shut off before we had the money to pay the bill, wondering if we would have enough food to last until payday, wondering if I would have gas money to make it to work all week. When I was on unpaid maternity leave with my second child, my husband missed his hunting trip because she was born the day he was supposed to leave. My dad took him hunting the next week and he got his prize deer. Since we had nothing else in the house to eat, I had to create different ways of cooking deer meat every night. The first night or two was OK, but every single night . . . I still can’t walk into a house where deer meat is cooking without feeling the bile in the back of my throat.
I know there are millions of people who live that life every day and I know as hard as it was for me, it was nothing compared to some. But it was still hard and we were lucky enough to overcome it. By hard work and a lot of juggling, we finally got to a place where regular paychecks for my self-employed husband made things much easier. Lesson 1 in this Summer of 60 is to keep working, keep believing, keep loving, and don’t give up. Life is hard, but I think not living is harder. I can’t imagine missing events in my family’s lives, weddings, graduations, celebrations. I just can’t imagine. Things will almost always get better. Since I have no control over your life, I can’t guarantee it will, but if you believe it will and you work hard, it should. And if it doesn’t, you’re still here and still amazing and that is worth celebrating. Let’s celebrate the Summer of 60 together starting NOW!