Well, “it” had to happen. It happens to a lot of people. Why should I be any different? Why should I like it any better (or less) than they do? What is this big event? In a matter of weeks, I would be having my sixtieth birthday! That’s right, the big six-zero, six times ten, two times thirty.
As I recall, turning what some have termed “the big four-oh” was not very traumatic for me–kind of like “I’ve made it this far and I don’t feel any different.”
Turning “over the hill,” fifty, was yet another story. Oh, I was OK with my new status in life. I received my obligatory AARP membership -application-part of the traditional initiation into the early senior citizen set. And I also began to discover some newfound wisdom associated with my introduction into the silver-haired crowd. I found myself thinking, been there, done that, a lot more often than in the past.
I was content until recently, when a couple of my rapier-tongued offspring reminded me, “Mom, you’re more than a half century old,” in a tone not unlike comparing me (their mother) to being two days older than dirt.
Not wanting to succumb to negative feelings that I had, indeed, been around a long time, I decided to focus on the bright side of being a senior citizen, the most obvious plus being-I am still here! After six decades, this old gal is still kicking, and that’s an accomplishment in itself.
So now that “it” happened, I’m confronted with what it means. Being sixty does carry with it some responsibilities. You can’t sit life out in your rocker.
I have begun to realize that I am the matriarch of the family, the leader of the tribe, the spokeswoman of our clan, and the upbeat one that those in the succeeding generation will hopefully seek out for sage advice. These new responsibilities are exciting and even a bit intimidating.
The trick, as I see it, is how to be a leader when people do not want to be led, a spokeswoman to others who do not wish to be spoken to, and a wisdom keeper when they are not ready to hear the message. So, now that “it” happened to me, I will try to lead when I can and speak when I should-without using my extended status in life for pushing my views on others.
To think it only took me sixty years to learn this! Some may ask what my thought may be at seventy. All I can say is, let me get back to you on that.
— Kay P. Giordano
Source: Kay P. Giordano (1999)