I sit on my chair, for I am now old enough to have my own chair. The metallic curtains of 60th Birthday decorations surrounds my space. They are the ones my daughter put up two days earlier when she came in from the east coast to throw my zoom birthday party. The celebration was a success. My best girlfriends and I laughed, cried, told stories and expressed love. Afterward, still in the party’s glow, my daughter stayed up for hours talking about each friend and the blessing they were to me. Yesterday, she flew back to her purpose, and it is me and Barkley again, alone in our world of conversation.
Me: God, Barkley, I miss her already, you know? Of course you know. She adores you and you practically ignore me when she comes. You’re so fickle.
Barkley looks at the spare room down the hall, almost in a will to have her back.
Me: I know. I wish it were that easy to have her back. Good times makes goodbyes harder, don’t they? What a party she threw though, huh? Can you believe I am 60?! Okay, almost 60. One more day of 59 today, and then, 60. I used to think 60 was the end of life. Maybe because my dad was sick so young and then died so young. I also used to think I wouldn’t be the widow in my marriage, that Peter would be the widowed spouse. Life certainly fools us, doesn’t it?
Barkley jumps on the couch, and stretches himself over the back cushion so cat-like.
Me: Well, 60 is just another number. There is still so much I want to get done, so much to accomplished. I had someone tell me recently that I was restless. This someone was right too. I am. I don’t take it as a negative. I don’t think it was meant as one, just a wish for peace one. But see, my restlessness is my soul’s way of saying you’re not done living. It’s my heart showing me all I have left to do. Besides, not sure my ADHD would slow me down if I wanted to. It’s always grabs me by the hand, and gallops in front of me, dragging me to my next thing. And I love my brain for it.
Barkley looks at me, then out the window longingly.
Me: We won’t see her Bugs (my new nickname for Barkley) for about another month or so. It’ll be okay. You and I will get through it together. Time will fly. It always does, which is why I like to get as much done as I can as it flies. And I do chillax, often. You know that. I watch TV, probably too much TV, and I read. I listen to podcast. I daydream, a lot. They’re relaxing endeavors. Sure, I do try to fill my time. I figure, the more time I fill, the less I feel alone. Idol time does cause thought, doesn’t it? I will eventually find a balance. Or, you know, perhaps I already found MY balance.
Barkley jumps off and stretches in front of me, his tell of wanting back scratches. I reach down and oblige.
Me: So 60, huh? When my mom was sixty, I was twenty six and still figuring out life. I saw her then as someone a few years away from retirement, a grandmother, and watching her salt intake. Her sixty seemed old to me. I wonder if mine seems old to my kids. It’s funny because I feel twenty. I mean, my body reminds me every day, in so many moments, that, no, I really am 60. But my mind? The way I perceive life, my choices, my beliefs, my music preferences, all point to an undefinable age, you know?
Barkley lunges on my lap, in another cat move, and lays down as I stroke his coat.
Me: The only sucky thing about turning sixty – because honestly, I don’t care too much about it… there’s nothing I can do about it – but the one sucky thing is I didn’t turn it with Peter. He and I did not grow old together, and we won’t grow old together. Like, ever. He will forever remain 58 as I continue the countdown of my life. That sucks. That causes some lonely moments. Yet, this past Girlfriend Zoom party reminded me, I have so many blessings in my life, including my kids and my girlfriends. I am a rich woman by the treasure they share with me in my life. I am so not alone. Still, Peter here with me, celebrating, would have been pretty darn good.
Barkley curls up into a donut.
Me: But Peter’s not here. It’s just me – well, you too – and there’s so much more I need and want to accomplish. These dreams, which will manifest because the Universe will allow for it – I know, I am being bossy – are going to keep me going. They won’t keep me young. Nothing KEEPS anyone young. We all age. No matter how much Botox you get, or how many times you tuck your tummy, or dressing young, we all keep going down the age timeline. It’s life. Wanna know a secret though, Barkley?
Barkley’s glass-like eyes lift up at me.
Me: Sure, in order to keep on living my best life, I have to accept whatever age I am, right? Looking back or wishing for what I can’t have will only trip me up. And you know, I’m done falling. Plus, at me age, it’s harder to get up. The secret, though, of getting older gracefully, nd living a great life is to be surrounded by people you love and love you…..okay, and maybe a dog.
Barkley hears a noise, jumps off my lap and trots down to the bedroom my daughter stayed in.
Me: Yep, Bugs, I agree. She did a great job with the party, a 60th birthday party that told me the secret. What a gift, right?