I skyped with my daughter this morning, a small but necessary consolation for the loss of her scent, and she said, “Mah,” she said. “Nobody tells you what to expect in your thirties. Nobody tells you that your body will be changing and your hormones will be raging, calling out for pregnancy.”
“Yes, well, that’s true,” I said. “Nobody teaches kids much of anything these days outside of the basest material facts. We don’t teach them how to make decisions or judge the good or evil of a thing. We don’t teach them how to peel potatoes or survive their tumultuous twenties or their dramatic thirties . . .” And on we talked.
I got to fill in some of that missing information for my kids when they were young, passing along practical skills like cooking and decision making, but I missed a lot, too. You can’t teach what you don’t know . . . and there was so much I didn’t know back then. I was floundering about because of my own poor social and religious skills.
So, talked with my daughter a bit about the thirties, and after we shut down the conversation, I was left thinking about how it is to be in my sixties. I turned sixty last birthday and I still haven’t adjusted to it, but even so I notice the changes. My skin is different, dryer and peppered with little brown spots. Where did they come from? My hair is completely grey, although I still dye it. I pay a price for sleepless nights and an extra cocktail.
I’m a whole lot stronger than I used to be, though, stronger in lots of ways: smarter, wiser, more philosophical. I’m more skeptical, but happier. More determined. More skilled. And a whole lot closer to my savior god.
I get annoyed now more than I get angry, but that doesn't change the fact that stupidity, cruelty and cupidity have taken over the civilized world and it pisses me off. I see broken promises and oily politicians. Christians with a bible in one packet and a loaded weapon in the other.
I see my own flaws more clearly, too, but I’m inclined to accept them these days rather than attempting to dig them out of rocky soil.
I change and I stay the same.
I’m more conservative — I mean financially conservative, and more inclined to wish everyone would agree about the rules and then abide by them. Conservative in the sense of conservation of the earth and her resources, in the sense that I have old-fashioned values like hard work and sacrifice, in the sense of seeing the useful social function of monogamy and a moral code.
And although I’ve always been a spiritual person, attuned to the unseen, I’ve been growing more religious all through my midlife and into my autumn years. I crave union with my god, the Savior God I call Charlie, actively seeking out the mystic experience. I love to worship, to lift up my hands in praise to the Creator of the Flesh.
All in all, I like being sixty. I’m healthy, even though I have to work harder to maintain my health. I’m bossy as heck. I’m sexy and at the peak of my creative powers.
So, if you are reading this my darling daughter, that’s what you have to look forward to at sixty! In the meanwhile, a woman’s thirties are a time of sweet fruition and the beginning of wisdom. I trust that you'll look back on your thirties with pride and peace of mind.