Dear 60-Year-Old Me,
I want to take a moment to talk to you about how amazing you must be for all that you have come through. I find it hard to think about who you must be, where in the world you have gone, and how amazing life must be. Who did you meet? What adventures have taken you places I haven’t been yet?
I thought 40 was a big moment when I was 20. I couldn’t imagine all that would be when I was just struggling to keep afloat. I just needed to get through another day, pay the bills and pray that I wasn’t screwing my boys up for life. But life is really pretty nice and I hope that 60 is even better.
In the last 40 years, I have been a child, a teen, a grown-up. I have been afraid of the dark and grown to love its peaceful solitude. I’ve learned to eat my vegetables so much that I have become a vegetarian. I learned how to ride a bike and learned that as you get older the idea of falling off keeps me from doing it. I’ve held in my arms dozens of furry friends and cherished the moments with my canine best friends almost as much as a human. Letting go of Arwyn, my dog was actually harder than losing any human, because it was MY choice to let her take her last breath as I sat on that cold floor next to her. Soon after, learning how to trust another cold nose was both welcomed and difficult. But Wynter has been my best-girl ever since she brought the October snow.
I’ve become someone I never imagined I would become, not just a Mother but a friend, a wife, a writer (still not published anywhere but I am a fantastic blogger). I have my own small business that keeps me both on edge and proud that it’s mine. I volunteer when I can to my synagogue and enjoy occasional Girl’s lunches with my friends. I’ve learned to let go of petty people and accept that I can’t ever make everyone happy all of the time, but it feels really nice to make my husband and children happy as much as possible.
I’ve watched as my babies took their first breaths, learned to walk, talk, and headed off to school. I’ve stood proud as they made new friends, brought some home to live, fell in love and broke some hearts. I wonder now if soon I will see my middle one ask his true love to be his wife, while the oldests are still trying to figure out what’s next for them. The baby isn’t so much of a baby anymore. Her dark rimmed lashes painted silver and gold, hair tied up in strands of blue and green, she’s still in middle school and learning now how hard growing up can be.
I’ve fallen in love, lost it, sat bitterly until I was ready to move on, took chances to love again and allowed myself the best 14 years of my life with Michael. He’s been my rock, stood solid when I felt like I could crumble. He’s taught me about forgiveness and when to face the fact that some people will never change and you just have to move on away from them. He has helped me to see that not every fight has to be fought and walking away is really hard to do when someone knows how to press all of your buttons. His quiet has taught me how to shut up and listen and yet I am still no good at keeping quiet when something is just wrong.
I have settled down, no longer moving from place to place searching for some elusive sense of home and figured out that home isn’t a place but a feeling that you know where you are and it feels good to be there. Sometimes home is in the house we have built as a family and sometimes home is where the family is. I have found a home in odd places, sitting in a coffee shop in Seattle overlooking the Sound or rolling over in a strange hotel bed to the warmth of Michael’s arm opening up to bring me closer. Home is where I can relax and recharge not a place at all. I travel often from East to West and many places in between. Chicago, Seattle, Phoenix, New York, big cities and small, quiet place and loud. I love the exploration of new streets, adventures hiding in coffee shops and museums, and best of all meeting up with friends and family that I don’t get to see as often as I would like.
I wonder often who you are and if you would like me at all. Would you tell me that I have wasted away my life and accomplished nothing or would you be happy that I have found peace after searching for it for so long? Do you think that I have done the right thing by making promises to myself about friendships, loyalty, and not allowing anyone the right or privilege to make me feel bad about myself? I’ve had to face myself in the mirror and ask if I have done the right thing, read the hate-filled letters and swallowed back tears when haunted by her words. I lost my best friend to death, but made it mean something by not letting our promise fade away because of grief. I wonder if it still hurts to miss him as much as I do right now or have others gone after him and taught me more about grief and pain.
I hope you never stop wanting to dance in the kitchen, snuggle late on Sunday mornings, or give up writing because something else is more important. I hope you have explored the world and not just our little corner of it. I hope you have danced at the weddings of the children who love you as their Mother and hopefully cradled at least one grandchild close and whispered sweet lullabies as I did long ago. I hope you have actually started to keep track of all of those family stories so that they won’t be lost once your gone and never stopped enjoying the life you have been blessed with.
Dear 60-year-old me, I am so glad we made it.
~ Crysta at 40 ~
Written January 2013