Thursday, September 27

Turning 60 - The Final Chapter


I am going to make this 3rd chapter of Turning 60 my final post on this subject. Instead of listing things I have learned, I am going to provide an overview my 59 years with reasons why I’ve been experiencing anxiety over this birthday. The picture above is a picture of my family. That's me in Mom's arms. I have sat here and read and re-read this post asking myself, should I hit post or delete?!? I’ve opened myself probably more than I should.

I grew up in a very strict Baptist family. What was preached to me was, do not embarrass the family. I was expected to go to school, make good grades, not hang out with the wrong crowd, don’t dance, almost don’t laugh, and go to church every Sunday. My brother and sister were several years older than me, 15 and 12 years my senior. It was as if I was an only child with 2 sets of parents. One set that was very strict and one that would provide moderate advise with the understanding that I was still to follow all the rules. Even though I felt rebellion inside, I did follow the rules knowing one day I would be able to leave and start my own life.

At the young age of 18 I married in order to escape. We were both in college and it was soon that I learned he too, had a strong agenda for me that was against my moral upbringing. Being use to being controlled, I stayed with him for 18 years, had two beautiful children. Finally I came to the realization I did not have to live according to his morals. I tried to stay until the kids were grown, but I just couldn't bare this environment any longer.

It took 2 ½ years to get the divorce. I had been a SAHM with no working experience, but was able to get a job and became pretty successful in my field. The early years of employment I made very little money, and the kids had been use to Gucci and Polo and were now forced to accept K-Mart. Some how I was able to pay the bills and occasionally buy a Gucci or Polo item for my kids.

I was single for 10 years, dating very little. I was happy, working on my career, which became my life. Then I met my current husband. He was from a different social group, blue collar, than most of my friends and colleagues. It was refreshing to come home from work and spend time with him discussing topics unrelated to my professional environment. We had so many things in common and shared many of the same hopes and dreams for the future. When I met his family, who all live in Florida, I thought what a wonderful family environment he came from. They were good Christian people who could have blended with my family perfectly. My hubby and I never had any serious discussions about religion while we were dating. I was seeing life with him through rose colored glasses and just assuming that he was with Christ. At that point in my life I was not attending church. That does not mean that I was not a christian. I take my religion very seriously.

The first years of our marriage was really wonderful. We traveled, entertained with friends, worked and talked about how we would spend our retirement years. Due to a take over at place my husband worked, he was offered early retirement with a substantial bonus. I still had 5 years before I was eligible to retire. I thought this was a good time to build our retirement home. We were living in my home that I owned free and clear, but it was 30 years old. Since hubby was retired he was able to monitor the progress of the building of our home. (No, I’m not stupid, this house is in my name only. That was one of my conditions that he accepted.)

After we moved in and got settled, he found that he had nothing to do. This is when major changes occurred. I worked another 2 years and retired thinking my being at home would help. It hasn’t. I’m not going to go into details about these problems, but the bottom line is I’m not where I wanted to be at this time in my life. This is why my upcoming birthday has been bothering me so much.

Here I am, 60 years old and asking myself, is this all I have to look forward to the rest of my life. Being 60 can be very hard being on your own with the current medical and economic environment we have in this country. I have prayed for God’s help and guidance.

In addition to my home environment I look into the mirror and instead of seeing that young woman I use to be, I see an older woman with lines forming around my eyes, the jaw line sagging, the waist much bigger than I thought it would ever be, and wondering if I will ever have true love and happiness in my life again.

I do have many many blessings; my wonderful children and grandchildren, Christ in my life, a nice house, my health, family, friends, food on my table, and now my blogging friends. I still enjoy walking barefoot through wet grass, eating a melting ice cream cone on a hot sunny day, dancing, sitting in the floor playing with my grandchildren, traveling to new places, wearing jeans (which is my stable), driving with the roof and windows wide open and letting the wind mess my hair. I guess what I’m saying, I’m still young in my heart and I can’t control the aging process of my body. All I can do is embrace each day and work towards a happy and healthy future.

But one thing you can take to the bank, there will be changes coming.......



9 comments:

Patti said...

Linda, you look great!! I wish we lived closer together, I think we'd be good friends. At least we can be friends thru our blooging now! I love the picture of you in your mothers arms! I hope you have a wonderful birthday next week. Im gonna keep reading your blog!

Susie said...

I enjoyed reading about your early years. All those things have shaped the woman you are today.
I look forward to reading about the changes you have planned.
:)

Gill said...

I think the line that says the most about you is this one, "embrace each day and work towards a happy and healthy future"! Through your blog you come across as such a positive woman - I have no doubt that you will make the next decade of your life an amazing journey!

Marsha said...

not enough time right now to finish reading the entire post but I will be back! this year was my 60th too! we will just have to redefine what we thought 60 was and make it distinctly us!

Gattina said...

Besides the fact that I had another childhood and youth and only married at 25 (in 69 that was old) around 60 I had the same feelings as you. Still young in my heart and behaviour but the mirror .... ? I had to work on myself, learning that I should only count on me, learning to love to be alone with me. Today I am a fulfilled woman, I don't care about the mirror anymore. Finally I realized that people see me in a completely other way and they think "for my age" I still look young. So ....

Glo said...

I think you look and are great. I'm 64, my husband is 22 yrs younger....I was married the first time 25 yrs....now I been married for 20 yrs to Mike. Remember age is only a # and your only as old as you feel. So pull yourself together girl and have fun with it... God bless.

Renee's Ramblings said...

Linda, Thanks for sharing your life with us! You look great and are beautiful. Age is only a number!!

Suzy said...

Enjoyed your posts on "turning 60" since I only have one more year!I also was raised in a very strict religious home where "everything was a sin except breathing", married my first husband to excape and paid the price for 6 yrs.Now I've been happily married to a wonderful man for 32 years. I realized that Christ was still first in my life and if we were to have a relationship, hubby #2 had to feel the same way, and it worked.

Amazing Gracie said...

It is a rough time for us gals as we see the bloom fade on the rose. But it's also a time of growth and fulfillment. My husband isn't perfect and neither am I. We accept each other's imperfections, knowing that we are friends. That's important. We are conservative but we have liberty in our freedom. (I'm a Calvinist.). I also believe in putting others first. I believe that Christ taught us that...
~~~Blessings~~~