Through high school and college reunions, I’ve reconnected with many former classmates. With a good number of them, there’s been a 30-year gap between conversations, and much has transpired in everyone’s lives – including mine.
Sometimes our stories make me feel young; sometimes they make me feel old. Regardless, I am amazed by what my age group now collectively represents by way of a life’s journey. At 18, I wouldn’t have imagined much of this, but here is what I’ve discovered:I am now old enough to have lost my job, and old enough to have been at a job for more than 20 years. I am old enough to be divorced. Twice. I’m old enough to have had a cheating spouse, one who robbed me blind and one who after fathering my children, announced he was gay.
I am old enough to have a long-lasting marriage or partnership, old enough to have one to eight children. Heck, I’m even old enough to have grandchildren. I am also old enough to have no kids at all, both by design and resignation, and therefore I am old enough to know that the one-size-fits-all rule barely applies to anything, much less family life.
I am old enough to have had breast and prostate cancers. I am old enough to have had a double mastectomy and all sorts of therapies: radiation, physical, massage and psycho.
I am old enough to have faced death: my infant daughter, my teenage son, one or both of my parents and my beloved spouse. I am old enough to be impacted by the death of Michael Jackson because he was three years older than I, but somehow seemed ageless.
I am the same age as Barack Obama and impressed by what he has accomplished because I like to consider him young. I wonder if I am too old for a career change. I am actually old enough – or young enough – to have made one. I am old enough to be facing my mortality in terms of my achievements. I ask myself: What am I living/working for? What is my legacy? Have I fulfilled my life’s purpose? Is there more for me, or is this it?
I am old enough to have survived and enjoyed drama: pain and joy, failure and success, uncertainty and resolve. I am definitely old enough to know what the word “unexpected” means. But as I walk my path, I am old enough to be thankful for my angels – family, friends, strangers, too – and precious moments of serendipity and surprise.
I remember to praise the whole enchilada of life because past any fog of disappointment lies gratitude, a reservoir of never-failing grace.
In fact, I’m old enough to have lots of practice in gratitude. I believe it is the language of love and healing; I know it opens my heart to wisdom. I have become old enough to see blessings in strange, uncomfortable packages, old enough to appreciate the deceptively simple.