I had a birthday this week. And I don't feel as old as I am.
Well, that's not completely true. Sometimes my body feels every single day of my now 59 years, but my heart doesn't quite comprehend that I've been here on this earth for nearly six decades now.
In my heart, I feel young. The little girl in me still enjoys kicking through a wind-blown pile of autumn leaves -- if I don't have shoes on that will get stained. And I still love the splatter of spring rain on my face -- except that now the rain drops mess up my glasses and that's not so much fun. Sometimes I'm tempted to lay on my stomach and read a book, but then I'm reminded that my back will ache, or a muscle may spasm when I try to get up. And then there are those moments when I get up from a seated position, and my hips catch as I carefully unfold myself. And way too may times I hear myself groan as I stand and straighten up after relaxing all comfy snug in a big recliner chair.
But even on hard days, or in my very practical moments, my heart has me feeling like I'm still a young woman. Even though I wear a crown of gray, and my crows feet crinkle when I smile, and my dry eyes sometimes turn red and are not so pretty, the image I have of myself (the person behind my eyes) is younger than the one I see in the mirror. I suspect that's the way it is for all of us. Funny how this is. I consider it one of life's great blessings that we don't necessarily see ourselves as the world sees us. Then again, I'm not sure the world sees us and is startled like we sometimes are when we catch a glimpse of our aging selves in a mirror or window reflection. And those cameras at self-check out lines. Ugh. Recently I was startled (and discouraged) to see my image on the little screen as I was scanning and bagging my groceries. Really... why do I need to see my face then?
Anyway... all that aside, embracing my age this year, I announced on my birthday that it was the first day of my 60th year. I think my husband thought that was a negative way to look at it, but to me it felt empowering.
I'm now marching forward to 60, and feeling very reflective - as I do most years about this time. But I've decided to own this next year in a way I've really not done before. I don't know yet what that means. It would be nice if it meant I worked harder at being healthier, lost some weight, stuff like that. Stuff that most of us want to have achieved, but most of don't really want to actually DO.
It would be great if it meant growing deeper spiritually. Complete the challenge I started in January to read through the Bible (the challenge that has already gotten waylaid). To pray more intentionally, and by that I mean keep track of prayers and answers to prayers. To claim blessings and gifts as if they were directly given by the hand of God. James tells us it is so: "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."
It would probably be life-changing if I embraced challenging relationships as refining things in my life rather than regard them as chafing things to endure or avoid. Ouch. That one is a really hard one for me. But I suspect I'm the bigger loser because of it.
I could go on, but these are things I'm reflecting on lately...
I didn't make any plans for my birthday, but it was such a beautiful spring day (finally!) I decided I needed to get outside and take a walk. I couldn't manage to stir up anyone to go with me at the last minute (none of us actually answer our phones anymore, it seems - so I enjoyed a quiet solitary walk on the greenway trail of our town. By the time I started, the beautiful sunny day was starting to change to a cloudy breezy day so the pictures I got were on the dark side.
It doesn't look very spring-like, does it? You can't hear the birds chirping, or the low rumble of lawn mowers off in the distance cutting grass for the first time this year. It was a lovely, quiet walk. I only passed four other people in the forty minutes it took me to make the circuitous walk through what the city is trying to turn into something of a nature preserve.
Since I had the foresight to take my phone with me, it occurred to me that it might be interesting to take a picture of the same spot over the course of the the year to see how it changes. I probably should have chosen a more scenic spot, but then again, this little corner should show the changes pretty dramatically. Though I do think I need to work on the lighting. Then again, my phone camera isn't all that great if the natural lighting isn't great.
We'll see, I guess. We'll see if I manage to remember to take my camera in the future. We'll see if manage to have my phone charged so that I can take a picture (my phone was down to 5% charged when I finished my walk). And I suppose we'll see if I actually get out to this spot often enough to even do this seasonal photo thing... It all felt like a grand idea, the day I took this walk.