Knowing Who We Are in our 60’s

The summer and autumn of 2019 were months of visiting and hosting family, hiking, kayaking, camping with my husband and grandkids. My personality type is naturally enthused and ready for the next fun thing so it was a wonderful season for me.

But. Months later- into a brand new year! – it’s a challenge where and how to jump into a writing rhythm.

Take one step. Value the progress. Remember my purpose.

I started a mini series on aging well months ago – discussing positivity and resilience – and am going to finish up with knowing who we are in our 60’s and beyond. A space I am in right now.

I’ll begin by sharing my backstory – for some clarity – and encouragement to stay open to asking who am I, here and now in whatever season you’re in.

I married young and had my children young. Life was a busy mix of stay-at-home Mom and part-time work: sometimes employee, other times entrepreneur. This worked well, life was purposeful, it was my norm. My husband loves to build; thanks to his ambition and diligence in the construction company he started in his 20’s, we’ve had a stable and comfortable living.

In my late 40’s our two children flew the nest for education and their dreams: including marriage and living in other parts of the country. Their leaving seemed to happen quickly – they took our ‘independence training’ seriously! But our empty nest opened up time to pursue a new and shared passion. Running brought us fitness, friends, an excuse to travel.

2005, sharing a race with grandkids Celine and Laurent, Maine, US.

Life changed dramatically in my mid-50’s. We moved cross country from our forever-home, Alberta, to Nova Scotia on Canada’s east coast. We didn’t know anyone. We’d never visited the Maritimes other than a few days to buy our home.

Someday I’ll write the longer story of this spontaneous adventure; here’s the condensed version.

We explored our new province by car, kayak – on bikes and hikes. We made new friends. We visited our kids and grandkids – who lived closer than before, yet still a one or two day’s drive to Ontario or the US.

We didn’t move for retirement (we don’t have a definition for that yet); my husband pulled out his tools and expertise to create a modified version of his former life as a builder. One with more flexibility and less stress. Wonderful!

After settling into our new nest, I followed an interest of mine in natural nutrition ; with online studies for a diploma that developed into a consulting and coaching practice.

Supporting women in their desire to live healthier has been rewarding and challenging: changing habits and mindset takes effort on both sides of the desk! This track for me, for helping others will always be part of who I am.

Yet. Looking at the things that have been part of of my core for a long time I sense a shift in what I feel matters most as I move into my 60’s stage of life. In no particular order or category, things like:

  • Feeling okay with a faith that has been changing, as Laura Locke, editor of articulates so well has, “…found a deeper, truer place – filled with equal parts trust and mystery ­– where I am content to rest
  • Reviving my love language of preparing food, hospitality. ‘My mother tongue’ has returned, with enthusiasm for new recipes, expanding and sharing my table, this sacred place.
  • Communing more with the Divine in nature
  • Wanting less stuff
  • Submitting to imperfection, as per Jo Saxton’s “breaking up with perfection” in The Dream of You
  • Getting active supporting a cause for justice. Days for Girls has been one for me. Author, activist Lisa Sharon Harper– founder and president for justice movement, Freedom Road inspires me to overcome obstacles. “Be like water and get around the rock.”

How can we move ahead in discovering who we are are and becoming? Observe:

  • what we read, who we watch or listen to, i.e.podcasts, documentaries
  • who do we gravitate towards in a conversation
  • where do we feel engaged
  • a prayer and meditation practice

I find inspiration from other women’s words and actions.

Elrose and Sue, coined the Trekking Twins , at 83 are not only hiking mountains but maintain a section of Snowbird Mountain Trail, North Carolina. Lugging gas-powered trimmers and large loppers.

Captain Gail, here in Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia, bought her lobster boat and fishing license at age 50 and has the only all-female lobster fishing crew in our area.

Blog writer Emma Scheib writes “….you don’t have to bloom when everyone else does….just like your favourite rose bush, you get to bloom over and over again. You aren’t limited to blooming in one season of your life….”

Author Margaret Feinberg discusses in Taste and See – “Once a fig tree reaches maturity, it can be expected to produce fruit once to twice per year and can continue to fruit for decades. Fruitfulness goes on!” I Love that!

That’s my Aunt Helen, who at 98 follows a daily eating, waking and resting schedule. She lives alone in her own home, knits (a lot!), does a daily Word Find Puzzle. Her life bears witness that she loves God and people, which I believe has a huge part in being grounded and settled.

I hope these thoughts will be helpful in whatever stage you’re in.

I’ve shared some of my story; I’d love to hear your’s.

Love, and all the best for knowing and being YOU in 2020.

xo, Karen

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