I turned 65 this week and I have to say that when my Old Age Security letter arrived in the mail a week ago, it was rather a bittersweet moment.
I went from feeling ‘Oh, that’s nice’ to ‘Oh my God, how did this get here so soon’ in reflecting on my approaching 65th birthday.
That morning, I awoke and laid quietly with my thoughts, giving myself the opportunity to begin the walk across the bridge to a new place.
As I reflected on the journey of this past year, my mind went to preparing for the radio show I was going to host, celebrating this rite of passage.
Yes, my own radio show. A dream come true that every little step over the past six years has led me to.
I read a short little story on the air called Blame It On The Bossanova by Mary South. It is one of the inspirational tales from the Oprah Winfrey book, O’s Little Guide to Finding Your True Purpose.
Oprah opens the book with this bit of wisdom: “We’re all called. If you’re here breathing, you have a contribution to make to our human community. The real work of your life is to figure out your function—your part in the whole—as soon as possible, and then get about the business of fulfilling it as only you can.”
In her book, South tells about her decision to leave her six-figure corporate job, sell her house, and buy a 40-foot steel trawler, learn the ways of seamanship and take her life in a new direction.
What I have learned from my own jump into that ocean is that this commitment to finding your purpose is a road of true commitment to your own soul. The water gets rough and you want to head for dry land, but you don’t. You put on your life jacket and rain slicker and hold steady to the wheel.
It gets cold and very scary, but soon the sun comes out and you realize you got through that storm. You enjoy the day of sunshine and swabbing the deck, knowing that without fail, another storm will come, but you feel just a little more confident you can get through it.
As South experienced adopting to new changes in her life, I too have been blessed with so many joyful surprises as I believe my true purpose has unfolded, one step at a time.
I realize that if I had not committed to moving through the fear of each opportunity that was presented to me, the unfolding of my dream would have been thwarted to get to this moment today.
At the age of 15, after starting to work in a local care facility, my dream was to make a difference for people who are aging and vulnerable.
I saw some things there that really appalled me and so off I went into nursing.
It was in particular one patient, Lena, who was bedridden and in a state of severe contracture from Parkinson’s disease.
Her big eyes widening with happiness as I came into her room to give her a hug and a soft touch is embedded in my memory.
It is she who guides me to this day to stay true to the passion I felt in wanting to make things better for those that can’t speak for themselves.
After doing my radio show last Sunday, my hubby and I headed up to the Elvis Festival in Penticton, the only way for a die-hard Elvis gal to spend her 65th.
Elvis has journeyed the road of my life in a strange and wonderful way. My mom absolutely adored him and we would be rocking to his tunes throughout my teenage years, all four of the girls in my family and mom gyrating and crooning in the kitchen as we all did the dishes together.
As I sat next to my hubby, listening to the tribute show rendition of My Eyes Have Seen The Glory, I felt an overwhelming surge of emotion. Life seemed to have come full circle for me. The struggles of my life felt to be back on the other side of the bridge and I had simply crossed over to where there seems to be a garden of overwhelming gratitude for all I have experienced.
I gently sobbed with my husband holding me and it seemed that only the good of my growing up life remained.
The joyful enthusiasm of my mom on her good days, the camaraderie I shared with my three sisters, the tight union of our family through the many joys and hardships we shared.
We walked out of the auditorium into the sunshine and all seemed right with the world.
I guess this truly is the blessing of aging and turning 65. I can’t wait for what comes at 70.