Admit that once you have got up
from your chair and opened the door,
once you have walked out into the clear air
toward that edge and taken the path up high
beyond the ordinary you have become
the privileged and the pilgrim,
the one who will tell the story
and the one, coming back
from the mountain
who helped to make it.
Doors — They begin an adventure. They end a long day.
Doors — They stand open to call us toward a time of growth. They slowly close to create a space for quiet when it’s time to gather and reflect.
Today, I sit at a door. Today, I welcome a new year… My 65th. It is a day to pause. I never imagined what it would be like to reach this birthday. As a person with a disability, it is a challenge to plan for the future because so many things can come up along the way. Yet, here I am at 65 – healthy, able to pursue my interests, and still full of curiosity.
There have been adventures leading to this birthday and there will be adventures following this birthday. I greet each like a new door, calling me to trust as I move over its threshold.
I celebrate this day with gratitude and look ahead with anticipation.
From Mameen in David Whyte: Essentials
Many Rivers Press © David Whyte
Never be so focused on what you’re looking for that you overlook the thing you actually find.
October 1! I looked at the calendar with some sense of awe…in 30 days I will celebrate a birthday -my 65th birthday.
Sitting at this threshold I look at where I’ve been and where I am going.
And today, I am 27 days away. I still look at the calendar – so intently, I can’t help but wonder, is this fascination a preparation? Preparation for another milestone? Every 10 years, every five years -I’ve always loved celebrating birthdays and I know that some are much more significant than others.
Sitting in front of this threshold, I look at where I’ve been and where I am going. Counting down the days to a birthday that marks the end of something and the beginning of something.
There is a lot to think about. 65 used to be the age when one would retire. A tradition established by Congress. I Googled it!
“The original Social Security Act of 1935 set the minimum age for receiving full retirement benefits at 65. Congress cited improvements in the health of older people and increases in average life expectancy as primary reasons for increasing the normal retirement age.”
But 65 is not the magic age anymore. I won’t be considered eligible for retirement until I am 66 and six months. This makes things complicated because I retired on disability over 10 years ago. So I am eligible for some things and not for others. The details are boring and yet so important as they affect life in ways unimaginable! More about that in the days to come.
During this countdown, there is much to think about – to continue thinking about. But for today I will sit at this door’s threshold. I will take time to consider what it looks like closed and what it looks like open. I will lay options before me and practice the words offered by Julian of Norwich: believing that all will be well.
Quote: Ann Patchett
The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness.
Quote: His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama
Image: Ahmed Saffu
We are not permitted to choose the frame of our destiny, but what we put into it is ours.
This week I reached my 60th year! No one can describe what 60 will feel like any more than they can describe 25. But oh how amazing it is to have reached that day. Ask anyone in my family and friends they will agree – I LOVE to celebrate my birthday. When the pumpkins are carved and candle-lit on neighborhood porches I begin anticipating its arrival. Almost like a pre-party, I feel the excitement as children (both young and young-at-heart) sport their Halloween costumes and collect the sweet delights waiting in doorways and homes.
To my surprise this birthday has been more emotional than I expected. Memories have been sharpened as I have rolled through the years that brought me to now. So many moments – sometimes seconds – could have turned my life in such a different direction. Adapt and adjust – this has been my pattern for living. I have always tried to focus on gratitude whatever the situation. Often this has been easy as I have traveled, studied, worked and played in some amazing places with equally amazing people.
My independence may rely on others yet I claim it as mine always ready to consider new opportunities. In the difficult seasons I have been blessed with the care and attention needed to regain health and strength. And there have been some challenging times – no need to list the details but just to say I have experienced plenty of life changes. Some which may have slowed my pace but never kept me from reaching out for ways to stay connected and creative.
Maybe I am not so surprised to experience emotion on this birthday. There is much to remember, times that shaped my life in unexpected yet grace-filled ways.
As Dag Hammarskjold is quoted, we may not choose destiny’s frame but how that frame is filled must be of our doing. My frame has been challenged to hold an abundance of experiences that make up my life’s story. It has more to hold as hours move ahead into days and years.
I am grateful for this pause to give thanks for all I’ve experienced in my journey to ‘now’.
60- who can ever guess what this day will feel like?! With a rush of gratitude I check to secure the corners of ‘my’ frame and roll ahead into the next decade!
Quote: DAG HAMMARSKJOLD