The Art of Ripening: Discovering Youthfulness at 70 and Beyond
How is it possible that I have turned 70! It’s been two months now and I still haven’t settled in to my new decade. If anything, I feel younger than I did when I was fifty! The adjective that popped into my head on my birthday was “ripe”. I feel just bursting with life and what it has to offer, and I think of William Sadler’s book “The Third Age” and his concept of growing younger as we age. There is something profound and paradoxical to what he says: “With realistic optimism we can unite beginning anew with ending, growing young with growing older. This dual vision will enable us to achieve the ‘whole sight’ needed for a ripening identity and fulfilling lifestyle in the third age.”
Here I am feeling full of life as if I was a tomato bursting with juice and tasty flesh even though I have definitely entered the beginning leg of old age – the “young/old” stage. I find myself stepping into a playful way of looking at the world and my life. I have the wisdom to know that life brings challenges and gifts, some with sorrow and grief and others with surprise and joy. This sense of equanimity about what happens seems to allow me a sense of humor and fun I haven’t felt since I was a child. A sprinkle of delight flavors my daily adventures in work and with relationships, and along with the playfulness I find that I don’t have patience for being treated with rudeness or as invisible. I plan on stepping into my next ten years with vigor by engaging in life with new ventures. I’m starting by self-publishing with friends a book of short writes and poetry, by taking a three-week trip to Europe to places I have not explored, and by having a summer birthday celebration with family and friends, something I haven’t done since I was sixty. Bring the next decade on!
“It is a mistake to regard age as a downhill grade toward dissolution. The reverse is true. As one grows older, one climbs with surprising strides.”