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Thoughts Upon Turning 61…

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Okay, so, in a few hours I’ll be 61 years old.

(STILL old enough to be my own grandfather.)

In dog years I’d be dead by now.

(In mayfly years I’d be REALLY dead!)

I see myself as one year into my “final third”. I don’t see that as a sad or negative thing. I love my life. Even the yucky parts. The way I see it, the person who I am was as much born from the pain of the past as from the joys of the past. With a different past I’d be someone else.

I’ve heard it said that “Religion is belief in someone else’s experience. Spirituality is having your own experience.” By that definition, I guess I’m spiritual. I hesitate to use that word because so many people treat spirituality as a solemn and morose event …something separate from life that we stop and pay homage to.

Make no mistake that there is spirituality in joy.

While I strive to be the best person I can, I don’t do it because I believe I’ll win a prize (heaven) or avoid a punishment (hell). I do it because it makes sense to me. The way I see it, if we’re very lucky, we get a ‘turn’ of about 80 or 90 years of this life. It’s our choice to spend it, invest it or waste it. We decide this daily, through our actions. We go through entire periods of investing and wasting. What doesn’t change is that it ends.

Perhaps YOU will go to heaven or paradise. Perhaps YOU be reborn until you reach nirvana or moksha. Personally, MY life will end. As I wrote at the age of 17, “…I will cease to exist and, in that non-existence, will know the peace of a thousand heavens.” This isn’t a depressing thought for me. It is a thought that challenges me to make my life count for something …for someone.

Another quote that has stuck with me was one I read on Facebook. “The problem with aging is when you finally get your head together, your body starts falling apart.”

Why am I writing this, and why am I sharing it? Because I’m about to turn 61 and I’m in a good place in my life and these are my thoughts. I’m not inviting a religious discussion. You have your reality and I have mine. Life is too short for arguments. (At least MY life is.)

I’m grateful for my family and my friends. I’m grateful for my home and every other risk I’ve taken and managed to survive. I’m grateful for my life, my childhood (…yeah, even the yucky parts), the teachers I’ve had along the way (people and experiences). I’m grateful for my strengths and weaknesses. My abilities and my inabilities.

I’m grateful that my ‘turn’ has lasted 61 years. I’m lucky to have had a turn at all!

I’m grateful that my life still cracks me up.