I turned si… mumble mumble..y… this spring.
Okay, I’ll try again.. On my birthday, I turned sssblabla bla… whatever…the same age as Disneyland.
It’s hard to blurt out that number thing, given I wrote the Amaranteen Theory. You can read it here but in a nutshell, I make up my age, and rarely is it in numbers. I’ve made up my age since my mid thirties, when the number version had me questioning how long I’d be able to keep waterskiing like a madwoman. That scared the age right out of me.
So, it’s not out of vanity that I make up my age; I do it so that my own preconceived notions of an age won’t be that thing that limits me. It won’t be the thing that whispers “You are too old to leap out of a good corporate job just because it is making you insane” or “you can not apply to train as a sailor when the other sailors are 30 years younger than you” or “If you haven’t done it by now, you never will” or “you can’t climb tree tops at 60 and get away with it.” Nutshell message: If you hear yourself thinking those sort of thoughts, please do read my blog post, The Amaranteen Theory. After all, why let a number get in your way?
But, in fact, I was letting a number get in my way!! Sixty. Eek. I somehow let the number slip in my thoughts pre-birthday. I tried to tell myself “Wow, way to go!” or something equally pleasant. But there was no sincerity. The whole concept just felt surreal, but not in a good way. I was turning 60. “I am not where I’d thought I’d be at this age,” I thought. “I should be this.. that… or whatever” I even heard myself think.
Given, it has been a challenging year. Given that perhaps it was okay to do a bit of grieving – there really had been so many changes as a result of getting through cancer treatments. The whole ‘getting back on your feet’ financial challenge, a roller coaster of reactions and aches and pains due to meds meant to help prevent recurrence. A move that never felt settled. Other stuff.
AND I had taken on a year long work contract that has been fascinating, but took over my life.
I was squeezing in the rest of my life in far too few hours in a week. My favourite things; my girls, my grandgirls, my clients, my courses, were being tucked into smaller time slots. My creative and adventurous soul-fueling explorations, let alone family and friends, weren’t getting their due either.
Not whining. Just acknowledging. Probably contributed to why this birthday was really messing with my thoughts, reminding me of what was not working quite as planned and finding myself being hard on myself. I know. I teach “kindness to self,” yet, here I was. It was then that I knew I had to call in all the stops on my thoughts and come up with a serious plan.
Being a coach helped. I have creative tools to help me past tough stuff. I am not perfect at using them the moment I need them. I am mortal, after all. But I do have playdates with my thoughts. I have amazing clients, and through coaching them, I have my own reminders of finding my own way. I can ask myself, “How can I make this funny?” I can do the squiggly roller coaster doodle activity I share with others. I can slip my way into creative solutions by imagining there are no barriers. I can check in with my own characters in my head and listen to their story, their questions for me, and their humour. (Yes, one of my clients has an epic novel’s worth of characters she can count on and no, there is nothing wrong with that. It’s an especially brilliant technique for the writers!) And sometimes, I can just breath and trust.
All of this processing of my age led to adventures that both celebrated and lifted my spirits – hiking the Juan de Fuca Trail with a great friend, being kidnapped by a pirate (too long of a story for here!), and a wonderful family road trip to a crazy Tree Top Adventure Climbing Course. That part, especially, was to remind my body what it loves and is capable of, just in case the ‘number’ was going to keep trying to get in the way! As it happened, I conquered some fears and fell in love with Tree Top obstacle and ropes courses! See? At this age, there’s always new and extraordinary things to experience. And completing this course had me scoff at what that number had been trying to tell me. Yes, indeed!
It was on that part of the adventure that the number thing got resolved, but in a way that surprised me: My daughter had decorated the entire motel room in a Disney style “Nanaland” 60th theme – . On the door was Disney’s current slogan: “Nanaland. 60 Years of Magic. Imagine More”
And suddenly, I felt great about where I’ve been and where I’m going. All the rest of the adventure was wonderful but this… this was all I needed to feel great about my new age.
(Yes, if you ask me how old I am, I will answer, “60 years of magic, imagine more.” I wonder if people think I’m crazy? AND I WONDER…what age might you pick if you were to choose an age that was not a traditional number?)