Today, I learned it takes 50 years for an oak tree to produce its first acorns. 50 years. I still have time to go a little nuts then.
In a culture preoccupied by what’s hip and new…I am approaching the age where “new” and “hip” take on medically-informed rather than fashionably-derived meanings. And I’m okay with that.
In the past few years, I’ve read much about “second acts” and re-orienting oneself to a new “north star.” Across many platforms, 52 is the age cited when people begin to live out their best purposes. 52.
Of course…I cannot locate any of that research now as I neglected to lift it from the computer my patient son-in-law fixed for me. But check this link out, second-acts, and you might stumble across some of the same information.
In a few months, I’ll celebrate my 50th – hopefully on a sandbar around a fire with framily and Happy Camper Merlot. And I mean to CELEBRATE. In the past 24 hours – which included a bone-adjusting emergency massage, dinner with the coolest people I know, and an early morning stretch run with Katie – I have decided to approach this new season with an “aw hell – let’s do this thing” mentality.
Yes, my body is revolting…as in “staging a revolt” and I’m not anywhere near the White House or Olympic podium as I once believed I should be. But my heart is finding peace in these following truths reaped from nearly a half-century consuming air and chocolate:
- I have never been cool except for that shining moment when it was hip to be square. God bless the 80s.
- Age and experience offer wisdom. It’s our job to accept the offer -preferably on the first attempt.
- People are more important than stuff
- Adventures draw a pretty close second to people
- $75,000 is the American tipping-point of money-influenced happiness; after that, it’s all on you. Before that income bright-line, it’s pretty much all on you, but the bills are a bit harder to pay. Trust me, you can raise two mind-bogglingly nifty kids and restart a life on so much less.
- Power, recognition, and stuff are seductive and like most seducers, will leave you cold, confused, and worse-for-wear
- We are not dead yet and we get to act like it – “it” being our state of “aliveness” (And now for something different and somewhat related, Monty Python’s “Mary Queen of Scots”, https://youtu.be/UmMD4ij8GHk.)
- One’s position on the Oxford Comma is a true test of character with few exceptions
- Skinny, perfect, buff, gorgeous, brilliant, and a bunch of other descriptions too easily rob us of life and joy
- Forgiveness is saving my heart and adding more life than any of the other bits
- “Get outside and play” should not be relegated to kids and other non-drivers. We need fresh freaking air and time to play, daydream, and create. How we respond to this truth is a better predictor of old fogeyism than the date on any birth certificate.
- Often experience strips us of pretense, winnows our self-importance, and calls us out of the shoulds and into the living. This is a painful terrifying tremendous gift. As we age, we are given ample opportunity to get used to these graceful gifts.
- Years ago, I said I’d rather be wrinkled from effort and adventure than porcelain and preserved. Well, dang it. I got my wish. I intend to rock those laugh lines and outrun the funk we so easily feel with age and our own imperfections. Frankly, I think laugh lines are perfect.
Today, I asked an adventuring friend what his next plans are and he replied, “Nothing grand, but good stuff like purging, cleaning, fixing, improving, planting” which sounds like a terrific approach to life no matter what age your driver’s license lists.
Purging the clutter of attitudes that no longer serve us, cleaning out the dross from our interior lives, fixing what needs to be fixed (I’m becoming a fan of asking for help on this). Improving the plans we made to reflect where we are now and where we’d like to move toward. And planting: planting peace, cilantro, hops, joy, ideas, and seeds of hope.
This is the gift I intend to give myself for my 50th – the acorns I intend to scatter in my 50th year and beyond: Quiet. Time with pals. Snortling laughter. Hands held. Peace planted and watered. Patience. Bacon.
Though life and aging requires its own derring do, we don’t need to navigate it alone. We have one another. We have the Konza and the places our hearts find peace. We have the opportunity to go nuts a bit and leave seeds – acorns (my maiden name means “oak tree”) – to grow and provide shade and resources when we are no more.
I intend to be zipping around on a scooter when my kids turn 50. I want to see what nuts they produce.
We’re not dead yet. Let’s act like it.