Turning 60: A Letter to my Thirty Year Self

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 47 seconds.

Dear me,

Hey there 30! It’s 60. Still alive and kicking, as you can see.

You spent the two years leading up to your 30th birthday in a stew of worry: What does getting old mean? What does death look like? Will I be forced to retire my youthful dreams for more modest aspirations? Will I be able to fix all the mistakes I’m making raising my children? Will I always be on stage? Will I become dried up, washed out, sidelined and invisible? Will there still be sex?

I won’t trivialize your concerns. They were real, and life has validated many of them. But let me clue you in on a few things. The ride from 30 to 60 is going to be wild and rocky, but you’ll do more than just survive.

Some challenging things are going to happen that you didn’t even think to worry about: You will get a divorce after thirty years of marriage. You will lose many of those you love most—including your children and closest friends. You’ll cry with many parishioners as they struggle with loss and pain too. You’ll lose your dream home and possessions. You will be homeless for a while.

Some things will cruise along—with a few bumps: You’ll survive a career in the mega-church ministry, and you’ll only need two years of therapy. Your kids will find husbands and become successful and independent people. You’ll run twenty-six marathons, but you will have three knee surgeries. You’ll need reading glasses, hearing aids, and you’ll struggle to keep your weight under control, but you’ll manage. And relax, you’ll still have sex. More than you ever dreamed. You picked a sensual muse with which to live out your fifties and beyond.

Some fantastic, unexpected and beautiful things will happen too: You’ll create five businesses and sell three of them for lots of money. You will create and establish a wilderness retreat center that will live in perpetuity. You will find your voice in writing and painting and embark on a whole new journey in your forties. Your religious pain will become beautiful art and candid books. Art will become flow. And that outpouring will provide fulfillment for you and encouragement for others.

And all that worry about leaving the stage? Wait until you step off the platform and hear your words in the mouths and the memoirs of younger performers! You’ll support and mentor influential artists in meaningful ways.

You’ll discover the joy of two soul friends and treasure them in ways that never crossed your mind. You’ll still be comfortable in your own skin. You will value the freedom and meaning of existentialism over the control and dogma of the church.

So, while there are things to worry about, ultimately there’s nothing to worry about. At the cusp of our seventh decade, I have few regrets. I don’t want to stop the clock now that it’s ticking towards new adventures. You saw 60 as very, very old. But it’s not old at all, just old-er. And besides, just when you get used to being 60, you’ll be 70!

Oh yes, the best part of all is there are no alarms. In fact, there are no chronometers at all. I just read a brief history debunking this much ado about time—whatever that may be.

Does anybody really know what time it is?

With kindness and respect,

Sixty

Created by Randy Elrod
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