Sixty and Blessed

Getting old is not for ‘sissies’! Sage words from an elderly nun to the mother of my husband. Before another sentence is finished, I am not suggesting for a second that sixty is old! I don’t feel old and whilst we are at it – what a curt little nothing sort of word is ‘old’. Let’s go for vintage, experienced, wise, long lived, antique, unique and most importantly ‘still going’!

The aging process is challenging and confronting especially as it brings with it so many necessary and sometimes unwanted farewells. Careers, homes, interests and most importantly family and friends – the gift of time will eventually extract payment with the unavoidable currency of ‘loss’.

I have lived and loved change. It has brought me so many adventures and opportunities. Our deepest blessing has been to have a family. My husband and I have been given the exquisite joy and love that came from having our three kids. We watched them grow and we watched them go. It was really hard and what parent wouldn’t give anything to have just one more day of having your kids little again! Now the beautiful change we are living is to see them as adults and starting their own families with beautiful partners.

I am retired from a long, varied and very successful teaching career. There were schools, kids and colleagues I did not want to leave. I will always miss formal teaching.

"How lucky am I to have had something
that makes saying goodbye so hard"
Winnie the Pooh

For sixty years I have embraced change and will continue to do so. It was fabulous to use the gaining of six decades to take a bold move to honor the digit six and zero anniversary of birth with a photo shoot. I was encouraged thank goodness as I tried to dip out of it – more than once. Thanks to my friend Julie who had previously braved the camera to capture absolutely beautiful images of her lovely self – you were wise words, funny stories and legacy mindful. I am so glad you helped me to take the plunge.

My husband’s family and my nephew Jim and his wife Tiffany had gifted me money for my birthday. Initially I had some thoughts about a spa session – the type of indulgence that we so often reserve only for others. I knew I wanted something more enduring and Julie helped me with the idea of putting their gift towards a session with the talented crew at Studio Republic.

It was difficult to choose a few photographs from many. I was drawn to this one immediately as I recall that I was having a mighty laugh with the lovely young photographer at the time. It personifies the pleasure, fun and indulgence of having a professional photo shoot. This was a once in a lifetime for me. I am shy in front of the camera and freeze instantly so often come out looking a little stiff. I’m just a wee bit chuffed to have such a happy legacy picture.

The whimsy of this photograph makes it a favorite as does the presence of my crinkles!

My lovely engagement ring can be seen in this shot. Shane and I became engaged in 1983 during his mid course break from Officer Cadet School at Portsea in Victoria. I lived in Brisbane and with my sister Sue narrowed the choice to my favorites and we settled on a classic solitaire diamond set in yellow gold. My setting is altered now due to the near loss of the diamond just over a decade later.

Shane arrived home from a work function to find me devastated as I had not long noticed that the diamond was missing from the claws designed to hold it. The number of places I had been to during the day seemed endless including the worst possibility – attending the movies with a friend that same evening. The idea that my single diamond would ever be found again was unfathomable.

Legend status was achieved by Shane as he helped me to carefully back track through my day. Bed making turned out to be the culprit as he found the diamond in the pale but thick carpet near our bed. The jeweler who repaired the ring was not a fan of claws (as they can fail). We settled on the new ‘rubbed’ setting and my diamond has remained solidly and beautifully set since.

My Dad had the bluest eyes. Our three kids have blue eyes. I’m really pleased to have this gift of such a flattering photograph that captures the blue eyes I have from my Dad and which I managed to pass on to all of my chickens.

I love that Julie reminded me to wear my special jewelry. This solid silver bangle was the last present from my parents – a gift for my 50th. My gentle Dad was in hospital for cancer treatment. I was able to select the lovely piece and show it to him before he passed just nineteen days later. Our Mum died five weeks after Dad and whilst the official paperwork cites heart failure, I’m certain it was heartbreak. I do cherish this beautiful bangle.

Thank you to all the strong women and open minded men who have contributed to making the era in which I enter my sixties one in which ‘they’ no longer hold the power. This business of ‘they’ – they say a women of a certain age should not have long hair…they say you should do this and wear that and so forth. Change can be empowering! I am happy to be lifting weights and boxing. It’s great to be able to have time to volunteer at art therapy sessions. A day does not pass without being in, on or beside the water and often all three. Study and writing progress and challenge. Balmy weather and beautiful beaches are the backdrop for this third and final stage of life which will bring both delights and despair.

As 2021 draws to a close, Shane and I are soon to become grandparents. Due in December, little Miss will be our first granddaughter. Our daughter Alexandria and her husband Greg will be loving, terrified and fantastic first timers! We shall quickly get our skills up and be ready for our second grandchild when our son Harry and his fiancee Heidi bring their first born son into the world in April, 2022. I feel deeply the honor of being gifted the privilege to love and protect these precious children. For Shane and I to be able to enter this new season together is a blessing that I do not take for granted.

I adore these pearls. Shane had them made for me during our trip to Vietnam, China and Korea in 2008.

This was a bit of fun with the lovely photographer Bree encouraging a cheeky bit of sass.

Oh and there is just one more photograph – but that one is only for my Shane!

Photo by Tayeb MEZAHDIA on Pexels.com

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