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Thoughts On An Approaching Birthday

Posted by gayingram on September 26, 2007 at 4:42 PM

In a matter of days, I will be celebrating my sixty-eighth birthday. After achieving the half-century mark, I looked upon my life as being in a downhill slide. I began to experience a lessening of my physical abilities -- what I easily accomplished in my mid-forties, I would not even consider attempting in my mid-fifties. I took up more sedentary habits; reading, writing, sewing, improving my computer skills. All requiring more mental effort than physical. With the decrease in physical activity, I found it necessary to monitor my dietary habits in order to maintain a comfortable balance between being overweight and still healthy. But as I eased into a less physical lifestyle, my days continued to be satisfying and fulfilling. Although my goals and occupations had become more intellectual rather than physical, I was comfortable with the way my lifestyle seemed to be slowly easing as the years passed.

But for some unknown reason in recent weeks, I've found myself redirecting my thinking. Could it simply be the fact of summer winding down and fall approaching, allowing me to devote a few hours several times a week to more intense physical activities? In recent weeks, I've hauled and spread mulch, created new garden beds, dug up and divided the crowded irises, then enlarged a bed for the excess plants. As I move about the area defined by my gardening efforts, I find myself considering more and more projects just insisting that I consider adding to my list of things to do. When once I was satisfied with what I saw as I walked among the garden beds, now I find myself looking with new eyes at what I put into place over the years, some as long as twenty years ago. At the same time, I recognize I couldn?t do what I did so easily back then -- did I really load those railroad ties into our pickup at a friend's house and actually unload and maneuver them into position all by myself? Would I really be willing today to spend all those weeks chipping away the old mortar from that load of used bricks before I could reuse them to edge all those beds I created? But I do find myself thinking thoughts of taking on a major renovation in the herb garden, all the while acknowledging that it will be exhausting work and may require weeks to accomplish.

Is there some point in a person's life when they comprehend that life may go on for longer than they desire? On and off I?ve found myself surprised with the thought that it wasn?t entirely impossible that I would live for another thirty years. What is it that causes me to peer into the future and see so many years stretching out? I find myself wondering what will engage my passion in future years and give meaning to my life. How am I to fill all those days, weeks, months and years? I've reached a point where, unless the story is riveting, I cannot maintain my involvement in what I'm reading for those long periods of time as I did in the past. I look around and see the flotsam of past achievements -- books I've written and published, stories contained in notebooks, sewing projects, objects I've crafted. Perhaps not being actively involved in a particular writing project has caused this unrest, this dis-satisfaction with how I am using my days. What is it that will consume my passion, allow me to be so involved I become oblivious to the passing of time? Is there a new cause out there that I've not ever considered in the past just waiting to come to my attention? I have enough interests to fill my days with busy work, but none of it touched that deep place inside and while I am engaged with it, fills that particular spot with intense satisfaction and fulfillment.

If I do have another thirty years to occupy this earth, what is it God wants me to occupy myself with for that period of my life?

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