Ok, tomorrow, January 13th I am turning 60 years old. How in the world did that happen? It seems like yesterday I was turning 50 and then in blink of an eye ten years have flown by.
The ten years have been filled with excitement, heartbreak, adventure, loss and many, many changes. It is without a doubt the most fulfilling decade of my life.
When I celebrated my 50th birthday I was so excited. I could hardly wait – there seemed to be a sense of freedom and having arrived attached to having reached half a century. I had many things planned for that year that included buying myself a sapphire and diamond ring, getting glamor shots taken and taking a trip to Ireland, my trip of a lifetime, with a longtime friend.
All of things happened and were wonderful. I still wear the ring on my hand along with the cladaugh ring on my other hand that I bought in Dublin. Ireland was everything I had ever thought it would be and then some. It is true that you cannot believe how many shades of green God created until you drive through the hills and valleys of Ireland.
I climbed Blarney Castle, bent over backwards and hung upside down to kiss the Blarney stone. I walked through old ruins where Scripture had been painstakingly copied and was able to get a tiny idea of how important Ireland was to the saving of the Word of God. I spent time in St. Mary’s Cathedral, built in 1276, with its five foot thick walls and thought about all of the prayers that had been prayed there.I walked the sidewalks of Trinity College where so many incredible scholars have gone before and then saw the incredible Book of Kells. I visited St. Patrick’s Cathedral and marveled at the architecture. I saw how Waterford crystal was made and bought a small piece. I drank mead (it was wonderful) danced at ceili and sat and watched the mighty north Atlantic pound against the cliff walls on the western tip of Ireland trying to imagine the journey my great, great, grandparents took when they left their homeland and moved to Canada.
What I hadn’t taken into consideration was in your fifties you can start losing those most important to you. We celebrated my mom’s 75th birthday with her whole family together and then the changes began. My niece got married and had her first son Zachary, who is now almost 10. My wonderful step father passed away, then my uncle and then a few years later my beloved father. During the past seven years a cousin has been killed, my niece lost our special little baby girl Samantha, four aunts have passed away, my former pastor’s wife has gone plus two special other family members have gone.
Looking for changes in life I ended up on a path I never expected and moved to Beijing, China to teach and here I still am.
During this decade I have travelled to Russia, Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Macau, Qatar, England, Cambodia, Scotland and all over China. I have walked on the Great Wall of China, ridden a camel in the Gobi Desert, ridden an elephant in Thailand and a yak in Northern China, visited the incredible Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, travelled through the Scottish highlands and around Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong,
had the privilege to share Beijing with my sister, attended the 2008 Olympic Games, walked on Tiananmen and Red Squares and cruised the Yangtze just to mention a few.
I have almost finished my Masters in Integrated Technology and have fallen in love with computers.
All of this is true but that brings me to tomorrow – I turn 60. I am now calm about the whole thing though earlier in the week I was angry at the inability to control what is happening and the consequences of what is happening. I felt like I was not wanted anymore because turning 60 means I am going to have difficulty finding another job. I am not sure where the future is going except that I feel like I am just getting started.
I am calmer today and know that tomorrow is the start of my 60’s and that the possibilities are endless. When I turned 50 I never had any idea that I would end the decade in Beijing, China – I wonder where I will be in ten years. Exciting opportunities.