Tomorrow I will turn 60 years old. I never imagined that the day I turned 60 I would be living in a foreign country away from people I have always loved including my son, his father, my mother, my sister and her daughter and so many friends. I fully expected this birthday to be the same. I keep thinking about all the past Christmases and birthdays I’ve spent with the same people for so long. I hold them so dear but I’m also noticing that I’m holding all of this as the past.
I find myself in this new country, Ecuador, on the brink of a brand new life with a new partner. I finally know why I came to Ecuador.
I came here to be free.
I didn’t feel free where I was. I had this undercurrent sensation since I was child that I had to conform in order to be accepted and successful. It likely comes from being the child of immigrants.
As I matured I could sense that there was something inside of me that was so much more than what I had allowed myself to be but this energy didn’t have the space to be expressed. It was like there was something screaming, “let me out, let me out”. All the time it was my mind, my thoughts, holding me prisoner, but I could not see that until I left.
At this moment, I’m walking on a beach. I hear the waves. I feel the breeze. The fishermen are going out on their boats. Children are playing in the surf. Life is all around me.
It’s not how I imagined I would spend my days.
I vividly remember ten years ago, my fiftieth birthday. I was at Levels Restaurant in Annapolis. It was a surprise gathering of my friends, women that I truly love and respect. We had walked through so many fires together through the course of our friendship. I was even more surprised, and became emotional, when my eleven-year-old son and his Dad arrived to join us. I remember being so joyful, so thankful and feeling so loved.
Ten years later I’m walking by myself (by choice) on a beach taking stock of my life. I’m opening myself to what is emerging at this point in my life. I feel a gentle nudge like when the waves carry the fishing boats out into the ocean, not knowing where they are going but knowing they must go to live. I have no idea where I’ll be tomorrow.
Everyday is a not knowing.
Here’s the curious thing. I used to think I knew what was coming the next day.
I would plan.
I could schedule activities on my calendar believing that the next day would run according to plan or with little deviation. I was sure of who I would be with and where I would be. Even when things didn’t go as planned I had planned a Plan B, and C and D.
Does that sound familiar?
The illusion is that we believe that we know what will occur moment-to-moment, day-to-day.
Whether we consciously think this, we most certainly behave as if our life was that predictable and ordered.
There is a song whose line says “It only takes a phone call to drop you to your knees”.
That’s so true. It only takes a moment to change your life: the turn you took or didn’t take, the word you said or didn’t say, the decision you wish you had or had not made.
You just don’t know.
At fifty I prided myself on knowing stuff. Now that I’m turning sixty I’ve matured into the knowing that I know nothing.
I’m getting comfortable with my life as an emergent process instead of my life as a planned event.
I can see where fear and excitement go hand in hand. First I notice fear of the unknown, which is so human. Then I notice the anticipation of the possibility that tomorrow holds. I look forward to something unique and wonderful occurring that I would never have imagined, like living in Ecuador, celebrating my birthday with a special and unique person in a very spiritual and magical place on earth, a place where you can hear the ancestors whisper in the breeze.
I go to sleep in a house he built in a place we built for people to come experience their own emergent process in a safe environment guided by their inner wisdom and guides to hold the space for a new knowing. There is our invitation to stay for a week or a month then return to their lives with the understanding that life is truly an emergent and magical process.
It’s not how we planned it but it is how it is.
There is joy and fulfillment just around the corner when you are open to the unknown, when you engage a conversation about your truth and what really matters.
Let that be your compass, your true north. Allow that creative expression of your essence to emerge regardless of your age. Allow yourself the blessing of emergence, the blessing of being honest about who you are and the courage to lead your life accordingly.
As I turn sixty, I am looking at myself honestly. I didn’t know I’d be here and sometimes I feel a sense of loss.
Immediately I experience a huge opening and a connection to a universe I didn’t know existed. I’m part of that and it is part of me.
From there I can express myself fully and pass along what I learn to others. For me that’s what being alive is all about.
To be reborn at sixty into the most authentic, creative expression of my soul in this lifetime is the sacred agreement that I am finally fulfilling.