Long ago I learned that a trip on the horizon keeps me happy. If there are no definite travel plans, no future dates inked on my calendar, I'm blue, untethered, uneasy. Buying guidebooks, planning an itinerary, and mapping out details give me a high of the healthiest kind. The prospect of getting away, the break from routine, the novel--it all keeps me connected and curiously, sane.
I just had my 60th birthday and I'm incredulous that I've lived so many years. I wasn't in the mood to mark the occasion at a party venue festooned with black balloons and "over the hill" jokes. I'd had that experience 10 years earlier when my husband threw a surprise party for me against my wishes.
We were one of the first generations of women to have the opportunity to chart our own course from the very beginning of our lives. Yes, many of us faced challenges with discrimination, and even harassment, along the way. But, for the most part, we were given an incredible opportunity to be healthier, better educated and more independent than any other generation.
For about three weeks after having hip replacement surgery in 2010, I felt I was doomed to a life as an Old Man. For the first time in 60 years, I briefly stopped feeling like a kid and looked at the face of aging.
Some folks march with heads held high into their senior years. That seemed more than I could manage. When I turned 60 and could pass for less, I forsook senior price tickets at the movie theater or museum, even stretched that out until I realized that vanity had closed out opportunities I was dumb to miss.