Embracing My Second Childhood

Yup, I’m here. I’ve made it to the second half of my sixth decade. And, as you may be discovering too, dear reader, it’s not all bad, moving into retirement, social security, and conversations about yoga poses and herbal supplements for aged bodies.
I’m embarrassed to admit that there was a time in my life when “over 60” was a pejorative phrase in my book. I dismissed others thoughtlessly with… “Oh, don’t mind him; he’s old.” or “She said that?  Ignore it; she’s in her second childhood.”
Now I hear that dismissive tone in the voices of younger people. I see expressions of pity slip across unwrinkled brows when I stumble or ask someone to speak a bit louder.
I’ve spent enough time, here, “over the hill,” to be able to draw some conclusions and make some decisions about my life… and my future.  Yes, my future!West side of Mt Desert 8-5-8 025

And so, here’s my Declaration of Acceptance, my manifesto – I am in my “second childhood” and lovin’ it.

  • Everything is waiting to be revealed. Like children,  for me everything is new and captivating, waiting to be discovered and explored.
  • Mistakes are part of learning. Like children, I am not afraid to try, and perhaps fail, and try again.
  • The feelings of those around me matter. Like children, I listen, not for objective information, but for tones and moods – humor and sadness, little signals that someone needs a hug, or a laugh, or privacy.
  • There is delight around every corner. Like children, I am not afraid to admire and express my joy in people and things both ordinary and exceptional.
  • Now is the time to have fun. Like children, I have time to play. I play well alone or with others.
  • Love is to share. Like children, I will love without reservation. (Broken hearts heal.)
  • Wonder is my natural state. Like children, I am amazed and awed by the antics of a squirrel and the rainbow spilling through a raindrop.  Larry painting @ Salisbury Covet 8-5-8

That’s it, my manifesto,  my seven guiding principles for the hours, days, and years left before me.

In The Art of Happiness, the Dalai Lama speaks about “basic spirituality — basic human qualities of goodness, kindness, compassion, and caring… as long as we are human beings, as long as we are members of the human family, all of us need these basic spiritual values.”

Children come to us with these qualities, and we can deepen or regain them when we choose.



About J. F. Booth

I am a writer and educator.
This entry was posted in Life Lessons. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Embracing My Second Childhood

  1. nlg49@charter.net says:

    It’s official, you have a much better attitude than I have. I need to start working on mine.

    Love you,


  2. Ann Kennedy says:

    Dear Jan,
    I love this. As you know, I share this stage in life with you, but I never thought of presenting the opportunities it affords so poetically, practically, and positively!! You are truly wise and full of wonderful insights for the rest of us! I love having you in my life.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Janice, as always, you write with a wonderful, clear, positive, style. I appreciate the tone of your “Declaration of Acceptance.” I was about to not read it right away, and go about other tasks, but stopped in my tracks at your suggestion, that yes, one does have 5 minutes. Go ahead, do it, Now.
    Thank you for sharing your perspective. You are in a wonderful, peaceful place. I’m in the first half of my 6th decade, and find myself with too much time or not enough time. Embracing that time seems to be key. We cousins are on this road together. Acknowledging the “child” within us as we explore these next chapters of our lives is good advice that I will do my best to employ! Thanks!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hello, Jan,
    Things are good here in Pawleys Island, SC where we are spending most of our days now. No, Tom has not retired, although he mentions the word now and then. There are so many artists and writers down here I am thinking about trying to start a branch of Pen Women. I really miss the conversations I used to have with my fellow docents at the museum and library board and Pen Women. So, we’ll see. We shall be back up in April – probably the 8th – for azalea season – but no big party. But we would love to see you and Larry if you can come by and view the beauty! I miss writing those reviews, too, not to mention attending the performances. The cultural scene here is rather barren. Have to go to Charleston – an hour 15 away. But doable if the driver doesn’t have too much wine!

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