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!
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.
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.