A blogging friend wrote a wonderful post concerning the approach of age 60. As someone who is several years her senior, I can joke now about the trepidation some feel about that milestone. It is true that as young whippersnappers we thought age 40 was ancient and then as we approached 40 we pushed that arbitrary beginning of the end back to 50 and, for me, 60 became the final celebration of birthdays. There would be no more birthdays. Well, lo and behold, I had to reset at age 70.
Ten years ago I thought 70 was going to be a horrible milestone. Thoughts of physical limitations, decreased family interaction, fleeing mental capacities all came crashing down on me on August 3, 2007. It became a difficult time in my life. Young people at the grocery store called me “sir”. Pretty young ladies opened doors for me. Young men called my favorite classic rock music “geezer” music. Little children whispered to mom or dad, “How old is that man?” I no longer looked buff in swimwear. Age spots appeared overnight on my head. Wild, wiry, black hairs grew abundantly from my nose and ears. Where never in my life did I have worthy eyebrows, I raised a farm of wires.
I thought the final chapter of my book was in progress. I thought the time had come to nail down all those final resolutions, to pre-pay my burial expenses, to be sure those end-of-life papers are in proper order. And these preparations are a good thing for those of us who no longer receive AARP membership invitations. It is not merely a kindness, it is a duty to our loved ones who would be overwhelmed with the details if we did not give written directions. That DNR and those health care directives say to our spouse or our children, “I love you enough to make these life and death decisions now so that you don’t have to choose later.”
Though it is true there are probably many more years behind me than ahead, I now accept that perhaps age 100 is attainable and it is not a feat to be taken lightly nor a fear to shutter me behind closed doors. My life should have been a short-lived one, but thanks to a gracious God who saved me from the wretchedness of alcoholism I survived all these years to talk again and again and again about that miracle called recovery.
Truly, I cannot dig ditches nor build houses anymore but something inside me says, “We are not yet done.” And with that driving inner voice I anticipate years of continued blessings from a merciful and kind God. This God of my understanding has always provided answers, necessary resources, and a way to move through the good times as well as the bad. Each new day is a spectacular revelation which invites me to enjoy anew the continuing story of sobriety. The heartbreak of sober friends who needed to go back out and do some more drinking research, the joy of discovering inner strengths previously hidden, the unrelenting truth of a life lived soberly have all written chapters into my recovery book. And all I can hear from that inner voice is, “We’re not done yet.”
More importantly perhaps, that voice is telling me there are things left undone. There are amends to make and reconciliations to pursue. There are character defects to correct and offers of forgiveness to extend. There are neighbors and strangers who may need my kind words or shared food. I don’t know all that is left undone but I clearly hear that voice telling me, “We’re not done yet.”