By Dr. Marta Adelsman
Life Coach in Communication and Consciousness
(October 18, 2017)
This summer, as I turned 70 years old, the new decade announced itself with a sternness I didn’t experience with my other decade birthdays. I didn’t know how to sort out my thoughts and feelings enough to write about it. One morning, as I walked my dogs, I got it! My task, at 70, is to welcome 70.
While 50 and 60 treated me gently, 70 delivered the message, “Get serious! The end approaches!” Get serious? Really? What does that even mean? “Hurry up to accomplish all the things you’ve been meaning to do but haven’t! Get crackin’ on that bucket list!” I resist the inner pressure of that voice. At the same time, I listen carefully in case it has something important to say.
It tells me it’s okay to slow down. To heck with hurry-up! I recall a funny story about my son, Ethan. At four years old, he climbed onto his bed, covered his head with his pillow, and said, “Mommy! I’m under a rest!” I still chuckle at how his little-boy mind imposed its limited understanding of “rest” onto the broader concept of “arrest.” Seventy calls me to place myself “under a rest.”
Seventy also provides an opportunity for me to watch the ego as it deals with the descent of life’s curtain. Sometimes it wants to cower and yell, “No-o-o-o!” Sometimes it sits grumpily in the corner, complaining about swallowing the bitter medicine of aging. It envisions the future as a rough ride on a bumpy road.
As an antidote to my mind’s futuristic wanderings, I bring myself present. In this moment, all is well. And if there’s a problem, I don’t need to label it as a problem; it’s a “situation to handle.”
Seventy looks me straight in the eye and asks, “What excites you?” Faced with an invitation to hone in on what’s important, I recall how Oriah, in her book, The Call, expressed my deepest longing: “I am an ordinary woman with an extraordinary hunger; to live with an awareness of the Sacred Mystery, the Beloved—God—at the center of my life, and to learn from this presence who I am and why I am here.”
Enticed by the spiritual, I also find delight in the material world. I choose to nurture relationships with family, friends and community. Through my work in the world, I live out my life purpose to inspire myself and others to transform suffering into joy. That doesn’t need to stop just because I’ve turned 70!
I’m probably not the personality type to end my life like Hunter S. Thompson suggested: “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, ‘Wow! What a ride!’”
I want to experience my later years more like Oak Creek bubbling happily over stones on its way to the Verde River. I want 70 to taste like dark chocolate melting in my mouth. With my face upraised to the sky, arms flung open, breathing deeply and grinning widely, I welcome 70!