Thoughts on Turning 60–What’s with that?

Sixty is a formidable number. Different from 30, 40, 50. One of those “decade” numbers that stops you in your tracks. Fifty was a bit intimidating but ultimately the approach and the finish of 50 turned out not to be a big deal. However, I’ve been thinking about 60 for a year now and I suspect I’m going to continue to ponder it for a while throughout the next several months. It is the top of some distant hill that I’ve reached, huffing and puffing along. Turning to look behind there are so many great memories but looking forward seems mirkier than other hills climbed in the past. Darker and a little frightening.

Why is that? Mortality is closer. Fears of morbidity arise. I’m a little stiffer and a little heavier than I’ve ever been. Getting pounds off is so much harder than it used to be and I’m less willing to put in the work to do so. What’s with that? I’ve always been a very goal-directed individual and now I find myself wanting to sit quietly, enjoy the moments and draw more often than choosing the next thing to accomplish. What’s with that?

I considered getting a master’s in something—Informatics being the most likely candidate. All my peers seem to be doing that—no longer is “just” an MD satisfactory. You need a Master’s in something—an MBA or an MPH (public health) or Informatics. So I did some research on pursuing that. I enjoy learning, why not? Well primarily because I wouldn’t have time to do any of the other things I am enjoying—traveling, drawing, spending time with friends and family. And what would a master’s get me—another frame on the wall and an opportunity to work harder? What’s with that?

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The drive to become something else is gone. Been there, done that–mother, doctor, wife, blogger, geek–check, check, check, check, check. My children are grown and successful, my marriage is happy, my career cemented. After years of ambitious productive activity it dawns on me–finally, I can do what I enjoy doing—drawing, writing, seeing patients, tinkering with Apple products–and saying no to ambition.

 

At 60, I get to choose just being better at the things I do now. I can quit dabbling.

 

And I am so OK with that.

 

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