Turning 60

Me and David at a river outside Puerto Vallerta, Mexico, shortly before my 60th birthday

Turned 60 last month.

That 6 felt kinda big. Drew me to look back over the accumulated years with a sense of wonder and even startled disbelief. Started picking over all the stuff, places I’d lived, relationships come and gone, choices that led down unexpected paths. (Do any of life’s paths turn out as expected?)

Then something—maybe it was the startled disbelief—made me turn, look the other way, and wonder, What will my life will be like five years from now?

I have the sense that it will be utterly transformed. But can that really be true?

On some levels it will likely be the same. The same kinds of self-doubts, castigations, uncertainties, fears. The save love of hearth and home (though in a different house). The same push-pull about family and social connections.

But on other levels – I think it will be utterly transformed.

By then, we expect to be living in uptown Port Townsend. Instead of looking out my windows at towering red cedars and Douglas firs, I expect to be looking at other people’s houses. I’ll walk out our cottage door onto a deck that overlooks a small common garden, shared by six other encircling cottages.

Instead of driving to every errand and destination, I will walk to church, the library, theatre, food co-op, and friends’ houses. (Or so I imagine and hope.)

We will no longer have our loosely-drawn acre of “lawn” to defend against the ever-encroaching salal, red cedar, Douglas fir, and other residents of the woods. A ton of work lies before us to get this property ready for sale, and then, when we move, we’ll have only a narrow strip of ground around the cottage to plant, prune, and weed. Thank God!

In five years, I’ll be 65. Will David and I both be in good health? I hope so. Will I be retired? No… don’t think so. Not sure what I’ll be doing, but I hope that it includes writing about, teaching about, and celebrating what it means to be grounded in creation and connected through the stories and places of our lives.

With blessings for all who live in transformation,

Margaret

About Margaret D. McGee

Comments

  1. Wow! I love all this! Pilgrimage Port Townsend! Moving Uptown! (where? where are these wonderful sounding cottages?) Happy 60th, every minute of it!

    • Thank you, Mary — it’s all pretty exciting. The cottages are uptown in the half-block bordered by Taylor, Lincoln, and Adams Street. Some are renovated existing cottages, some under construction. Two block from Aldrich’s! Can’t wait!

  2. barbara gibson says:

    Dear Margaret!

    Thank you SO much for using my Sophia psalm this month, and for providing a link to Amazon! You are a very generous person.

    My older daughter is turning 60 this month on May 25, the same day as my 81st birthday. Just wait, Margaret.

    Being 80 is very different from being 60, or even from being 70. Mostly, it’s just that I have less physical and psychic energy. I weep more often, though I think that’s a good thing. We all need to perform our lamentations. My weeping isn’t always from sadness; sometimes it’s from joy, from being moved by a memory, or the sight of The Mountain, or… you know.

    Congratulations on your move to a different home. Sounds great.

    Blessings, light, and love, Barbara

    • Thank you, Barbara. I love your Sophia psalm, with its mixture of darkness & light. It expressed much of what I’ve been feeling the last few weeks. And thanks for sharing about your daughter, and yourself. I like feeling the connection, moving through the years.

  3. Katie Fleming says:

    Oh, Margaret, this is so exciting! When you move, you will be within my walking distance. I LOVE being in town. I can walk everywhere. If I want to, and, often in the summer, I DO want to. I can take one of 20, or so, routes to church, seeing different houses, different gardens, different people along each.

    • Thanks, Katie — I’m excited about it too. A few weeks ago, I walked from the site of our new house to Ft. Worden, and my route took me along a path that went right by your house. Wonderful!

  4. Joe D. Proctor says:

    Happy birthday Margaret. Turning 60 is an event, as you’ve noted, when you replace the 5 with a 6. But it more than a number for it symbolizes a point in life when wisdom is a full bloom, replacing the hectic era when we make babies and hope they turn out to be responsible adults. We begin to accept new roles, new careers, make new friends while hopefully keep older ones. The great unknown is health. As hard as we may try to eat well, exercise and develop positive habits we can only hope and pray that our minds and bodies will hold hands for a while longer. Your new project with Pilgrimage Port Townsend sounds like an exciting way for pilgrims searching for direction. Good luck with it. I read “Stumbling Toward God” when I returned from India and will soon read “Sacred Attention.” Any more books upcoming? Good luck–I always enjoy reading your web site. Joe Proctor,Louisville, KY

    • Thanks, Joe. I appreciate your words about wisdom — some days I can feel it more than others! Hope you enjoy Sacred Attention.

      My third book, Haiku – The Sacred Art, came out last year. Though another book is not imminent, the new enterprise is leading my thoughts and words more and more toward pilgrimage, so that might be a topic that will develop into a book-length work. In the meantime, I’ll just keep writing. My best to you, from the woods outside Port Townsend to Louisville.

  5. Brad Offutt says:

    Happy Birthday! Margaret, I believe in transformations. I’ll turn 70 next year, and that doesn’t seem all that old. But how different my life is than when I turned 60! Then I’d just retired. Since then, we’ve moved to Port Townsend, I’ve found more than one new and delightful part-time occupation, Sandy has established herself as an artist, our daughter and son-in-law have moved to PT – I never could have imagined all these things, let alone have anticipated them. Most wonderful of all are the new friends who’ve been kind enough to share something of themselves with me. So thank you, Margaret, for all that you share, including this wonderful Courtyard!