Choose Your Own Adventure « The Other Side of 55. This was a wonderful post. We’ve all played what if..I wonder what would have happened if I had done this instead…The post made me think about it all again. I have played this game over the years and pretty much decided like “the other side of 55” that I’m right where I’m supposed to be.
I majored in music when I was in college. I had been told all my life I had a wonderful voice and a God-given talent, and singing seemed to come easy to me, so I thought I’d like to make my living singing. Well, I was also a product of my life up until then…I was shy, introverted and afraid of everything. I could enjoy learning to sing better, and develop my voice, sing in church and even with the local symphony, but I did not have the drive and temperament to pursue that life. So…that happened as it should have. I got married, quit school after 2 years, had two kids, life went on and finished my music degree when I was over 40 just so I could say I had graduated from college.
I also minored in art and wished I could learn to paint. Well, that took money we didn’t have and supplies, so that fell by the wayside. Over the years, I’ve dabbled in painting on canvases, totally self-taught and even painted an incredible picture of Jesus the Sacred Heart after a retreat…I firmly believe that one was painted with the help of the Holy Spirit. I also learned how to paint the Donna Dewberry way and painted lamps and vases and tables and candles until everyone in the family, including me got sick of it all. Meanwhile, I became a cake decorator and that became my major creative outlet. I soon specialized in wedding cakes and now 30 years has passed.
Since I’ve passed my 61st birthday, I too, am on the “other side of 55”. At this time of my life, things have settled into a routine. I’ve been married for almost 41 years to the same man, the father of our children. I’m finally comfortable with who and what I am despite my faults and failures and “don’t sweat the small stuff”. Life is shorter now than it used to be. Some things just don’t matter in the long run! Living without stress is the first priority. Living in prayer and learning how to live in peace is what it is all about at this stage in my life. Admittedly, we never thought we’d have to worry about our retirement age. We never foresaw my husband losing a high paying job after 30 years and having to declare bankruptcy. We never expected to have to live on less than $10 an hour for several years and learning to live without credit, but we did and we have. We never expected the latter years might be harder than the ones that have already passed, but with our economy and fate of social security up in the air, it is a possibility.
Looking back, things seemed to happen just like they were supposed to. Along the way, people were put into my path who were strong, prayerful Christians who taught me and supported me and helped me along my path. Some became lifelong friends, the kind you can talk to after an absence and pick up where you left off. I have been blessed. And I am thankful. Despite the difficulties of the past couple of years, and the physical limitations that have cropped up within the last 15 years, I am where I should be at this time of my life. I am looking forward to more of the journey.