I married just before I turned 21 and remained married for the next 37 years. Thirty-seven years feeling unloved, invisible, unimportant and lonely. Having tried – and failed – for many years to create the closeness and intimacy I so longed for, I finally reached a point when I knew I deserved better.
Leaving my marriage was a watershed for me.
Despite the fact that I was the one who initiated the separation, it was one of the most painful choices I had ever made and I grieved bitterly. Yet, I never doubted even for an instant that I’d made the right decision.
My 60th birthday.
My next watershed came about shortly after I left my marriage:
I was fast approaching my 60th birthday. I had been feeling really vulnerable, trying to figure out what being 60 actually meant to me. Eventually I realised that I had intimidated myself into believing, even briefly, that as a 60-year-old I would no longer make a meaningful contribution or participate in life.
What made this so strange was that the evidence of my life even then was the complete opposite.
Looking back from the lofty heights of my 70th year, I can honestly say that, so far, this year has been the richest in love, meaning and purpose. I’m doing things I have never done before – including paragliding in Turkey which was a truly joyful experience.
Here’s a quote by Daisaku Ikeda, a Buddhist philosopher. It caught my eye because it’s a belief I hold close to my heart and embody both in my work and in my personal life. More than that, I believe that this is a possibility that can be true in general:
“The German author, Hermann Hesse (1877-1962), writes, “… there are certainly many people who, as they age, become increasingly vigorous and energetic, more broad-minded and tolerant, living with a greater sense of freedom and assurance. It is important to remember that ageing and growing old are not necessarily the same thing.”
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