Editor: Yes, I am 60 years old. But sometimes I feel like I am 16 again. How? No, I am not getting dementia. I mean that, like many 16 year olds today, I do not have a plan for the rest of my life and just let things happen. Sixty isn’t sentient (perceptive, aware). It is an acquired skill.
As teenagers will soon find out, those in the sixth decade of life realize it to be an unstable time. Things haven’t turned out like you planned. I didn’t count on being downsized twice, or filing for divorce, or having an empty nest, or getting a smaller nest egg. I never planned on having 70 sessions of transition counseling. Or how quiet being home alone really is, except for the periodic performance of the Largo Symphony (a.k.a. dueling ambulances).
Now a sexagenarian, I am relearning those lessons 16 year olds learned. I have a new focus and experienced unexpected joys. Like the importance of friends, the importance of faith (no, Planned Parenthood), I was not tissue in the womb. God knew me in the womb and gave me a destiny and free will.
In other words, I may not have a plan but God does. He knew there would be hills and valleys.
I have learned to live authentically and just be myself. I live in a small home on a small patch of grass. I try to do my own repairs (little mechanical talent but lots of enthusiasm). I bought my first reversible drill today! I brought more than about 100 books from my previous home and am slowly rereading, donating or keeping them. I had 50 suits from my corporate life and now have 25. I am interested in part-time work involving some kind of intellectual endeavor.
So my advice to searching 16 year olds would be to carefully choose friends; all you need is one or two to negotiate life. Make sure they have good character (honest, trustworthy). Study and graduate either high school or college. Having a degree did help me get better paying jobs that cushioned the family in bad times. Most importantly, ask God for direction and guidance.
We were not meant to travel alone but to have fellowship on this very short trip. More time is behind me than is in front of me. Like the young people, I too feel ill-equipped and unsure about the future. But I too will find my way. Like you’ve been called “Sweet Sixteen” (I never knew why), I pray to find my own meaning and become a “Sweet Sixty.”