The Journey of a Lifetime

I’ve heard it said that to find your purpose, think of all the things you loved to do as a child.

Television shows were huge past time activities for many of my friends growing up, but not for me. I used my allowance money to buy the latest copy of Tiger Beat or Teen magazine and read it out loud to my friend Maria.  We shared the latest gossip and the newest trends while saying we were going to be news reporters.

As an older me, I still prefer a good magazine read over television watching.  Books and magazines always keep me openminded to new experiences!

Some things, like that, don’t change. And some do. I cannot believe how fast the years are going by and I have only a few days left of being 58.

As I get older and begin the start of a new age the anticipation gives me the same excitement I feel when touring an old mansion.   It feels as if I am standing in the foyer of a beautiful old house and seeing the sparkling chandeliers and paintings as well as the doors lining the huge staircase.  For so many years for one reason or another I stayed stuck in the foyer.  I would habitually do the same thing over and over. I would read the books and look at the pictures but had nothing to report because I felt afraid to try new things.

That’s changing: My fondness of books and reading had me join a community book club here in my neighborhood, where I met a lovely neighbor who I now call friend.  She is very musical, crafty and colorful–all the things I never thought I was.  I am conservative, but I am finding as I peek into the doors of her life that I see myself copying her from time to time.  She may notice I now have flowered jeans and how when we are shopping I have a bottle of $2.99 sangria in the cart because I enjoyed it so much when having wine and cheese at her house.  Small things to some, but fun changes for me!

Saying yes to a playdate was much easier as a little girl. But my new friend makes it welcoming to try new things as she invites my sister and I to comedy night outings, and last Sunday we had so much fun doing water aerobics with her at our community pool.  Oh, how the young sun bathers looked at us like we were nuts.  Those old broads are making so much racket in the pool.  But it sure was a fun door to have opened and one I would never had even thought of when stuck in the foyer.

As often happens in life, Maria and I lost touch through the years. So I am not sure if she fulfilled her dream of being a news reporter, but I will always think fondly of her.  Peeking through the window of my childhood home and seeing us reading books brings back the happiest times for me.  Deep down I am still that same girl who loves to flip through magazines.  Recipes, crafts, fashion, movies, books, trips, workout tips!  My heart is racing just thinking of all the wonderful things I can learn to do as I climb all the stairs and begin flinging open the doors.

I may not have Maria to be my co-reporter but I hold her memory in my heart as I look forward to reporting everything I learn to all of you.

I hope I will be around ten years from now as I end my 60s being the same girl who is excited to climb the stairs up to the attic of the mansion.  Oh my, can you imagine all the wonderful treasures that are hidden up there!

What I once called leisure activities I now call life.  I am so ready to explore every single room and try something new and different each and every day.

Having the courage to step out of the foyer came just in time!   In a few days I will  blow out my 59th birthday cake candles but  I no longer need to make a wish.  It has already come true!  I will instead say with a heart filled with gratitude , “Thank you, God, for this incredible journey.”

Donna Ryan, a frequent contrbutor to thirdAGE, is the founder and editor of the blog


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