The Overachievers and Passionate Ones…

I don’t talk about my age.  It reminds me of how little time I may have left to do all the things I want to do before…. well… you know…

Talking about my age, saying it out loud, reminds me of the time that has passed…snapshots of great adventures…

-I was 16.  I took our Sunfish sailboat out for a sail. It was a beautiful day… Beautiful blue sky, the wind about 4-7 knots. I got carried away… literally.  On a whim and breeze, I thought, “I wonder if I could make it all the way to the Seaside Bridge… No storm on the horizon… no clouds or signs of impending weather… ”

So I set sail from the top of Barnegat Bay, under the Mantoloking Bridge to the Seaside Bridge…two bridges where nice boaters made way for me..)  … Yep- gone– disappeared for 5 hours or so.  I had the most wonderful day! (Little did I know that I’d set off a minor search party looking for me… and them never thinking that I was 12 miles south of them…!)

 

And snapshots of time stolen or missed…

-Like when I was just trying to help in first grade because I’d finished my work and wanted to help my neighbor who was stuck and Miss Lockwood asked me who I thought I was to get out of my chair and do the teacher’s job…

-Or when I spent my days after school playing alone in the basement because… well, too personal for here…

-Or when I had a handsome Air Force Academy Lieutenant visit me from Colorado Springs and ask me to go back with him… to leave NJ…and I was afraid…

-Or when I wanted to get married and my mother asked me, “Who would want to marry you?”

-Or when I married a man with a personality disorder and who was emotionally abusive?

-Or when I finally gathered the courage to leave and my attorney screwed up the paperwork and I lost custody of one of my children and spent the next 5 years trying to get him back?

-Or when I went back to teaching, back to graduate school, developed cancer, and spent 6 years doing 4 years’ work?

-Or when I apply for leadership positions only to have people surprised when I walk through the door (you read between the lines for me…)

I was on a Twitter chat this morning and someone posted a video about how ‘busy’ can get in the way of things that are really important, like finding time to play ball with your kids because you’re ‘busy’  …. or go to soccer games, or school nights, or… , or… or…

I immediately posted the YouTube link to Harry Chapin’s “The Cat’s in the Cradle” and I thought, yes, that’s what being over 60 means.  It means I have a longer history, I’ve seen more and yes, some of us with 20 years of teaching and learning and leading under our belts are just waiting to retire and do something else.

But some of us are not.

Some of us continue to go on to graduate school when we should be putting money into our 403(b) plans. Continue to push the edge of what is possible because we see what is possible where others may not. Continue to turn the faceted apple because there may yet be something we’ve missed.

Interestingly, Clara Barton started the Red Cross at age 60.  Grandma Moses began painting at 89 because she could no longer needlepoint. And Georgia O’Keefe and her larger than life paintings? She didn’t let her dwindling eyesight stop her.  Instead,  “at the age of seventy-three she embarked on a new series focused on the clouds in the sky and the rivers below” and gave us some of the most amazing work.

Yes, the overachievers and passionate ones live on to do great things even when perhaps they are expected to go ‘quietly into the night’…

we are the scrappy ones…
the ones that march on despite the hurdles…
who have lived the word ‘persistent’ and ‘grit’…
because without it we would have been swallowed up…

Some of us do not go quietly…

Some of us believe that we still have time left to change the world… but may not get the chance because yes, we’re over 60…

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