Birthday perspective

My 60th birthday dawns and with it a knock on our hotel room door. It’s my granddaughter and daughter wishing me a happy birthday. Soon, they are joined by my eldest daughter. It’s a happy way to begin the day.

Still, I’m feeling sad and old today. I wonder if there are any adventures left? I wonder if I’ve squandered my time? What have I accomplished? I brush my teeth and gaze at the image in the mirror, an old lady looks back.

We are in Kananaskis surrounded by mountains, my happy place and yet I cannot shake the melancholy.

We opt to leave the resort and go for a drive. Our destination, William Watson lodge. Years, and seemingly another lifetime ago I was there, a winter getaway with my young daughters and husband at the time. It was a difficult time for all of us. The trip was overshadowed by our daughter’s and my health concerns. I remember during that trip looking at the night sky wishing for something different for the following year, a return to good health, peaceful times. My wishes were not granted immediately, and not in the way I imagined at the time. How fortunate, as the life that unfolded was more incredible then anything I imagined.

The girls grew up, health was restored. A house was built, mountains were climbed, weddings were attended, births of grandchildren were celebrated. New jobs were started, and ended and started again. Life was lived, so many happy times, some sad, though all that remain are the brightest moments.

We leave William Watson and my heart is lighter for the perspective. We find a hiking trail and stretch our legs. The light is at its prettiest and the pictures take themselves.

We arrive back at the hotel. I’m now okay with my age, acquired wisdom and perspective. I’m fortunate for my memories, health and look forward to some future day when I might travel to this place again and marvel at all the life that has been lived.

I think of life as a map. We start somewhere and through the course of our allotted time on earth we move—walking, hiking, biking kayaking, flying across this earth, travelling some places many times, some routes just once. Some routes are so traversed they’ve worn nearly through the map, some are barely a whisper and yet each route creates the fabric of our life, a bright kaleidoscope and unique for every person.

I imagine that map in my minds eye and know that I have so many adventures left, so many trails to forge and so many memories to make, though sometimes it’s important to back track just to see how far we’ve come.