On Sunday I turned sixty. In many parts of Asia, to turn 60 is a significant event–more significant than 50, which we Americans mark as important because it’s half a century. In Japan, the 60th birthday is called kanreki (還暦) which means return to infancy (although for some reason, only for men). It is also important in China and Korea. This is based on the Chinese calendar which was originally organized in 60 year cycles, so that the planetary cycle returns to the same position as when you were born. So, in a sense, to turn 60 is not only a recognition of longevity (and maybe wisdom), but also signifies that one has an opportunity to begin anew.
In honor of this event, and in honor of beginning a new decade, I decided to restart a blog. I kept a blog faithfully when I was in India, and less faithfully when I returned to the United States and then went back out again, this time to China (the links to my previous blogs are on the right). I am calling it “The Age of Wander” because I’m really not sure which direction these years will take me. Maybe only as close as my garden, which is now blossoming the inevitable zucchini as well as grapes, beans, and herbs? Or perhaps as far away as India again, or Africa? Who knows? I also look forward to the journey of values and knowledge, which grew immeasurably between 50 and 60, and which I assume will do so again in the new decade.
As of this writing, I haven’t quite gotten my arms around being sixty. It seems like it must be incredibly old, but I keep thinking of that phrase used by the famous advice columnist, Ann Landers, who said, “Age–it’s only a number, baby.” On Sunday, I ran an 8 mile race in Stowe VT and came in 8 out of 10 in my age group. Of course, the 10 of us were the oldest female runners in a field of more than 900, but it still impressed on me that I have a ways to go before I am in really great shape. It does feel like an opportunity to begin anew, and I hope to make my biggest contributions yet to our troubled and majestic planet. Please join me for the journey.