I read recently that Bermuda sea turtles spend most of their teenage years adrift in the Sargasso sea. Floating with the current they can be out of sight of land for years and yet they somehow never lose their way and show up in Bermuda (a place they have not been to since the day of their birth) at precisely the right time to lay eggs on some of our more remote beaches.
I have to admit I would like to have such a finely tuned sense of direction someday. Think about it; you leave college to embark on your work career with no conscious idea of where you are heading, or how you will get there, and yet somehow you arrive at your retirement in a tropical oasis with your nest eggs neatly intact.
What a concept!
I think turning fifty was a watershed moment for me in many ways. It was the first time that I ever worried that I might be getting old. Don’t laugh you seventy year olds – I can still wear a bikini to the beach and I’ve got all my teeth, but I realize that my bikini days might be numbered. I don’t plan to be a little old lady wearing boxer shorts and a halter top in K-Mart, but I am not ready to let a date on the calendar determine whether it is time to stop.
It took me three failed diets and the better part of a year to convince myself that while I wasn’t ever going to weigh 130 pounds again (alas) I could still be healthy and strong and fabulous and in my year adrift I learned a few things:
- I don’t need to starve, I need to take the stairs and eat dessert now and again
- I don’t need to bleach my teeth until they glow in the dark, I need to floss daily and get them cleaned regularly at the dentist (I pay a small fortune for dental insurance, I might as well use it)
- I can buy three fabulous dresses at the local consignment store for the same cost as one from a department store (recycling has taken on a whole new meaning)
- I can buy overpriced somewhat tasteless vegetables at the grocery store or I can grow my own yummy albeit oddly shaped organic ones at home (don’t all carrots have two heads?)
- I can make a sugar free banana coconut milk smoothie that has no bad fat and tastes better than ice cream
- Appreciating everything that I do have is a lot more fun than worrying about the things that I don’t have, or might not have, or might not be able to hang onto
- The sun is shining, the water is warm and any afternoon is a good time for a nap
So that is my strategy until I’m sixty, maybe longer. Now that I have got all that worrying out of the way I have time for helping my friends and coworkers and enjoying the day. I still have a bikini in my drawer but I have stopped obsessing how often I wear it.