I have now reached the age my mother was when she died, 58. I feel tender remembering that fateful phone call: stage four, inoperable lung cancer, 24 years ago. I was 34 and pregnant with my daughter, sandwiched between two great loves of mine who never met. At 58 years young, I feel a new wave of grief for all the years she lost, and her family lost along with her. My daughter will be 24 in April, and my son just turned 27, nearly three when Grammy died.
Not having a direct map for aging — what this might look like for me—(my father died suddenly at 39, when I was 14) — I asked my dear mentor and friend Kathlyn Hendricks for advice. She said you must build a bridge into the future, imagine yourself living well beyond this threshold in order to cross over and create a long life. Don’t just celebrate 58, she said, celebrate 59 and 60 too.
In developmental psychology, 58 falls within the stage called Generativity vs. Stagnation (40-65). This is the stage where people commit to their creativity or give up on their dreams, where people learn to flourish or tend toward struggle, where people continue to grow or die. I know that unconscious replication is the easiest path, and that conscious choosing is required to create something new.
In Chinese medicine a problem with the lungs represents grief. In the body intelligence work Hendricks teaches, a subtle gesture of ones hand to the chest and heart are signs for sadness, sorrow and heartbreak. My mother had a rough life, plenty to be sad about, as have I— as have many of us. I often feel a familiar tightness in my chest, a vice grip that says, I dare you to trust the future!
In astrology, 58 marks your second Saturn return—its second full 29-year trip around the sun since your day of birth— and a time when you choose whether or not you’d like to stay for a third go around. Saturn rules personal responsibility and authenticity— it slows you down enough to take a long hard look at reality. It asks, what do you really want to do with the time you have left?
Let me be clear, I am choosing to ride on the rings of Saturn and go around again! I am choosing Generativity over Stagnation. I am choosing to commit to my creativity and build my bridge into a deliciously flourishing future.
At 58, my first book, Love Song: Four Essential Choices for Creating Greater Harmony in Your Life and the World, will be published (coming this spring). And I know I’ve got at least a few more books in me. I’m also venturing into the business of merchandizing with The Love Line (more to come on this). And I’ll be expanding my work with women through Speak Up Sister: people for the advancement of gender equality in service to harmony in the world. My passion for combining creative expression with sacred activism has become crystal clear.
On a personal note, I’m building my bridge toward 60 through world travel, starting with Thailand (writing this in Phuket!). I’ve always felt more like a citizen of the world—a vast landscape that existed long before humans drew lines on a map saying this in mine and this is yours. For me, travel allows for a more compassionate worldview. It keeps us humble. It reminds us that we are all connected on this big beautiful planet.
My plan is to double the number of countries I’ve already been to (somewhere around 30) in the next few years, especially the next two, in celebration of my 60th birthday. I’ll be joining different friends in various places and am already giddy with excitement. Additional trips planned so far this year include Belize, Portugal, Morocco, Spain and the Bahamas.
I love how exploring each new culture enlivens me— all my senses are heightened through local food, art, landscape and customs. I’m fascinated by how people live around the world. Diversity is a beautiful thing. And I am endlessly reminded how much beauty there is in the natural world. Let me know if you’d like to join me on this journey toward 60 and beyond!
Counting my blessings,