He had recently retired… he was mostly bald… he’d experienced one heart attack in his late 50’s… he exercised little beyond walking… he was an old man (like most men his age at the time)… he was 65… he was my father.

Dad was in the winter of his years as his health went into a steady decline and he slipped his earthly bonds at age 73.

This year I’m turning 65 too, and as such I’m feeling an inner psychological change. It’s a perception…

It’s like I’m entering a new season. Maybe my leaves are turning from green to yellow and red. But it’s not winter… not YET!

Life comes in seasons.

Let’s set this scenario up, shall we?

SPRING – 0-25 years

SUMMER – 25-65 years

FALL – 65-80 years

WINTER – 80+ years

I’ve made these seasons up.

You’ll likely agree with these parameters… or… vehemently disagree. No problem… it’s an artificial construct and totally based on today’s average lifespans and my whim.

I’ve had all of those life experiences that come with the spring and summer of a life: dependence on Mom and Dad, the naive, wide-eyed early school years, the tumultuous teens, high school, college, early romances, marriage, jobs, kids, travel, hair loss, “retirement”, first grandchildren.

The early seasons are full: full of expectations, full of dreams, full of stresses, full of ecstasies, full of busy, full of sorrows, full of joys.

Today, the hair on my head, once my pride of luxury, thick and soft, is grey, thin and wiry, the skin on my face is lined and wrinkled, my legs don’t run as fast as they once did, my eyes struggle to read anything close up without “readers”.

Yes, I’d say I’m in the fall of my timeline, and while I’m not terrifically excited about aging, I accept its inevitability, although the increasing speed of time passing by me now is a daily shock.

For sure it’s not the beginning, but it’s also not the end (I hope).

It’s not my winter… and I’d love to write another post here in 15 years telling you that turning 80 is also not truly winter. Time will tell, right?

I have lots of passion and energy remaining most days, enthusiasm thrives inside me for the many things I enjoy: running, playing guitar, songwriting, travelling, grandparenting, cooking, swimming, volunteering, gardening, cycling… the list goes on.

In my life’s experience and cultural awareness, 65 was always the turning point where we shed the working world and settled into a rocking chair on the front porch… waiting… stagnating… imparting wisdom to little minds (kids, not idiots!)… counting the minutes and days until… until…

It’s time to look at age and aging afresh with a new awareness.

So going forward I’ll start reminding myself that these seasons, these artificial constructs, are markers but not barriers. Newness, learning, and physical movement don’t have to fall by the wayside because of our chronology.

I’m saying all of this to you as a reminder to me that our minds are our biggest enemy (at times) but also our best friends.

Let’s (Yoda) try to cherish and nurture this friendship regardless of the season where we find ourselves.

When the dreams you’re dreamin’ come to you
When the work you put in is realized
Let yourself feel the pride
But always stay humble and kind

Don’t take for granted the love this life gives you
When you get where you’re going don’t forget turn back around
And help the next one in line
Always stay humble and kind

Lori McKenna (popularized by Tim McGraw)