Image 11Last week I celebrated my 50th Reunion.  If you add it up, that makes most of us who were there in our early seventies…Seven oh.  It is still a bit of a shock to realize how many years — changes, memories, experiences, losses and pain, joys and learning, … are rolled into that number.

It was gratifying to see and to read in our Record Book how many of us are enjoying good health, real contentment, healthy relationships…feeling free to be ourselves at last, unhooked from the pressures and constraints of youth, education, maybe career (although many are still working).  This is of course not universal, but I was quite startled at how many of us in our seventies are having the time of our lives 🙂

In a discussion with another septuagenarian, male this time, my friend said ”

“As a teenager, I would have been aghast had anyone tried to persuade me that women of seventy-plus years could be attractive, even sexy, and yet now it’s so obvious to me…   I did a double-take when I recognized two or three who seemed to have a particular sparkle …  I shook my head, wondering how I could have not foreseen (in high school) how attractive they would become.  They had grown up since I had seen them last, a half-century ago. And so, fortunately, had I.”Image 8

It was seeing this picture that gave rise to the comment above 🙂

Grown up.  Many of us have grown up sufficiently to truly be ourselves, authentic, real; to be autonomous and connected, to be personal, present, alive… open to what may come along.  And to celebrate it all!  Not that there is not still work to be done, inner and outer.  There always will be. But the taste of freedom is sweet and precious.

The motto of my Alma Mater is Non Ministrari sed Ministrare — not be be ministered unto but to minister.  Many of us have taken it to heart, and even if not still working for pay, are actively engaged in numerous forms of service.  One of my pleasures at Reunion was co-facilitating a discussion session on Community Engagement — the whats, hows, and whys of it for us now, in our seventies.

I must say the motto has been a thorn in my side at times, as well as an inspiration.  It has seemed like a whip, lashing me on, allowing no rest, who I was, and what I did, were never enough.  But this is material for another post!  Snap the Seahorse, in Myth Making and Personal Growth, has helped me through some tough times in this area :-).

Thank you to all those who made it a rich and rewarding Reunion, and to my school and many teachers for inspiring, encouraging, and educating me, and for providing many dear friends with whom to share this magical, magnificent Journey of Becoming.

Jill Schroder is the author of BECOMING: Journeying Toward Authenticity.  BECOMING is an invitation for self-reflection, and to mine our memorable moments for insights, meaning, and growth.  Check the website for a sample chapter, or see the reviews to get a flavor for the volume.  Follow me on Twitter, let’s be friends on Facebook :-)

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