My only child turned 29 this week.  Yikes!  I can’t possibly be old enough for that to be true.  He seems perfectly well-adjusted to his age while I, on the other hand, still feel surprised sometimes when I look in the mirror.  I’m not really sure when I quit aging in my own mind.

I remember turning 30.  My ex-husband threw me an “Over the Hill” party.  (Hmmm … maybe a connection there?)  I was depressed.  It felt like I was kissing my youthfulness good-bye.  It turned out not to be true, but it took a few years to figure that out.

Turning 40 was exciting.  I’d learned to be more accepting of myself.  Not quite so worried about what everyone else thought of me, my attention turned more toward whether or not I was content with the way I navigated the world.  I took dance lessons – loved 2-step and swing – and never gave it a second thought that my body did everything I asked of it without so much as one little ache.  

Turning 50 marked the half-way point in my life.  When my son was little, questioning death and the mortality of his parents, I told him he didn’t have to worry, I would live to be 100, which meant he would be 72 when I died.  Seventy-two, an age he couldn’t fathom, made him feel safe.  (Please, don’t get on my case if that was an unhealthy promise … I was winging motherhood the best I knew how!)

Somewhere in my own psyche though, I accepted the story, too.  I’d survived a heart attack a few years earlier and felt like I’d cheated death.  So I celebrated my half-way age with abandon.  I got my first tattoo; something I’d always wanted, and finally had the nerve to do.  I didn’t know that breast cancer was right around the corner.

Now, pushing 60, I’m a grandma who’s cheated death twice.  The whole story is in my latest book, Unlocking the Dream.  (You can get a FREE copy HERE – but only through November 10th.)

Something about besting the two biggest killers of women spurred me forward with fresh vigor.  I’ve done more with the last 8 years of my life than I did with the first 50: went back to school, volunteered as the first white teacher in a rural Zulu school in South Africa, wrote Ruby’s World, became the first Ambassador to the Rural Women’s Movement of South Africa, will address the United Nation’s Commission on the status of Women next spring, and am launching a new project at the end of this year.

In some ways, I feel like my life is just beginning.  And it suits me just fine that I quit aging in my own mind a while back. Oh sure, my body talks to me now, I need occasional naps (slept away most of the day yesterday), and the woman who smiles back at me from the mirror reminds me that I’ve lived a very long time already.

But I feel younger than ever – enthused about what lies ahead.  Like a kid exploring the candy store of life, I’m ready for the next 40 years …