Today is my birthday, the beginning of the final year of a decade that will culminate in my 60th birthday a year from today. So this morning I took stock of the occasion in my special little notebook.
My fifties have definitely been my hardest decade, but they've also been my happiest. The main reason that these years have been so happy, despite or more likely because of the various hardships they've contained, is because I like myself better now than I did ten years ago. I'm wiser, calmer, kinder - I think my family members would agree. I've finally internalized, well, mostly internalized, the Stoic wisdom that there are things that are up to us and thing that are not, and we need to focus our energies on the former, not the latter. And there is so little that is up to us! Really, all we find on that very short list are our own actions, choices, and attitude. Period. All the rest - the weather, the state of the economy, fame and fortune, and other people's actions - are simply not within our power to change very much, one way or another.
Big changes are coming for me in the coming year. By August 21, 2014:
1. I will be a grandmother! Christopher and his new wife, Ashley, are expecting a baby in March.
2. I will have published my 50th children's book: Annika Riz, Math Whiz.
3. I will have retired from my job as a professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado, accepting an early retirement package at the end of the 2013-14 academic year so that I can focus my professional energies on writing and focus my personal energies on welcoming this new grandchild into my life.
So my plan for the coming year is just to love this last year of my fifties as much as I can. In particular, I'm planning on loving my job at CU as fully and deeply as I can, now that I know it will end after I teach these four last courses, two in the fall and two in the spring. I'm going to immerse myself in all that is wonderful about the university, foster close relationships with students, gobble up as much intellectual stimulation as possible. And then, a year from now, check in with me to hear about the big changes that are going to lead me into the new decade of adventure.