In brief, my husband Dan, faithful dog Lucky and I are at the tail end of a radical move from our cottage in Los Angeles to live close to our grand-family in Nashville. Now that we’ve arrived, the question is where will we live? We no longer have to make our decisions based on which neighborhood has the best schools for the kids, or the shortest commute to our jobs.
On the one hand, there are lovely, turn-key condos in the neighborhood that seem the logical, reasonable choice. Simple, safe, easy. But there’s one problem: none of them make our hearts sing. What does make our hearts sing is a 1930’s stone house fixer-up on the river 10 minutes up the road that would make the kind of demands on us we thought we’d left behind. What if the problems are bigger than anticipated? What if the real estate market goes down again? What if the river floods its banks? Do we take this risk on at our age and stage in life?
We tried to set the house aside. We put an offer in and withdrew it. We resumed our search for the perfect little condo. But the old stone house kept calling to us, first in whispers, then in shouts. “I am much more than just a place to live,” the house cried out. “I am the battlefield upon which angels are fighting in your soul over whether even at 65 you get to take on the risk of going for what you really want?”
Seeking counsel, I picked up one of the few books that I carried with me across country in my suitcase: “The Gift of Years” by Joan Chittister. I opened at random and began to read: “Abandoning life before life is over is not just resignation: it is not trying to reach for God on God’s terms.”
To make a long story short, we put the offer back on the house which was accepted yesterday. The old stone house on the river now represents a commitment to life lived to the full: a tad foolish, risky, dramatic. In other words, even at 65, I get to be who I have always been. I confess to having had a few sleepless nights, but it was for good purpose: giving myself the opportunity to rise to my new occasion. In accepting this discomfort, rather than seeking protection from angels, I have found myself wrestling with them. But it is a divine wrestle, like Jacob on the banks of the Jabbok at Penuel Ridge. And I will not give up until I wrest God’s blessing. We do, after all, deserve to have our hearts sing to us, even when we turn 65.
Carol Orsborn is Founder of FierceWithAge, the Digest of Boomer Wisdom, Inspiration and Spirituality. Dr. Orsborn is the best-selling author of 21 books including her newest book: Fierce with Age: Chasing God and Squirrels in Brooklyn. (Spring 2013) With a doctorate in religion from Vanderbilt, Dr. Orsborn is a sought after speaker/retreat leader and spiritual director.