Today I embark upon my seventh decade manifesting in this material realm of space and time.

It is of course utterly foolish to speculate what the next decade may bring in my life. Who could begin to foresee even ten days down the road, let alone ten years? But whatever my sixties are going to look like, there are a number of visions that suggest what my aims ought to be as I recover from eating too much cake today.

1. The Legacy Vision – You are turning sixty today. The productive years remaining to you are limited. It is time to start thinking seriously about what your lasting legacy is going to be in this world. How do you want to be remembered? What is the mark you are going to leave behind?

I do not actually care about leaving a visible legacy. One of the things I imagine about physical death is that it probably brings to a conclusion the worldly striving that has tormented so much of my life. There is no likelihood any way that there is anything I might do at this point in my life that will cause anyone to name a building or a street in my honour or set up a scholarship fund to keep my memory alive after I am gone.

I am content with the hope that, perhaps the few people who will cherish my memory while they are still alive might remember me with fondness and feel that I did my best to be a kind and compassionate person. For the rest, I am content after I die to slip quietly into obscurity.

2. The Recreational Vision – The point of turning sixty is to get as quickly as possible to retirement and enjoy the well-earned rewards of your hard working years.

Travel. Play. Kick back. Garden. Take up a hobby. Get more exercise. Read all those books that have languished unread all these years on your bookshelves. Have company over for dinner.

As I sit here turning sixty, it seems unlikely I will be bitten too seriously by the travel bug, or feel suddenly compelled, as regularly urged by my friendly neighbour, to take up lawn bowling (seriously!), and I already read way too much.

So, that leaves me to pursue option #3 in the coming decade.

3. The Inner Vision – I understand the value of putting down my books and getting out of my chair, but mostly, the travels that have shaped me so far on my journey are the travels of the inner realm.

For as long as I can remember, my life has been more or less driven by the desire to experience depth, to enter into relationship with the transcendent mystery at the heart of life and to experience the presence and work of the divine. As I enter my seventh decade, this inner call seems even more compelling and important than it did in my earlier years.

It feels these days as if the purpose of my life revolves more tightly around the desire to stay connected to that great web of life that is the beauty of creation and to live from that place within myself where I experience the oneness of all being. Much as I love and cherish many aspects of my life in the external time-bound material realm, the call of the outer grows more faint. I feel drawn to live more lightly in this world, to cultivate that inner land of gentleness and steadiness that I know is my true nature.

He was just a little over half the age I am now when William Wordsworth wrote his sonnet, “The World Is Too Much With Us.” But with the precocity of his genius, Wordsworth intuited a wisdom vastly beyond his years when he wrote,

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon,
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers,
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. –Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn

In his romantic nature Wordsworth may have hoped for a physical place in which to stand and attain “glimpses that would make me less forlorn.” For me, turning sixty, the place that “makes me less forlorn” is the inner land where I experience God “rising from the sea” of my own inner depth. This is the place where I hear the Source of Beauty ” blow his wreathèd horn” within my heart and reassure me that I am not, and will never be, alone.

This is the sound for which I long. It is the territory I yearn to traverse in the remaining years of my physical manifestation here on this earth. Today I begin to see how the inner deep call of my life will manifest in the outer world of my sixties.