One day you realize that this is the year you enter your ninth decade. It is a blessing to be so fortunate. It also brings its burdens…if we let it.

Since our 50th reunion twelve years ago, a group of high school classmates and spouses has been meeting virtually each month and in person annually. It is not surprising that dynamics of aging command our attention, especially since we adopted a theme from Ram Dasswalking each other home.

In addition to companionship, we share books, articles and videos. I just began one of them, The Gift of Years: Growing Older Gracefully by Joan Chittister. The main theme is that whatever our age, life is about becoming more than we are as we enter it and being all that we can be throughout.

In brief but pithy reflections the book focuses on forty themes at the conclusion of which the author offers both the burdens and the blessings of the theme.

Take Regret for example. The twinges of regret are a step-over point in life. They invite us to revisit the ideals, motives and choices we made in the past that have brought us to where we are now.

The burden of regret is that, unless we come to understand the value of the choices we made in the past, we may fail to see the gifts they have brought us.

The blessing of regret is clear – it brings us, if we are willing to face it head on, to the point of being present to this new time of life in an entirely new way.  It urges us on to continue becoming.

Here is a question, reader, whatever your age. What are your current “step-over” points in life, and what are their burdens and blessings?