On Turning Sixty

I woke up this morning and somehow in the night I’d turned sixty!  I guess if you escape dying on the barricades, car accidents and fatal diseases, it happens.

Sixty seems old.  I remember when I asked my grandmother, a genuine old person, just how old she was—she said, “Sixty.”  But they say sixty is the new forty, and I hope so because I don’t feel old.  I know a lot of people my age are starting to retire but I feel like I’m just getting started.  (And that’s probably a good thing, not having saved any money to retire on anyway.)

This is how I feel this morning, waking up sixty years old!

But mostly I woke up feeling happy.  In sixty years, I have actually learned a thing or two and one of them has to do with happiness—that it’s a process, not a destination.  I’ve achieved a fair number of things in life, and received a lot of wonderful things, but what makes me happy is being in the middle of something exciting where I get to work for what I believe in.  I love the second and third drafts.  The first draft is painful and exhausting—building the architecture of a story, molding the characters and the world out of your own etheric energy.  But by the second draft, the story is set, the world has an existence and a reality of its own, and you can just enter into it and enjoy making the improvements.

So now I’m in the second or third draft of life.  When you’re in your twenties or thirties, you’re always agonizing over who you are and what you’re going to be.  By sixty, life has a pattern.  There’s some things I’m just not going to be in this lifetime, and I have to let them go.  It’s too late to have a child, or even to adopt one.  That’s a big one.  I’m not going to learn to do aerial dance, or ski.

But I do have wonderful friends, a loving partner, amazing and talented stepdaughters and Goddess-kids, and I get to do marvelous, exciting things.  Write books.  Teach permaculture woven together with magic and organizing in Earth Activist Trainings—one starting next week in Quebec!  Work with youth and elders in the inner city to grow food in community gardens.  And the newest, most exciting project at the moment, the long-time dream that at last is coming day by day more into reality, is making the movie of The Fifth Sacred Thing.

Ever since I posted here and on Facebook that the movie was underway, I feel like I’ve been getting love-bombed with messages from so many people about how much the book has meant to them.  I’ve had to keep myself grounded by remembering that there are significant crews of people out there that think I’m Scum of the Earth.  (The Pope, the Israeli Ministry of the Interior, not a few editors and critics, lots of people who think The Fifth Sacred Thing is hippie drivel, just to name some).  It all balances out – but at the moment I’m basking in the sunlight of praise from so many people who tell me that something I’ve done in those first sixty years has made a significant difference to their lives.  Thanks to you all for your posts and comments and good wishes!  They mean a lot!

And this week, some wonderful things have happened.  So many people have ‘liked’ our Facebook page—a thrill to see the numbers climb!  I’ve seen the design for the website, which is beautiful, and will be up next week!  Kickstarter approved our campaign to raise funds through their website, and we’ve decided for symbolic and magical reasons to launch it on the Solstice, June 21.  Watch for it!

Earlier, I wrote about my long struggles with the screenplay.  This week, I got some feedback from a friend who is currently a hot action screenwriter in Hollywood.  I quote:  “It’s frickin’ great!”  Yes!  I’ve been working a long time for that!

I don’t believe that making the movie will make me happy.  I’m happy making the movie.  Ever since Philip Wood got involved as producer two years ago, I’ve been happy working on it, knowing there was someone else who shared the vision and who was confident in taking on all the producing pieces I didn’t want to do.  When Paradox Pollack joined us last fall, he brought a supernova of positive energy into the mix.  Between the two of them, they seem to know every creative artist and musician in the known universe, and so many of them have said, “Yes, we want to be involved with this!”  Now we also have two amazing women on the team—Alli Gallixsee, who shot our Kickstarter video and is coordinating the social media.  One thing I love about Alli is that every time I write something, she tells me it gives her chills or makes her cry.  Praise is good!  And Jen Zariat, who seems wired into the electric energy of the internet and who knows all kinds of mysterious things, like which fonts make a movie poster look like a big, blockbuster movie!

Photographers wait to shoot in the ‘golden hour’, just before sunset, when colors are more intense and faces glow with warm light.  Sometimes in writing, it’s in the later drafts that little things snap together, small inspirations happen, just the right image surfaces that brings the whole project into focus.  Writing The Fifth Sacred Thing, I didn’t have the title until someone at Bantam suggested it.  When they did, on the last revision, I found the imagery all came together in a whole new way.

I’m looking forward to lots of those moments in these later drafts of life.  I know that terrible things are happening all around us, the world is still going to hell in spite of my best efforts, that there will be more protests to go to and more losses to face.  But there’s a certain class of people that are happy as long as they see some good piece of work in front of them that they can do, and I’m one of them.  I hope it will be a long time yet before I type “Fade out.”  And in the meantime, I’m going to go ice skating—just to prove I still can, and meet friends, look at art, eat cake and enjoy the golden light of these lingering days.

26 comments to On Turning Sixty

  • Happy Birthday!
    Last night I picked up Truth or Dare to re-read. The first time I had to stop about halfway through, my mind was too blown. There were too many challenges to the ways I was thinking. Now that I’ve changed and thought about these concepts for awhile, I’m really looking forward to reading through and absorbing the whole book.
    I was looking for a discussion group online and reading some of your old posts when I came across this one. Serendipitous…
    I wish you a joyous day and many wondrous years to come. Thank you for doing all you do, and Thank the Great Mother and Father for your presence in this world!

  • May the Spirits of the East blow gentle winds of wisdom to bless your day. May the Spirits of the South burn fiery flames of passion to bless your day. May the Spirits of the West flow healing waters of love to bless your day. May the Spirits of the North grow strong branches of prosperity to bless your day. And may the Lady and the Lord bless you and keep you on your day, and for all the days of your life. Happy 60th Birthday, Starhawk.

  • love you, Starhawk!

    Happy 60th b’earthday!
    welcome to the next phase!

    thanks for doing what you do (both the hard things and the delightful ones) with love and humor and for sharing your love of life with all…

    Hooray you!
    And if there was a button for “Love” the Fifth Sacred thing, I’d press it.

    Robin Rose

    • Rev. Bronwyn Beynon

      Absolutely welcome to this absurdly wonder full stage of life!! Turning 60 is odd, surprising (at least for me…who never thought I’d last this long!!) and totally worth it!

      As for learning new things…I started Martial Arts at 60 – three years ago…and continue to find it challenging, delightful, and somehow full of laughter – especially when I finally find myself facing the same direction as the rest of the class!! Enjoy the journey, thank you for being here – and I join Robin in pushing the “love” button!

  • Elizabeth Creely

    Happy Birthday! Many happy returns.

  • Happy , happy birthday dear Starhawk

    Love Leanne

  • Sandy

    Many Blessings for this, your Birth Day celebration. This phase of life is freeing. May you continue to let your energies flow in community building ways.
    Gratitude for who you are and what you do with your energies.
    Sandy, from the Cowichan on Vancouver Island.
    Living by grace
    is moving effortlessly
    with the promptings of one’s soul.

  • Tina H

    I’m thinking that if the Pope thinks you’re scum of the world, then you’re doing pretty gosh darn good.

    Happy birthday from the mid-Atlantic, from someone whose Mom thinks she was on Richard Nixon’s hate list back in the day.

  • Paquita Cruz

    I’m one of the many many people who have been positively influenced by you! Thank you for being alive and happy, sending inspiration to us! big hug!!!

  • Dear Star,

    An inspiring post from an inspiring person. May the Goddess bless you and yours. Wishing you the happiest of birthdays.

    Bright blessings,

  • Madeleine


    I really needed to read this post.I am moving to my 58th birthday this month and am feeling, old, a bit weary, a bit fearful. Have ( of course, at this age! incurred some loss..AND some fruitful bounties as well!) I have a strong Faith in the Goddess and a firm foundation in Spirit, so these emotions have taken me by surprise.

    reading of other spiritual women moving into this time (old age) is healing and helpful!!

    Congratulations on your new projects–I am getting my own Soul in gear to get busy on some new art,friendships and studies,too.. your post helped me get out of the doldrums today..

  • R

    Happy birthday, best wishes for the new year!

  • Shya

    Yes, having been 60 for 6 months, I keep asking the question: “When did that happen?” The best I can come up with is, last Tuesday!
    Best wishes and lots of love from both me and Marge!

  • Happy birthday – my teacher, my friend and my inspiration.
    Thank you for not giving up, and thank you for bringing your gifts to the world. i send you smiles of sunflowers of the Alentejo…
    With gratitude,
    Uri Ayalon.

  • a birthday haiku 4 u

    communion with dirt
    fungus, holy and sublime
    deeper than the sky

    Many Blessings on your Journey ahead!

  • Kate

    I have loved these last few posts, turning 60 and the unfoldings of The Fifth Sacred Thing film…Thank you! For sharing your own spinnings and ponderings in this public forum, for the work you do, the inspiration you provide and your willingness to acknowledge the bad and still fight for the good. For being real and for being magical. As I continue working through the first draft of life, I am so appreciative for the grounded-without-being-boring voice of those in the second and third.
    Happy Birthday Starhawk.
    with joy,

  • Lady Rhianna Feileacan

    Really? 60? You certainly don’t look it dear. Congratulations on this new chapter, may there be many more if you wish them, but never too many to bore you. Wishing you nothing but the best, and look forward to your future projects as well.

  • Happy Birthday!
    Like fine wine we only get better!!!!!!! And it is better, chapter 2 or 3 is always much better than chapter 1.

  • julie generic

    love you so much, star! it’s been a while, and i happen to tune in on your big 60. what a wonderful vibe! happy birthday. i turned 42 this year, and if you are what 60 is going to look like, i can’t wait!!!!

  • Lady, I met you in Berlin in my early 20’s and you showed me that my wierd dreams and memories of what Magic really is, were true. I met you again in Lismore Australia in my my 30’s and found that we had both discovered that Permaculture is a natural extension of Witchcraft. And now in my 40’s you are showing me that growing older can be done just as disgracefully well as I hoped…
    The 5th Sacred Thing made me cry, because you had put a vision on paper that so many of us dream about…and made it real.
    I know it sucks to be a role model at times, but I’m so glad you’ve been there to be one for me! You may not have had a biological kid, but in many ways, you’ve been a mother for many of us…
    I’m the mother of 3, and grandmother of one….and in being such an inspiration for me, you are now a kind of Fairy great grandmother to that little tribe too, grin!
    Happy Birthday Honey!

    • I forgot to add one of the most important parts:
      I have been teaching for many years myself now…and each time I stand in front of a new group, be they 5 or 200 people, I hear your voice in my head leading me through my first ever tree meditation in Berlin, and they echo as I begin to speak: “Imagine you are a tree reaching deep down into the Earth…let your roots sink into the soft moist soil, and stretch down deeper and deeper, connecting to the strength of Mother Earth beneath us…” The no-nonsense approach, practical, never pretending to be what I am not, always reminding people that THEY create the magic, That it is a natural extension of who we are as human beings…
      You passed me a flame of memory and inspiration many years ago when I really needed it…and I’ve been passing these little flames on ever since, grin! And the lesson that True Power comes from being who we are, real, with all of our flaws, quirks and wierdness…

  • Lylas Sixfingers

    Happy Birthday!

    The impact of your work continues to reverberate throughout the many communities and circles you walk with and I am grateful to have been exposed to your work early on in my training as a Witch. May you enjoy many, many more years of enchantment, good health and even better company!

  • Starhawk, you are YOUNG! I, Shirley aka the Ballymena Baglady, am old.

    I turned 65 in Vence, France, last August. I was SO happy! I thought, I’m officially old. Hurray!!!!! I don’t have to do anything, look anything, pretend anything. Nothing is expected of me. All I have to do is BE!

    It’s turned into a song, a dance, a celebration and if you want to join, google Baglady + environment… or try Living ASAP….. join us virtually for our ASAP Picnic on Midsummer’s Day……. best love to the world, S the B

  • Happy Birthday! Sweet sixty! Great that you don’t think about retirement. Would’nt be the same with a quiet retired Starhawk.
    Alles Liebe Karin

  • Maja

    Dear Starhawk,

    Happy belated birthday! Thanks so much for all the inspiring work you have done so far and all the best for the future! I can’t wait to watch The 5th Sacred Thing :-)!

    Maja (EAT ME ’09)

  • Funny, I had a very similar experience to yours in late May. Only when I woke up I was 70! Happy Birthday and continued fulfillment!!!! Can’t wait to see the film!

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