by Vinnie Hansen
I just turned 60. Shhhhhhh. I received my first official senior discount at the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague.
I’ve been told these are the wonder years as in, “I wonder where I left those keys?”
Or the “hereafter” years, as in “I wonder what I came in here after?”
Like all decade birthdays, the Big 6-0 rears up and demands notice. What do the sixties hold?
I passed through remarriage, moving and menopause in my forties. I retired from my teaching career in my fifties.
In the three stages of womanhood, I skipped motherhood and went right from “maiden” to “crone.” Or, maybe that rich mid-section of my life was about motherhood in the sense of birthing my books.
So, what’s left? I’ve learned that the answer to my question is kan reki, sometimes spelled as one word kanreki. Kan means “cycle” and reki means “calendar,” but my friend Yoshie told me that I could just think of it as “good year.” How lovely!
In eastern culture, sixty is the preeminent birthday. The lunar calendar has a sixty-year kan or cycle, during which the twelve animal signs—rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig—pass through the five elements—metal, water, wood, fire and earth. I have just completed my journey through one complete cycle of the reki, or calendar. We are now in The Year of the Horse and 2014 is a wood year, the same conditions that existed at the time of my birth.
What does this all mean? This is the year for me to take stock of where I am before beginning my second 60-year cycle of life. This is a time for transformation, the year for rebirth.
Yoshie sent me these Japanese characters for kan reki. On a 60th birthday a Japanese person often dresses in red for good luck, and the birthday celebration focuses on the theme of rebirth. The Japanese pulled this tradition from Chinese culture. The special kan reki celebration is also common in Korea and Hawaii.
Already this has been the year of the rebirth of my mystery series. Previously indie published, the books are being re-released from misterio press. The dazzling exteriors look professional. The interiors are more polished. Perhaps the books will prove a prophetic metaphor for my self—snappier exterior and smoother interior.
Even though my husband claims that I am mighty fine the way I am, I love the idea that now is the perfect time to create myself anew.
This month, I’m also celebrating the re-release of Art, Wine and Bullets under the misterio press imprint. Please check it out below, and then talk to me in the comments. What was your last Big O birthday, and how did you deal with it?
An innocent visit to a premiere Santa Cruz gallery turns into a nightmare case for Private Investigator Carol Sabala. The strangled body of the gallery owner offers an opportunity to cement her reputation and to save her employer from insolvency. But precious time spent assisting her photographer boyfriend impedes her investigation while his sudden obsession with photographing her impedes their relationship.
When Carol plunges into an art world offering urban graffiti to paintings of polka-dotted cats, she confronts the age-old questions: What is art? What defines an artist? She also confronts what defines a successful private investigator as she unravels much more than a murder case.
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