I had a birthday a little over two weeks ago. It was a mile-marker birthday. When you’re born in 1964, you turn 60 in 2024.

From an experience perspective, I feel like sixty. I’ve experienced a lot in my sixty years.

From a physical perspective, I don’t feel like sixty at all. I’ve worked hard to take care of my body and I’m not stopping!

From a mental perspective, I’m still somewhere around 45 in my mind. When I talk to others my age, I hear that they too feel younger in their mind as well.

The best part of getting older is wisdom. Hard-earned wisdom and perspective that simply comes with life and experience.

The last few years I’ve also noticed a freedom coming with sixty. A freedom to be myself. A freedom from comparison. A freedom from obligation and tradition.

It actually started with my friend Becky saying several years ago that she believes in “no guilt” friendships. Becky and I have been friends for years and it’s a comfortable friendship. She’s a few years ahead of me so I get to benefit from her well-earned wisdom. One day she said, “Jill, I believe in no-guilt friendship. There’s no guilt when we don’t or can’t get together or help out or send a card or whatever. We just enjoy when we can get together or help one another or drop a card in the mail.” (She is way better at cards than I am—but that’s okay because I have no guilt about that!)

I love the concept of “no guilt” friendships. This concept was the beginning of a couple more recent changes in my life:

First, this led me to make a change with Christmas cards two years ago. (We’re talking about Christmas cards in March!? Stick with me here.)

I love getting Christmas cards. I love reading Christmas letters. I love seeing the family pictures many people send with their cards. All of my life I would tuck the cards in a basket that would sit on the kitchen counter for several weeks and then I’d toss those cards at the end of the season. There were a couple of years I’d put the cards in a basket and pray for people through January and February (and sometimes—let’s be honest—I’d save them for that intention and never do it!)

Two years ago, I decided that I would have no guilt with Christmas cards. I would open them, read them, share them with Mark, pray for them right there and then, and then toss them. All in the same day.


Can you do that?

Yes you can.

Do you realize how many “sacred shoulds” most of us have with obligation and tradition? Many of us unintentionally “worship” the tradition or build habits out of obligation. These things aren’t the gospel. We have freedom because of the gospel.

If keeping Christmas cards displayed throughout the holiday season blesses you, then do it! If not keeping them blesses you, then it’s okay to let them go sooner rather than later.

Getting them blesses me, reading them blesses me, praying for our friends and family blesses me immensely. I don’t have to have them sit in a pile in a basket to be more blessed.

There’s so much freedom to be ourselves.

More recently, I found a new freedom from obligation and tradition with my wedding rings.

Nearly 41 years ago, Mark and I chose our wedding rings based upon who we were then. I was 19 and Mark was 23. We got matching gold bands and my engagement ring had an emerald cut diamond.

Twelve years ago, when Mark recommitted to our marriage, he said he wanted a new ring. A silver one because he’s always preferred silver to gold. One of the challenges in our marriage is that Mark said a lot of “whatever you want” for the first 28 years of our marriage while silently building resentment in his heart.

As we became Mark and Jill 2.0, he found his voice and wanting a silver ring was something he shared. So we found him a silver wedding band and I wore his original wedding ring on my thumb for the next twelve years.

A few weeks ago, I said to Mark, “You know, now that my hair is turning silver I’m changing all my jewelry from gold to silver. Yet all my rings are gold. What would you think of me getting a silver ring to wear on my wedding ring finger?”

There was another issue at hand. My wedding ring has consistently been getting caught on things lately. I’d taken it to the jeweler three different times over the past year to figure out what’s catching on things but they can’t figure out what it is. So it’s been a source of frustration and has ruined a couple of sweaters and pairs of pants.

It simply wasn’t serving me well anymore.


Can we say that about a wedding ring?

I believe we can and sixty has freed me to understand that more than ever before.

I told Mark that I didn’t want another diamond. I wanted something simple. Cubic zirconia is who I am. Simple. Not expensive. Practical.

One afternoon he was running some errands and decided to head into Kohl’s. Knowing I’m not a shopper at all, he picked up a couple of ring options for me to consider. I fell in love with a simple silver band with seven small stones.

Total cost: $37.

100% me.

I love sixty.

What are you feeling obligated to that’s no longer serving you? Where are you living life with an unspoken “rule” that is binding you? I want you to know it’s okay to let it go. It’s okay to change. It’s okay to say, “I’d like to do something different.”

Our “sacred shoulds” are our own way of erecting new laws in our lives. Yet God has set us free from that. We have incredible freedom when we walk in Him. Sure, there’s right and wrong—but there’s no “right and wrong” about connecting in friendship, keeping Christmas cards, changing wedding rings, or a million other things in this world.

Sixty has brought about freedom for me and oh how I wish I’d discovered that years ago.

Maybe sharing my journey will give you the courage to find that freedom, too.

Want regular encouragement?

Subscribe to get Jill's latest content by email.

(You can view our privacy policy here.)

Powered by ConvertKit