SIXTY! Sixty??? Sixty. My birthday was on Saturday. It was Thanksgiving, the day I was born, October 8, 1962. My arrival put thoughts of turkey dinner on hold. A story I heard many times over the years.
We think we know what life will be like ten years, twenty, or further down the road. We. Do. Not. We look at people older than us like they’re alien beings. They’re not cool, don’t keep up with pop culture, whatever it is that we perceive takes them off the track we are on. When you’re twenty, you can’t imagine being forty. When you’re forty, sixty is a far-off, mysterious destination. Then you arrive – if you’re lucky – and think, what the hell happened???
You’ve been awake and aware as the days turn into weeks, that turn into months, that become years. Making choices about how to spend your time. And yet those years somehow morph into a mushy mélange of memories that blur upon reflection. How can I be here already? I was in my early 40s just a minute ago?
A MAJOR MILESTONE
Sixty years of living is a big deal. A life of sixty years is shaped by of those we’ve loved, who have loved us, and those we’ve lost. Family. Friends. People along the way who shared or taught us something, and then moved on for whatever reasons. It’s the experiences, good and bad, and the resilience that builds and refines after each of them. A deep sense of gratitude for reaching this plateau that’s denied to so many, through no fault of their own. Reveling in the fact that not for a minute would we go back to being twenty or thirty. Marveling at how much we’ve gotten through, over and past.
I’m amazed that this number, this unbelievably large number, comes out of my mouth with a sense of ownership. Knowing that ten or twenty years from now, should I be so fortunate, 60 will seem like no big deal.
And cake. There’s got to be cake. Or in my case, a cupcake from Ketolybriyum in London, that my husband picked up along with other low-carb goodies.
And dinner at Solo on Main here in the village. And a few other wonderful things including concert tickets for a comedian who I love but Derek doesn’t. They came with instructions to “take someone with you who will appreciate the show too”! (Our friend Dan has agreed to be my date for John Mulaney next month!)
SIXTY IS THE NEW SIXTY
Sixty is not the new forty. People say that because sixty used to be SO old. My grandmothers at 60 were cooking and serving machines. Their role: to look after everyone else and fall into bed exhausted having spent no time on themselves. Back then, that would have been seen as selfish.
My Mom at 60 was battling horrific menopause symptoms but refusing to seek medical help. I’ve inherited some of those symptoms but I’m also putting lots of effort into alleviating them. It’s not selfish. I look after myself so I can be present for those I love.
I hope I’m doing 60 better, not because I’m smarter, but because we are more aware, collectively. We know more about looking after ourselves and saying “no” when we need to protect our mental health. And that we’re no good to anyone else if we deplete our personal resources.
So, yeah, I’m sixty. It will take some time for that to feel natural and not cause an electric shock to my body and brain. So I’ll just keep saying it until it finally sinks in.