Well, I turned 60 this past week. The Big 6-0! I really never imagined myself at this age. I never thought I’d live this long or be this…old. I realize to many people, 60 isn’t that old and I would imagine my dear mama longs for being 60 again. But I really don’t think there is anyone that reaches this milestone without thinking, “Wow, when the heck did I get this old? Where did the years go?” It always seemed to me like it was special “barrier” that marked you had made it over the mountain and were now on the back side of the hill. I guess that explains the expression “over the hill.”
You hear the cliche’ “you’re only as old as you feel.” I recognize that, but I have to tell you, there is a world, no, a whole universe of difference between what your mind thinks and what your body tells you about your age. If my brain is from Mars, then my body is surely from Pluto! (Remember when Pluto was a planet?) My mind, while as sharp as it has ever been in my life, still resides in the 70’s – it never left! (Uh-oh, here comes a flashback!) The music from that era is still the greatest music ever, and I miss the fashion, cars, art, and the simpler times. (Except for disco – I don’t miss disco!) It seems only yesterday I was running with my friends and I recall all the great times had, the laughter, and in some cases even what was said. (And yet, don’t ask me what I had for breakfast this morning.) Spend your formative years with the likes of Mark, Randy, and Tracy and I assure you that you will have some fond and crazy memories, some of which can never be repeated. But, on the other hand, if today I need some data that is buried somewhere deep inside my noggin for work or other important events, the facts, knowledge and experiences needed are easily drawn upon and nothing short of brain surgery or nuclear fission really seems that difficult to comprehend, at least in some degree. Well, then there is that whole “liberal” thing, which is completely bizarre, but that is a subject for another blog.
But the body, and I have to admit, I’ve not been real good to mine, is a whole other matter. And it reminds me every minute of every day of every possible thing I did or didn’t do for it for the past 60 years. The mind says, “come on, let’s do this” and then the body snickers and says, “yeah right. Fo-get-a-bout-it...go have a sandwich!” It starts in the morning when you first wake up and begin taking inventory of what hurts and what doesn’t. Then you get up, take your over-priced prescription medications and Tylenol…and it’s all downhill from there. The very best your body is going to feel for the rest of the day is when you crawl back into that bed that night. Now I realize there are some of your super-human freaks out there walking 428 miles every day for some un-Godly reason, but I’m just talking about us average Joe’s who conserve our energy for important stuff, like breakfast and getting ready for work.
As I reflect back on the rich experiences I’ve had, the great folks I’ve known, the people I’ve loved and the family my wife and I have built, and then realize the humanity that never had the opportunity to reach this age, and it becomes…humbling. And even more incredible, folks born in the later 50’s are a special breed entering our 60’s, as for the most part, we did not have to work as hard as our parents and grandparents, or sacrifice as much they did. The experiences and battle scars of 60 years of life on this rock have surely taken its toll, but we lived through it, and are that much stronger for it. We are entering our 60’s, generally in better health, and able to more fully enjoy what life and family we have.
So, I think I’ll wear this new age as a badge of honor and quit worrying about what time is left. Next time some whippersnapper calls me “old man” I’ll just smile, as little does he know.