My age odometer will soon turn 60. That doesn’t seem possible. Honestly, I’m surprised at how good 60 feels. It doesn’t feel as old as I thought it would. As a kid I thought 60 was really old. And it may be, but it’s not as old now as I thought it was then. I can still do most of the things I want to do. Granted, I can’t do them for as long as I once could and, it’s true, there are fewer things I want to do, but overall I don’t feel too many limitations.
I would like to tell you that turning 60 is no big deal to me and in many ways it isn’t. I don’t see it as a tragedy. I’m not particularly upset about it. How ridiculous it seems to me to be upset about any age you turn. You can’t do anything about it. If you’re 60, you’re 60. Pull up your big girl panties and deal with it. Besides, life is a journey, right? Oh sure, there are no Road Atlas’s to help show us the way and there are either few or way too many signs along the way to be certain we are always on the right path. But no matter how zig zaggy our route, we still go from here to there. To be honest, in life, that’s birth to death. We all do it. No one has ever gotten out of this alive. Well, not in the physical sense anyway. As to what happens when we reach our destination after we croak, I like to think we’re given a free fill up, a reliable GPS, maybe a gift certificate for a nice B&B, and are sent back out for another grand adventure.
The thing about 60 that is getting to me a little bit, though, is that at 40, even at 50, it was still fairly easy to convince myself that I was only halfway through my life. I still had a good half of my life stretching out ahead of me. There was plenty of time. At 60, however, that is no longer possible. At 60, I am well aware that I have more life behind me than ahead of me. I have somehow passed the midpoint and I’m now well into my second half.
Yet when I look into the mirror the eyes that were reflected back to me when I was a child are the same eyes looking back at me today. That little girl is still inside of me. She still dreams of laughter and love, and holds hopes for adventure, and plans for what yet is to be. What yet is to be, however, remains a mystery and embracing that may be the greatest adventure there is. That’s one of the gifts of getting older. By now we realize we don’t always end up where we think we’re going. There are dreams deferred and great plans diverted. There are twists and turns along the way that we could have never seen coming. All of it makes up the minutes and days of our lives, and overall, I have to say I’ve had a good life so far. I’ve done a lot of things, met a lot of people, and had some successes and a few near misses.
So, as my next birthday nears and I wonder how the rest of my life may unfold, I’ve decided to use turning 60 as motivation to laugh more frequently and heartily, to spend more time having fun and less time fretting, and to drink much better wine.