Fifty was easy. Everybody was doing it. Hitting the half-century mark was universally and emphatically celebrated. Almost 80 million baby boomers (including the President) were turning 50 at the rate of 10,000 per day. Remember “50 is the new 30”? A new millennium was on the horizon. I felt young and vital and threw a big party to celebrate my own half-century on this planet.
Sixty? Not so much. Sixty was different. It was personal. I was going to start this blog at 60 but figured I’d take a little time to get the feel of this new decade. Know what? You can’t take a little time, because it rushes by way too fast and it’s gone. [One day I said to myself: “I’m forty!” By the time I recovered from the shock of that discovery, I had reached fifty. –Simone de Beauvoir]
Sixty-four is imminent. If I wait any longer to start this blog, I’ll have to call it “Septuagenarian”—which simply doesn’t have the same appeal.
And saying “sexagenarian” makes me laugh.
I’m finally getting the hang of this new decade. Older & wiser? Not so sure. Please keep in mind that this is a rant, written by a sexagenarian, so forgive me any lapses (we will never say “senior moment” here).
I hope you’ll join me in exploring this strange and daunting decade.
One thing I know so far:
If you tell someone your age and they say, “No way!”, it might feed your ego, but don’t believe them. You look your age. Or maybe you look great for your age. It’s just that 60 looks younger these days. If they’re really young, 60 is so ancient that if you’re walking, talking and breathing, they’re rendered speechless.
I recently saw a talk show segment where they compared the grannies and nannies of early TV to stars of a certain age today. For example, remember Aunt Bee from the Andy Griffith Show? Frances Bavier was fifty-eight when she played that role! Seeing her next to current photos of Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn, both sexagenarians, illustrates the point brilliantly. [Ah, but I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now. –Bob Dylan]
Check out pictures of your parents when they were your age, or younger, and it’s obvious that the face of aging has changed. There was a lot of money to be made from keeping our huge generation happily youthful and healthy. Remember saying “better living through chemistry”? [What a drag it is getting old. –Mick Jagger & Keith Richards]
I’m not in sexagenarian denial. Fact is, I simply can’t believe that I can possibly be over sixty, let alone almost 64. The peace sign is over fifty, the millennium is already 13 years behind us, and Woodstock was way back in 1969. Were you there? I was. Do I want to go back? No, once was more than enough. Several years ago, in an event attempting to mimic Woodstock, one group mistakenly decorated their van with the Mercedes logo…
If it feels good, do it. The mantra of a generation. This feels good. I’ll do it again next week.