In my mind, I am still 26- maybe 27, but when I think that I have a son that is 27, the truth of the matter kind of hits me in the eye.
I think we measure decades by past experiences. I think that 60 is ancient because when I was growing up I had a great-uncle Kutzie and a great- aunt Sophie who I barely knew but I knew that they were in their sixties. As far as I was concerned they were ancient, over the hill, and older than anyone I knew except for my great great aunt MimaRussi- who scared the hell our of me since she had a mole growing out of her chin. Of course I was about 6 at the time, but that is probably when I started defining what the age 60 meant. Sixty meant strange old people smells, and pot bellies, and moving slowly and imminent death. But that was 54 years ago and now things are different.
I look at my dear sweet husband and sometimes still acts like a teenager. He is 62 and does not fit the description of old. I look at two of our closest friend who are at the end of the sixties and into the 70s and are fitter than I can ever hope to be. I look at posters advertising 55+ living, thinking that I don't fit that profile at all. And mostly I look at my 83 old mother who surprises me everyday with all of the activity and new experiences she is creating for herself. And then I realize that 60 is not the end of the world.
I did wake up this morning, not wanting to face the big birthday day. Holed in my room, answering the family phone calls with good wishes. And feeling a bit of trepidation as the day began. I am usually quieter than normal on birthdays... introspective, uncomfortable being the center of attention. And I think that today was no different than prior birthdays. When I think back on the momentous decade birthdays I realize that each one was faced with uncertainty. This one, is not. Now I do know where I am going and what I want to be doing. I am more comfortable in my own skin and happy that I have a wonderful set of family and friends around me. But I am also more aware of what I have not done, promises that are still unkept, activities that are still undone, and experiences that have been delayed. And I am more aware of a slow, very slow count down that I have to maximize, and rather than being a limiting factor, it energizes me to take more advantage of every day, and to get done what I need, want, to get done.
So 60, screw you. I will be 27 as long as I can be, and in the great words of that great song... forever young.