Monday, March 19, 2018

On turning 60

My 60th birthday is just a few days away and although I am risking alienating my millennial followers by revealing my advanced age, I do so as a chronicler of my own life.

I looked back at a post I made when I turned 50. I was more focused on having a 17-month old toddler in the house and a new baby arriving later in the year.  And looking back, turning 50 didn't have the same feeling of mortality closing in on me as 60.

The thing is, no one can truly prepare you for your own aging. When you are young, you can't really fathom it. I remember being a teenager and calculating that I'd be 42 when the Millennium happened and thought that would be so old. I also assumed I would be married and have a family. Little did I know that I wouldn't marry until I was 47 and would have a young family when I was headed into middle age.

People also age differently based on mindset and how they take care of themselves. So my description of aging will likely be different from someone else's.

I will say, aging creeps up on you. At first you laugh at the dusting of gray hair that begins showing up. You shrug it off as a badge of maturity that you've earned. Some rush to the hair salons and hide it before anyone notices. I let it happen and there is no denying a full head of silver hair.

But at least I have hair.

It just other things I have trouble with. Like looking into a mirror and not recognizing yourself.  Like looking at your aging hands and the undeniable signs of age. Like noticing the amount of time it takes to get up off the floor if I'm playing with my children or pets. Like wondering how you were a certain height all of your adult life and suddenly you are several inches shorter.

People look at me and see a grandfather. Sometimes they look at me and expect wisdom. And sometimes I look back and shrug. Getting old doesn't necessarily make you wise. I wish I had more answers. But too often I find aging raises more questions.

I know I should be grateful that I am still alive and in good health. I have a wonderful family. I make a decent living and can support them.

But me, being the glass is still not really full kind of person, focuses on the things I haven't done. When you hit 60, you really have to face that this is who I am and pretty much all I will be. I'll never be famous.

Since I didn't finish this post before my birthday and have taken it up again on the day after my birthday, I will note that I now can't say I have never been to Graceland. My wife surprised me for my birthday with a trip to Memphis to visit Graceland and a view other attractions. That, I'm sure, will be the subject of a near future post.

I will say that the trip did help put things in perspective for me. Elvis was famous. But he died at 42. I am not famous, but I'm still kicking at 60. That's something.

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