Talking it over: sixty years young
I might as well admit it because my loved ones are not letting me ignore it - I am turning 60 today. It is not a birthday that I have been looking forward to. In fact, I would just as soon ignore it totally but that is just not going to happen. Normally I am excited for my birthday, especially since I get to spend time with those I care about most. Turning sixty is really making me think about my age, the past, and the future. I have known people who recently entered this decade and began to have major health issues and even face their last days. I am not prepared to do that just yet. So instead of looking ahead, I decided to look back over the last sixty years.
Those first fifteen years of my life are somewhat of a blur. I don’t remember much from my elementary days but once I entered high school, I had many memorable experiences. If you calculate the years, I was a teenager in the late sixties and early seventies. A time for hippies, long hair, short skirts, love beads, peace signs, and bell-bottoms. We had love-ins, drive-ins (both movies and burger joints,) sit-ins, walk-outs, draft-dodgers, and Woodstock. We protested the war in Viet Nam, held up two fingers to make the peace sign when greeting each other, fought any type of rules and thought good things were “cool” or “groovy.”
After graduating from high school and for the next fifteen years, I learned to appreciate, set and no longer fight those rules. I got married, started a family and was now the bread-winner, rule-maker and task enforcer. Peace was no longer part of my existence and before long my kids would look at me in a strange way every time I said “cool” or “groovy.” I soon learned that I was no longer “cool” and, in their eyes, not very knowledgeable about what was. I knew that their time was coming so I just let them think what they wanted.
Forty came and my kids were pretty much grown up and out on their own. My husband and I had some fun and carefree years as we enjoyed our freedom and peaceful home. We had lots of time to spend with our friends, could do a little traveling and continue to work our forty-hour a week jobs. It may not have seemed like it at the time, but those were some of the best years of our lives. Our children also started to come to us for advice, imagine that, and we were more than ready to give it.
Over the last ten years, things have slowly been changing. I became a grandmother six times over, one of the best things to happen in my life. My carefree days became a bit more limited with time helping out the kids, working, watching the grandchildren and traveling to their events. It has been almost as busy as when our children were young but I keep telling myself to enjoy these years because soon these little ones will also be grown and on their own.
I have also had to admit that my body is just not as young as it used to be. I get tired much quicker and have aches and pains where I once had muscles. Diet and exercise have become my enemies and my recliner is my best friend.
People keep reminding me to be happy to turn sixty because it is better than the alternative. I am thankful to be alive and thrilled to be able to spend time with my loved ones. Just don’t remind me of my age and I will go on thinking I am as young as I feel, which somedays is not very young.