Tomorrow is the beginning of the last week I will be in my fifties. It seems weird to say that, even weirder to realize it. I've been doing a lot of thinking recently about turning 60, which I guess is not surprising since it is a milestone age. I'm fortunate to live in a time and place where it doesn't mean that I'm being put out to pasture so to speak, but there are still realizations that come with making it this far.
When I turn 60:
I will have outlived my father by seven years. That's crazy, since dying at the age of 53 seems so uncommon and young. I remember that even at the time, he didn't seem *that* old to me, but now I realize just how young he was.
I will still be working with no real end in sight and in a job I truly hate. This disappoints me, I have to be honest. Not the still working part, because I didn't have any plans for early retirement. But the job-hating part is the kicker. For so many reasons, I'm pretty stuck where I am for the duration, and that is depressing. And since recent illnesses have pretty much taken care of any financial cushion we may have had, retirement is likely a looooonnnng time away for me.
I will have survived three different cancers. That's both ridiculous (no one should get three different cancers, one is insulting enough!), and wonderful (I am only too well aware of how lucky I am!). I am fortunate in this as well, that I live in a time and place where surviving any cancer at all is a strong possibility. My father, mentioned above, died from liver cancer when it was basically a death sentence from the get go, and that less than 50 years ago! Now cancer can be detected long before you have any noticeable symptoms.
I will remember things like dial telephones, non-remote TVs with antennas, black-and-white TV, party lines on your telephone, cameras that used film you had to send away to be developed before you knew how the pictures looked, and so many other things that seem like distant relics today! That's so weird, it's like I've done time-traveling or something! :-)
I will be closer to dying than not. I don't dwell on this fact, certainly, but it can be sobering to realize that your chances of dying are stronger than they were when you were 40. Having said that, I certainly hope my time will not be up for a long time, since I have no desire to leave.
I will be able to appreciate the fact that I know myself pretty well. I've always been self-aware to some degree, but only as I've gotten older have I realized how important that is. I think it's one of my strengths and I feel bad for people who never seem to understand the concept.
I will be - to some degree - living the life that I want to live. If you take away the work thing (and sadly, that is a big chunk, but it's not everything), I am lucky to have the life I do. I have a house that I love in a place that is somewhere I enjoy living, I have The Tim, who even if we are not madly, passionately embracing every minute, is my true companion and partner in crime. I am surrounded by animals that I love and that has always been a dream of mine. I have books, music, yarn, TV, and a few true friends. I have many friendly and pleasant acquaintances. I've been able to travel, and hope to do some more.
I will have led a good life so far. :-)
So even if I can't say "Here's to the next 60!" (because frankly I have no desire to live to be 120 years old), I can say "Let's keep doing this, and see what happens!"
Have a good week, and remember to be glad you are here.