06 March 2016


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.


Anonymous said...

Sixty ain't so bad ------- the wonderful thing about it is when folks can't believe you are SIXTY! (Apparently you are supposed to look like Granny Clampett!) LOL

Here's wishing you a bright new decade. Now go out there and kick butt!

Kim in Oregon said...

What a wonderful and thoughtful post. Thank you for all these reminders. I'll be turning 58 (58!!) in a few weeks and many of these same thoughts go through my brain (that generally thinks it is still 22).

kathy b said...

Happy 60th early. Milestone birthdays sometimes get the best of me. IM so happy you are healthy and loving your life!

Araignee said...

I had the exact same thoughts two years ago when I hit that milestone. It is a tough age. I go from exhilaration to despair about a zillion times a day. The sun is definitely setting on my physical self but my 20 year old brain is not having it. Music helps. When I am in the pits, I put on the 60's rock station and I am immediately 14 again without a care in the world. The way I look at it-if Keith Richards can still rock, so can I.

Lorraine said...

Bridget- 60 is nothing these days. It's more how you feel. I am enjoying getting older, and I never thought I would.

Hope the work situation improves.

Kym said...

What a wonderful, thoughtful post. Enjoy this week leading up to your birthday -- and enjoy every moment (well, except for the job thing). (And . . . Sixty is the new forty.) (Or something like that.) XO

steph said...

great post....!!!

we have a high school facebook group and someone posted the other day that our class of '67 is turning 67 this year. As I wrote back to them....now for a whole year I don't have to do the math to figure out how old I am. Age really is just a number to me.....live it up!!! and celebrate big this week!!!

Mereknits said...

I say bring it on! You are funny, articulate, active and a survivor. You have a wonderful life (minus the job) and many passions including books and yarn. I think 60 is fabulous and frankly it is better to have a birthday than to no be here for one, from one cancer survivor to another I wish you the very best!

Bonny said...

This is a very thoughtful and considered post. I'll be 59 in a few months and have also been thinking, and you've said it all well. My husband had a great grandmother that lived to be 100, and she saw everything from the Wright Brothers to man landing on the moon in her lifetime, so I know what you mean about time traveling. Wishing you a happy and healthy multitude of decades!

Vera said...

Happy Birthday a bit early! Love this post. Being sixty -- or in your sixties -- is not bad...I for one am enjoying it. Sorry your job sucks though. I'm fortunate that I do enjoy my job, but still...I would love to be retired.

elns said...

I thought this was a nice and honest post. I feel like you've got a good life going too and your cancer journey is just utterly amazing to me and inspiring. I think despite the crap job (sorry, can I call it that?) your quality of life and positive outlook and well, just all the other good things it contains is pretty awesome. We should all be so lucky. You know it, you're appreciating it and you're living the good stuff. More happy to you.

KSD said...

Mortality is forever on my mind of late. Nice to know I'm not alone.

pam said...

Such a thoughtful post. I'll be there in 2 short years. I am so sorry about your job though. I am pretty blessed to be doing something I love.