Tuesday, January 11, 2011

On Turning 60....

Thursday, January 6, I turned 60. Every time I say that, I have such cognitive dissonance that I think my brain will explode. Sixty,sixty, sixty. Maybe if I say it enough, it will no longer freak me out. I have outlived my mother and my older brother, Bill. Fortunately, however, not my father or my other sibs. My brother, Ross, is even more freaked out about my birthday than I; because it means he's NEXT!!

How can we be this old? It really is unfathomable to me that sixty years of my life have passed. Really, I'm stunned. I'm just stunned.......particularly when so much of my stream-of-consciousness thinking encompasses long-ago scenes, activities, memories, thoughts, and events that FEEL so current i.e., when I see a young mother struggling to corral her kids and flash on memories of myself doing the same; I certainly don't feel 30 years older than she at that moment.....it seems I was JUST doing what she is currently doing. Likewise, when I’m hanging out with Promise House teens or other young people, I don’t feel old enough to be their mother or even grandmother (heaven forbid!!). I feel as vital, passionate, energetic, and cool as they are; unless, of course, I try to play basketball or volleyball with them. Then, unfortunately, I am brought up short VERY QUICKLY as to my lack of youth! But when I’m with them, I don’t FEEL any age difference……I am right back in my own adolescence or young adulthood with them.

It's uncanny how ALL of my life is carried around with me, with parts of it being triggered by a scent, a sound, a song.....and I am RIGHT back there.....and it is CURRENT....and it is WITH me.....and I don't FEEL 60.....I feel 20 or 15 or 35 or 5....and then I notice myself in a mirror.....and I am once again stunned.....because I AM 60!

My vanity is really getting the best of me on this birthday. I have friends who have celebrated their graying hair, their increased wrinkles, proudly announcing that they earned every one of them and are happy to show them off. I, on the other hand, want no such part of this celebration. I will go to my grave covering at least some of my gray and fighting those pesky little wrinkles one by one!

I admit that I am of the Boomer group who wants to be eternally young, who is totally vain, self-involved, and bent on turning back time, as impossible as that is. I've often said that I'm going for 120, still lookin' and feelin' good. I have lucked out with fabulous genes, good health, pretty good looks, and a fair amount of athleticism and may get close to that; however, none of these will save me in the end. I will still get old (hopefully) and die.

Since I can’t go backwards, and the only other option is very unappealing, I guess 60 doesn’t look all that bad. I AM still above ground, functioning, healthy, happy, energetic, and optimistic. Hopefully, I have lots more years to wrestle the hands of time, if not backwards at least not so quickly forward. And I will continue to be stunned at the passage of time, the aging of my friends, family, and me; and I will continue to carry my life around with me and be all kinds of different ages all the time.....that is, until I spy myself in a mirror.

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