On Turning 60

For whatever reason, unlike prior milestone birthdays, turning 60 has given me pause, a mild mid-life crisis if you will. (I’m sure my sisters are laughing at me, as they are meeting milestones of their own this year, a bit further down the road of life, and are wondering what I’m making a big deal about).

I suppose I’ve never really considered the road ending, really ending. That at some point, barring illness or accident, that the timer runs out. At 60, I figure I’ve got maybe 20 good years left, with at least 6 of them still working as I shoot for the Social Security maximum (assuming of course that there will be Social Security in 6 years). That, and there are bills to pay.

And what of plans? The Tinker and I have long talked of renovating the house, building a nice master suite, modifying one of the existing rooms into a game room, updating the kitchen. How much debt do I really want to go into at 60? This wasn’t a question even 5 years ago, but now there seems to be a giant Stop sign looming, a terminus.
What’s important? Pretty things? Sure, they are nice. Time with those I love? Absolutely. Time doing things that are meaningful to me? Damn skippy. Those things seem even more important now than ever.

But really, there’s always been a time limit. Some are somewhat predictable, some are what I call “blink” – in the blink of an eye everything changes. I’m lucky to have made it to 60 alive, healthy, intact, with someone I love, a place I love to live, and way too many cats. Why do we not take the time limit seriously until it’s winding down?

It may be sanity. I used to drive race cars, and I’ve heard it said that there is a certain amount of denial every racer has when they climb in their car, because if you really thought about what could happen, you’d never get in. I suppose the same is true even climbing in the car and driving to work, stepping out of your doorway, getting out of bed. If we really, really thought about it, could we wrap our heads around it all ending?

I remember as a little girl, trying to come to grips with the fact that someday my mom and dad would die. I remember standing in the dark hallway of our house, sobbing to myself as I tried to accept that fact. I’m not quite sure what precipitated this period in my young life, maybe the passing of a grandparent, but then the concept of “everyone dies” was news to me. Now, at 60, I’m still apparently in denial.

So, where to from here? Well, Monday I’ll get up and go to work, just like any other day. The Tinker and I will puzzle out our plans and how much debt we want to take on, and buy a couple of lottery tickets just in case. And I’ll try to keep the really important life things much more clearly in focus – time with the things, people and activities that I love.