My 60thbirthday rapidly approaches. My days are numbered, as all days have been, I suppose. But now? The pressure’s on. There truly is no turning back: no one gets out of here alive.
It used to be called threescore, as in Psalms 90:
The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
Meaning? The average is 70, if you’re strong enough you might make 80, but after that? It is soon cut off, and we fly away. Cripes. It’s been swell, see ya around.
In ten years – if I haven’t flown the coop – I can visualize celebrating threescore and ten, kind of like my mom, but minus the Bingo cake – under the “O” 70. Ha ha. Bingo’s not my thing. But 80, 90? How much celebrating will I actually be doing? Be able to do? A friend pointed out, “Well, we can celebrate the fact we’re still breathing.”
I’ll admit. I’m finding this birthday a tough one. I am buoyed up by my husband B’s mom saying, “Oh, the 60s were just the best!” And I’m pretty sure she wasn’t talking about the 60s, as in groovy and far out, because she had two young sons she was dealing with back then.
Can we say 60 is the new 40? Ah, but can we say it and believe it? I was in the mall the other day purchasing blush. My daughter had taken mine when she returned to BC, so does that make me still relevant if the blush I use is something coveted by my thirty-something daughter? Anyway, the salesclerk at the MAC cosmetic counter had impeccably-applied makeup – that’s gotta be a criteria of the job, I mean NOT ONE WRINKLE was visible – and she casually handed me a mirror, without even a second thought. Brushed some blush on my cheeks, said, “Go ahead. Look. Do you like this colour?” And I looked, without even a second thought. But when I saw? I had second, third, fourth thoughts! And none of them to do with the colour of the blush. Is that me? Where did all those wrinkles come from? And what mean young person insisted on all this harsh lighting?
My friend, who says we can celebrate breathing on the decades that follow 60, suggested we stick to more darkly lit areas for the rest of our lives. His wife said, “Oh yeah. Tell me about it. Look at the picture I sent to my brother this morning when I didn’t have my glasses on.” She pulled it up on her phone. “Look?! Look at those wrinkles on that neck.”
I looked at the picture, looked at her. Said, “Yeah. I see them in the picture, but I look at you and I don’t see them.”
Harsh lighting and smart(stupid)phones. We can say 60 is the new 40 if we stay away from those.
I do feel good. That’s truly what matters, isn’t it? I mean, I don’t feel 60. (And I certainly try not to act it, but I do find myself going to bed earlier and earlier, and getting up earlier and earlier. Is that a sign of extreme aging?) I can still Jazzercise with the best of them – my sassy walk is still, well, I think, quite sassy – and I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to pedal 150 kilometres (90 miles) on my bike at the end of the month for MS. I’m trained down, I’ve done a couple of 50 kilometre rides, I feel ready.
Sixty just sounds, well, a tiny bit . . . old.
But then . . . there’s discounts, yes? Sometimes without even asking! Should I take that as an insult? Discounts are nice. (They’ve all been at stores with harsh lighting.) And there’s the old age pension too! Extra monthly cash is nice.
Age? Frig. We have no control over it, right? And there’s no point in worrying about something we have no control over. I guess there’s always plastic surgery, but since I don’t have the bank account and amazing surgeons of Jane Fonda, I’m just going to have to figure out how to do this thing as gracefully as possible. All while not falling off my bike.