SLOAN COLUMN: 60 and still trusting my cape
I’ll soon be turning 60. right: 6-0! How is this possible? When someone asked me recently how old I felt mentally, I said 30. I think they got a good a laugh out of that one. Okay, the truth is that’s not every day. But most days I feel pretty doggone good. I’m in decent shape. I do take blood pressure medicine, but that’s it. No major issues. I can still run a 5K, albeit not nearly as fast as I did, well, back in the day. Maybe I don’t feel 30 every day, but certainly not, gulp, 60! Whether I like it or not, though, that will be the reality in about two weeks. Never ever did I ever envision myself being a sexagenarian. That’s what someone my soon-to-be-age is called and, yes, it does sound a little creepy. Of course, the other reference to someone in their sixties is downright inconceivable to me – a senior citizen. I’ve been in denial of that term for close to half a decade now. I don’t want the discount and I certainly don’t want that AARP card. Just a few weeks ago I 86’d one of their membership solicitations. I’m pretty sure it was accompanied by a resolute, “NEVER!” Well, you know what they say about never saying never. I guess it’s true. There’s a connotation that comes with being 60, or at least that’s what I’ve had planted in my brain all these years. I’ve always associated that age with Geritol, Grecian Formula, and geriatric socks. I know it’s not true, but still. Of course, there are those wise folks, most of them past 60, who insist I should be grateful that I’ve made it this far. Consider the alternative, they say. I certainly can’t argue with that. I’ve read and had people tell me “60 is the new 40.” That means 50 is evidently the new 30, 40 is the new 20 and so on. I’m not so sure I’m buying that logic. Not long ago I tried to convince myself that I need to come to terms with my “real” age. Rather than be dragged kicking and screaming into my sixtieth decade on God’s good earth, it’s time to man up and handle it with a little more dignity. In an attempt to reassure myself that the rest of my life is not all downhill, I found these little affirmations for folks facing the same “dilemma” as myself: • 60 is 6 perfect 10’s. • 60 is the new sexy. • 60 isn’t for sissies. • 60… It’s only a number. • Life begins at 60. • Age is strictly a case of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter. • It’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years. • I’m sixty years of age. That’s 16 Celsius. • Looking fifty is great, if you’re sixty. • If you start telling people you are 70 now, they’ll be amazed by how good you look for your age. • I’m not 60… I’m $59.99 plus tax. • Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what the hell happened. • No wise man ever wished to be younger. • The older the fiddler, the sweeter the tune. • Today is the yesterday you worried about tomorrow. • You’re not 60, You’re 18 with 42 years experience. • Birthdays are good for you. Statistics show that the people who have the most live the longest. • Count your blessings, not your wrinkles. • Don’t celebrate how old you are, celebrate the years you survived. These cute little sayings didn’t work. I’ve decided to forget the dignity. I’m simply not ready. As George “The Possum” Jones once sang, “I Don’t Need Your Rocking Chair.” I listened to one of my favorite Guy Clark tunes again the other day and I’ve made up my mind that this is how I’ll approach my sixties: Now, he’s old and gray with a flour sack cape tied all around his head. He’s still jumpin’ off the garage and will be ‘til he’s dead. All these years, the people said, he was actin’ like a kid; He did not know he could not fly, so he did. Well, he’s one of those who knows that life is just a leap of faith, Spread your arms, hold your breath, and always trust your cape.” I don’t plan on lettin’ go of my cape any time soon. Hey 60s, ready or not, here I come. Contact Editor Bob Sloan at editor@florence newsjournal.com.