29 and hanging on by my fingernails

Oh, you wish!

I have a reverse calendar at work, ticking off the days to when I'm turning the unbelievable age of SIXTY. Why is this unbelievable??? I look in the mirror and I see maybe 40. I don't feel this new age. So, anyway, yesterday it was 30 days to 60. Today it's 29 days. Twenty-nine. I remember that age – vividly. 29 was hard to leave – I went kind of kicking and screaming. The 20's are such exuberant years. You are finally out from under your overbearing parents. You are on your own. Got that apartment. Then married with children. The house.

The 30's came and GAACK, you were really an adult now. All that responsibility. All the decisions with nobody to back you. Everything was a drama. Bills to pay, parent teacher conferences, doctor visits for the kids, hospital treks for the kids, Disney once for the kids, if you were lucky and could afford it.

When I was 39, I worked for a selfish, egotistical, full-of-himself jerk who sauntered in one day and tossed a Reader's Digest at me and said "Here. Type this up for me. It's my motto. It's why I'm who I am. It's why I have made it today."

I glanced at the article: "Success by the Age of 40: Ten Steps."

I started typing and thinking – hoo boy – by 40. I'll be 40 in ten months. I remember it almost exactly to the date – it was the end of June. Success by the age of 40 – I'll never make it. I got more and more depressed and for the next ten months, I spent the whole time being almost 40. I stopped being 39. I kissed the 30s smack down goodbye. I was almost 40.

The 40s are kind of a blur. Kids are growing up and you're worrying about college or they're going off into the service and you're worrying about war spots around the world. The mortgage has been refinanced, credit card companies know you by name and send you deals every day, every single damn day, and at no interest for six months, hallelujah.

And suddenly you are 50. Half a century. And you realize that, gee, I don't think I'm even middle aged. I think I passed middle age five years ago, maybe longer. Holy cow – I'm over the hill and THAT means it's down hill from here, at an ever increasing faster, and faster, and faster rate.

Now I'm turning 60, feel like 30, look like 40 (ok, maybe 45). And I'm thinking – you know – this ain't bad if this is what 60 feels like. I'm still roaring like a lion, getting myself into trouble by pressing buttons I'm told not to, and I'm still creating new friendships, starting new projects as if I'm going to live forever.

I have thought that it might be a good idea to stop reading the obituaries. I find myself looking at the ages in the obituaries and thinking, boy is he old looking or something similarly derisive. And then I'll look in the mirror and think – eek – I'm his age. It gives you pause at any rate.

So – in 29 days from this moment, I will turn 60. Wow.


Anonymous said...

60 is full of adventure too Jeanne. I'm sure you'll enjoy it. All of a sudden you discover how nice younger people can be when they think you're ready to die any minute because you're so old.

Cheryl said...

Roar on, roar on!

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