Today I’m 60.
Whoops. Am I supposed to tell anyone?
You think you’re surprised?
A few days ago if I’d kicked off at an age beginning with the number five it probably would have elicited a sentiment like, “What a shame. That’s young to go.”
Today if I step into the great beyond it’ll be more like, “She lived a good life.” Two days difference and my blue book value has dropped like a stone.
I feel pretty much the way I did at 50, and 40 (which by the way seem five and ten years ago respectively), except it’s no longer AARP chasing me down. Now social security wants to know when I’m going to retire so they can calculate my benefit. Medi-gap insurers seem to have a lot to say. My husband reminded me I can withdraw money from my IRA without penalty.
Yeah. My personal plastic surgery fund. Hangin' on to that.
One can’t pretend 60 is middle-aged. Not unless there’s an ancient medicine woman in the family tree.
I’ve outlived friends. Survived a husband by nearly 20 years. Celebrated a child’s 30th birthday. Seen kids have kids.
Been in love like a kid, a second time. Wasn't expecting that. What a great surprise.
Today I’m 60. A big number, you know? No foolin’ ‘round with that number and pretending it’s the ‘new 40’ or some such foolishness. It may be a new 60 but believe me it’s still 60.
The world moved quickly and so have I. Like the concussion of two bullet trains passing each other, that’s the racing of the last 20 years. How it happened I’m not fully certain.
But it did and I have all the stunning flowers to prove it. My favorite colors and specimens. And phone calls, text messages, emails, Facebook greetings, impromptu drop-ins, and most of all the biggest, glitteriest, lavender and pinkest, felt covered, ribbon festooned cards you’ve ever seen acknowledging my day. Card after card that has me stop and see myself through others’ eyes and I feel humbled to be held with such affection and regard.
How fortunate, huh? Not only am I a number not every one is guaranteed but everyone I know has been part of the cheer.
If I weren’t busy blowing my nose and wiping my tears I might have a slightly better time. But I’m thinkin’ this is a perfect day to sit back, absorb, and decide what I’d like this not middle-aged-anymore life to look like. What’s in, what’s out. Where my boundaries are and where they should be. Recalibration time. It's time to be real picky about how I spend my time.
Since I've been celebrated in a way that no one day can contain I can go back to celebrating tomorrow and next week, too.
Today you’ll find me kicking back, Kleenex wadded in my pocket, with more questions than answers at an age when I thought I’d have it licked. One question I had when this all began still lingers. Is it really all random? This much love raining down sure isn’t; on that one I’m clear.
For your information, while you're out there in your car, be careful. There’s a 60-year-old woman learning to drive a motor scooter. A surprise birthday motor scooter as a matter of fact. And even though some could say, “Oh, well, she’s lived a good life” (and they’d be right), I ain’t ready to bag it yet. For the foreseeable future the places I'm goin' are scooter accessible so till I have it down, watch out for me, huh?
Yup. Today is happy birthday to me. Thanks, everyone, for making it so special. You all know who you are. I love you.