I turned 59 today, and I have to say that, so far at least, this is a great age. I like the ages with 9 at the end of them–and have for a while, at least since I turned 29. These ages always remind me that I have one more year of being a certain decade, so I’m not really as old as I feared–at least not yet. This is especially true for me, since I tend always to forget how old I am. I’ve tried to blame this tendency on the fact that if you have a birthday in December, it’s hard to remember your accurate age at any point during the year–you’re always jumping forward in your mind to the next year or slouching back–but I really think it’s just because I’ve never–not since I first became an adult–been very good at feeling my age.
Age is something I associate with other people–not with myself. I don’t know why this is true, but it hasn’t changed in any significant way over the course of my life. I think in my mind I will always be about 35, the age where I first began to realize I was a grown-up. That must be why when I hear something like a song from the Bee Gees or the Beatles or Sly and the Family Stone, one of those songs that transports me instantly back to the year when I first heard it (such as “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” or “I’ve Just Gotta Get a Message to You” or “Everyday People”)– it is not entirely inconceivable that I might feel like dancing in public without thinking first how ridiculous that could seem to those around me, especially my children.
In many ways, 59 feels like a reprieve. I don’t have to adjust to the reality of turning 60, not just yet, since, for one more year, I’m still in my fifties. As I said, the 9’s make me feel young. And being 59 has its perks. After all, if I weren’t 59 right now–but instead 25 or even 35–I would not have gotten to see the Beatles perform live in Baltimore on their first American tour. I would not remember the first moon walk. And I don’t think I would derive as much pleasure as I do from things like cell phones and text messaging–and even emails!
And, come to think of it, I don’t really think I’ll mind turning sixty. I feel sixty already in lots of ways: my elbow aches from “tennis elbow;” my left knee is arthritic; I have a head full of grey hair; I can’t remember a damn thing. Hell, I might as well be sixty years old!
On the other hand, it’s ridiculously hard to believe that I could possibly ever turn 60. After all, I’m the baby in my family. My 3 sisters may turn 60, but not moi! Surely not! So, I won’t think about it, at least not now. Maybe I’ll think about it tomorrow–at Tara!
All these thoughts are here–or on the horizon. But for now, say for the next 11 months, I’m going to enjoy being 59, without giving it a whole lot of thought, except maybe to ponder with my friends whether we will have to, at some point, rename our site “Oops60!”