Wednesday, April 24, 2013

I'm Turning 63 by Margaret Ullrich

Tomorrow is Full Moon number four for 2013.
It's also my last Full Moon before I hit 63.
Next week is my birthday.
So it goes.

Recently NBC announced that Jimmy Fallon will be hosting The Tonight Show. 
They said that Jay Leno was ready to retire.
As further explanation, they mentioned that Leno was in his mid 60s.

Excuse me?
Jay Leno was born on April 28, 1950.
He is three days older than I am.
And I know I am not in my mid 60s.

There's a slogan going around lately.
You might have heard it.
Sixty is the new forty.
Don't you believe it.

Insurance companies don't buy the Sixty is the new forty crap.
They have the math to back up the higher fees they gleefully charge. 
Especially if you like to travel. 
Over 60?  You're 10 minutes away from a heart attack.
Don't even think of going to a doctor to get a mole removed while out of the country.

Being in my sixties reminds me of being a kid during the 1960s.
Really, wait, hear me out…

A ten-year-old has achieved a milestone.
Two whole numbers… 
Way cooler than just being nine!

A thirteen-year-old is one kind of teenager.
He expects to be treated as an adult, but isn't ready to give up favourite toys.
No pressure, he's just testing the teen waters.

A sweet sixteener is another.
He knows the score and is enjoying being a teenager to the hilt. 
It's a golden time without responsibilities.

And an eighteen-year-old is a whole other teenager.
During the 1960s, with a draft card in his pocket, he became cannon fodder.
He knew good times could come crashing to an end in an instant.

A sixtieth birthday is a transition.
You wake up and check yourself over, much as you would after being in an accident.
You give yourself a shake and try to ignore what's just happened.
After you get used to the 6_ instead of the milestone 5_, it's no biggie.
It's like using 20__ instead of 19__ when writing a cheque.
And anyway, you're five years away from being an honest to goodness senior.
Although you don't mind qualifying for the occasional senior discount.
I mean, if a store wants to extend some goodwill, what's the problem?

Then… sixty-five… a patriarch… retirement...
Images of grandparents waiting to die in Florida clutter your dreams.
Or maybe you've been watching Ed O'Neill in Modern Family.
His character, Jay, just fathered a baby.
Sure, why not, you still have your health, anything's possible.

Then there's sixty-eight… that's a whole other stage.  Trust me.
Some older friends tell me they read the obits daily to check if they're in them.
I'm not quite sure if they're joking.
They tell me Being old ain't for sissies.
They have a regular litany of things that can and do happen.
It reminds me of being pregnant and hearing the war stories of experienced moms.
I mean, all of those things can't happen to one person... can they?

Back to Jay...
A thirteen-year-old is not a sixteen-year-old.
And being sixty-three-year-old doesn't automatically mean you're ready to retire.
I know I'm not.


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