We Baby Boomers are so sure the universe revolves around us that we refuse to get old: is 60 is the new 40? Heck no!
I turned 60 recently (ok, last year) and celebrated with a big party where it was, of course, all about me! Typical Baby Boomer. I arrived at the party with Big Hair and Red Heels–the same red heels I wore the night I hurled myself off a stage during a speaking gig in Georgia.
After that bone-jarring, elbow-breaking free fall, I gave away every pair of heels I owned…except the red ones. I never wanted to forget. It was like the half-smoked, lipstick-stained cigarette a friend kept for years, in an ashtray on the living room shelf as a reminder that it was her last smoke. And it was.
I am sure it was some Baby Boomer who coined the phrase, 60 is the new 40, in an attempt to bask in the limelight just a teensy bit longer. Well, fellow BB’s, I hate to tell you but 60 is not the new 40. It’s not even the new 50. It’s 60!
Deal with it!
At 40 I thought I could take on the world. Heck, I could still jog without leaking. I still had young children at home. I could hardly wait for them to grow up and clear out so I could focus on my thing.
At 50 I became a grandparent and booted my youngest child out of the nest–he was 19 and needed a nudge. He soon joined the human race, worked hard, found a fabulous wife and produced two adorable grandchildren (# 5 and #6). His older sisters gave us #1 – #4. Bless them.
- At 60 quitting time comes a lot earlier! The to-do list ends at 5 p.m. Whatever it was I used to do until 9 or 10 p.m. is no longer urgent. Or relevant! Tomorrow is another day. Actually, tomorrow is a gift that many people I knew at 40 no longer have because they didn’t make it this far.
- At 60 I schedule fun (a.k.a. Jas, Eli, Madi, Mac, Brielle, Coco) and spend a lot of time at parks and playgrounds. I slide and swing and dig with tiny plastic shovels. Cheapest therapy out there. Don’t knock it.
- At 60 I invite people into my real house, the one we live in not the showplace. The competition is over. I no longer have to win. When people notice our scarred wood floors I tell them it’s a record of our family history–mostly war by the looks of it!
- At 60 I get rid of stuff. The acquisition frenzy ended about a decade ago and I decided to save my descendants some hassle by downsizing and decluttering. I used to sell but now I donate. Much more satisfying. And quicker–that’s the real reason.
- At 60 I give myself a facelift every time I look in a mirror. A great big smile. Its quite affordable.
- At 60 I still walk but not aerobically. It drove me crazy, at 40, to have to stop all the time on outings with my kids. There were places to go and we needed to get there fast! Now, on outings, when the grandkid stops I thank them. And God!
- At 60 I no longer say Hurry Up. Ever. If I do say it, I repent. If I think Hurry Up, it’s a sign I have failed to create the margin of space needed to accomplish a given task. When 3-year-old Brielle insists on dressing herself and putting her shoes on the wrong feet, I wait. I enjoy it…mostly.
- At 60, I don’t multi-task. There are varying opinions about whether or not multi-tasking kills brain cells but, just in case, I’m not taking any chances. The real reason is because I can’t remember what I am doing half the time and…what was I talking about?
Probably the best reason that 60 is not the new 40 is because at 60, we are no longer the same person we were 20 years ago. Thank you Jesus. We’ve had time to learn and grow and change and, dare I hope, improve?
What about you? Are you embracing the changes new seasons of life bring? What are you glad about in your current decade?
Time marches forward, never backward. Remember fondly (or strategically forget) what was. Celebrate (and accept) what is. Look forward to what will be.