In this week’s happenings: my birthday was on January 17th. I woke up that morning thinking, “This is the first day of my 62nd year! How did this happen?” Surely, I am still 22. Where did the time go?
Still, our 60s are not our 70s, 80s or 90s, so I am somewhat optimistic that I might have a few good years left in me. But 60+ is a time when you hear doctors and exercise instructors starting sentences with the phrase, “At your age…” I found this upsetting at first, but now I find it rather freeing because obviously everyone has lower expectations of anyone older than 59. That immense pressure to achieve Super Womanhood is loosened just a bit, our waistlines are allowed to be a little more matronly and we no longer have to worry about zits in our T-Zones, where apparently, if squeezed, they can cause death. I’m glad to be alive after a youth spent popping pimples that erupted between my eyebrows.
Here’s another fun event for the after-60-set: the daily arrival of all-new aches and pains. It’s always something. You might awake one day with your arches having fallen overnight. Nothing says, “There went your youth!” more than being fitted with orthotic inserts for all your shoes. Yes, we should be grateful that we are not yet 90 and using a scooter to get to the care home dining room by 4:00; it’s just that the aches and pains start now and probably aren’t going to abate much from here on.
Conversations “at our age” are also pretty thrilling. We get together with friends who share our sexagenarian interests – and I don’t mean “swinging sex after sixty” – I mean talking about the topic-du- jour that is in every 60-year old’s thoughts, that looming menace: retirement. What will we do with all that free time? Or more accurately, how will we ever cope with being together at home 24/7? (We have GOT to get some hobbies!) Have we managed to sock away enough in our IRAs (known as RRSPs in Canada) to ensure that we won’t outlive our money? What are the relative merits of living in a warm climate with ocean views where we can’t afford the million dollar real estate compared to living in an environment where we might have to shovel but we can at least afford to eat?
Then there’s all the talk about what kind of assisted living facility we want for ourselves. Egad! Unless we figure this out NOW, who knows where we might end up! We have got to get a plan! We’ve decided that we should gather all the friends we think we can tolerate for 20 years of close proximity and we should develop a communal-style facility with 24 hour nursing care, a Michelin Star chef, a sommelier and a decent pedicurist (because we won’t be able to reach our toenails anymore) and we’ll live out our golden years playing table Bocci, chugging Metamucil, watching reruns of “Cocoon” and eating crustless sandwiches at funerals.
But for now, this is 62. Not yet prone to complain about “that crazy music these kids play these days,” but no longer knowing the name of any new boy band. Not yet stone deaf, but no longer catching all the dialogue on Masterpiece without the closed captioning. Not yet mall walking, but no longer doing high-impact aerobics in a Lycra body suit and leg warmers. Not yet afraid to eat a pizza or fried chicken, but no longer able to handle that Junior’s chili dog at 1 am after a night of partying. In fact there is no night of partying. There is falling asleep at 10:00 while watching “House Hunters.”
Hello, 62! Glad I’ve made it this far. Please be gentle.