THOUGHTS ON TURNING 60

Last month, I turned 60 years old. I am still mulling over in my mind where some of the famous, “Gee, it’s great to get old” expressions come from.

One of my favorites uses the ever-brilliant word “gold” as in the “Golden Years.” I am not sure where this comes from, but some suggest it arises from the gold watches that retirees receive as a parting gift when they retire. Others say it is in reference to the golden environment of wiling away time in sunny Florida. I have no intention of wiling away hours anywhere other than here in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Seriously, I think 60 is a smack in the face about your own mortality. Not that I think I am immortal, but the notion of only 5 years until 65, is fairly disconcerting. The only thing I can do now is get really old. But I do not intend to retire unless I have to – I would be bored to death. I love my home, and I would like more time to work on it, but I know after a couple of weeks I would be bouncing off the walls.

I have picked up the annoying habit of looking at the daily obituaries. As I scan the announcements, I look at the age groups. Sometimes I swear I am on the verge of hyperventilating when I see people who have died in their 40s, 50s, and 60s. The first thing I do is look at the memorial designation. If it is to an organization for some disease or illness, I breathe a sigh of relief. That means something untoward happened, and the reason for death wasn’t just age.

I remember back to my high school days in South Whitley when our class president, Mick Bishop, was killed at the age of 17 – a month shy of his 18th birthday. He was a popular person: he was our class president, he was in sports, he was cute, he was smart, and he had so much to look forward to in life. But, on his way home from Peru, Indiana, with a couple of friends, the car went out of control and hit a tree. My understanding was that he was lying down in the back seat asleep, and his side hit the tree. He died of a broken neck.

Most of us in our class were between 17 and 18 at the time he died. We couldn’t fathom a random death such as Mick’s. We could understand those who had lived a full life and then passed away. And our concept of a full life was someone who had made it to their 30s or 40s.

It is funny how over the years my idea of “old” has changed. When I hit a milestone such as each decade, I just add 25 or 30 years to it and that is my new definition of old. My co-workers, being ever so kind, kept telling me my “60 is the new 40.” Yep, sure hope that means my body feels that way too.

One of my favorite gifts was a t-shirt with “I’m 60 and still not ready to make nice.” Of course the slogan is from the Dixie Chicks hit album, Taking the Long Way. You all probably recall that Natalie Maines made a comment about King George that didn’t sit too well with all those patriotic, flag-waving Americans. Scores of anti-free speech people – carefully wrapping themselves in the flag – destroyed the Chicks CDs. “Taking the Long Way” was a comeback success for the Chicks, and one of my favorite songs was “Not Ready to Make Nice.”

Three of my friends and I spent the day in Indy to celebrate my big 6-0!
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I think one of the hardest things to absorb is how fast time has flown. It seems like yesterday that I was going to sock hops, learning to drive our ’58 Chevy Biscayne, working at our family grocery store, singing “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “She Loves You, Yeh, Yeh, Yeh” as loud as we could on the bus traveling to away basketball games, and raising my boys. Gosh, so many memories!

I do know one thing though, when my heart skips a beat or I get those little butterflies in my stomach – it is no longer love; it is an arrhythmia and indigestion.

I suppose I had better brace myself for my journey toward my 70th birthday because I am sure the upcoming 10 years will seem to go even faster. But, just think, at 70 I will have to get a new t-shirt that says “I’m 70 and still not ready to make nice.” Lookin’ forward to it!!

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About Charlotte A. Weybright

I own a home in the historical West Central Neighborhood of Fort Wayne, Indiana. I have four grown sons and nine grandchildren - four grandsons and five granddaughters. I love to work on my home, and I enjoy crafts of all types. But, most of all, I enjoy being involved in political and community issues.
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7 Responses to THOUGHTS ON TURNING 60

  1. Pete says:

    Many happy returns, Charlotte.

    From the early concept of a full life at 30 or 40, maybe the birthday shocks are more like, “Wow,I’m still here!” My older friends say the big seven-oh was a shock. I think they probably did have some shudders as they pondered “that undiscover’d country.” They did things like draw up wills and give away some of their treasures. Then they got on with life, doing as they pleased (allowing for physical restrictions). I’ve always had older and younger friends, and I have doubts about the common knowledge that advanced age makes people cranky. In many cases, I think they may have arrived there predisposed.

    Maybe obits are the new society column? It just turns out that, as we know more and more people from our activities on the planet, more names pop up in that section. But, you know, “age” did kill each one of them really. I’m not sure I approve of this whole birth-death thing, but it’s not like I had a better offer, so … hey, there’s sunshine today!

  2. Phil Marx says:

    The best thing about getting older is there are more people you can shake your head at and say “Those kids don’t know what they’re talking about!” Of course those kids say the same thing about older folks, but we can be consoled kowing that eventually they too will come around to our way of thinking.

    I’ve always liked talking with people who are older than me because they usually have interesting stories to tell. My grandfather was in army basic training when WW-1 ended. He lived worked and raised a family through the Great Depression. My step father is seventy now. He had a great aunt who told him first hand accounts of seeing Civil War soldiers marching past her house as a child. My neighbor is a seventy-something african-american who grew up in Southern Alabama. You can read any of this stuff in a book, but nothing beats the stories told by people who experienced it. (Okay, if you hear the same story a hundred times, it gets a little tiring.)

    If it’s any consolation, your blog doesn’t sound old. Which reminds me of something I wanted to ask you. I have been noticing all of the hot flicker photo women that you’ve had on your blog lately – I think I’m in love. Charlotte, will your blog marry me?

  3. M Badgett says:

    Happy Birthday!!!! Oddly enough I was on the phone with Karla when my roommate opened this page. We had a laugh pretending we were psychic for moment.

  4. Phil:

    You too can have those babes on your blog! I have a widget that sets up a link to Flickr. The photos are changed every day I believe – I don’t have any control over what shows up.

    Flickr provides a variety of scenes and pictures.

  5. so who are the “cougars” at the table? and are any of them wealthy and single, who need a “houseboy” to do a few things around the yard, and garden? domesticated, educated, and handsome 47 yr old single contractor looking for work to help local lady neighbors- pay by job- sliding scale. will work for beer!
    but I am a competent handyman.
    happy Birthday, neighbor!

  6. Kevin Whaley says:

    Happy belated birthday Charlotte!

  7. Rhea says:

    Happy birthday, belatedly! I turn 50 in June and will probably have a big party.

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