Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Control 60 or be controlled by it

Here’s the thing about 60: You control it, or it controls you.

That’s pretty much the consensus of my fellow members of the Oswego Catholic High School Class of 1971, who gathered in the city hard on Lake Ontario recently to collectively celebrate our 60th birthday.

I’m happy to report, on behalf of the OCHS Class of ‘71, that we are controlling 60 better than it is controlling us.

We’re not as we were when we were 18, certainly, but my sense is that, in the main, we’re healthy, active and engaged.

Sixty is tougher than 50 or 40.

At 40, we celebrated early-ish middle age, thinking that we haven’t even lived half our lives yet. Fifty might be argued as middle age since many regard 50 as the new 40. But at 60 there’s no pretense about middle age. We know there are fewer tomorrows than there are yesterdays.

The problem I have with 60 is the math, never one of my favorite classes at OCHS -- failing geometry as proof of that.

I do the math of how old I’ll be relative to certain events that I anticipate in the years ahead. (As a point of reference, check out Loudon Wainwright’s song “Doin’ the Math” from his “Strange Weirdos” album.)

I think about my daughter Elizabeth and my son David and the children I expect they’ll have someday and how old I’d be when they graduate college, or whether I’d even be alive to see them get married, or see their children.

They are the unknown x and y in the equations I try to solve from time to time.

Some people are spiritually prepared to die, to make that journey to whatever is on the other side. I tend to be a planner when I travel, so I'd like to see the itinerary of what that journey entails.

I’m enjoying 60. I’m retired enough to enjoy the time I have to myself, and I work enough to keep myself mentally and socially engaged. I’m physically active, have a loving wife, and I have easy access to a lot of family.

No, 60 isn’t middle age, but it’s not the beginning of the end either.

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