Last week, I turned 60. But I didn’t dread it…
I’ll confess that when I was in my 20’s, the prospect of turning 60, or even 50, was not pleasant. I thought that by 50 I’d be suffering a variety of physical infirmities. And that by 60, insult would be added to injury with mental infirmities. Such is the wild imagination of naïve youth…
In hindsight, being young is much rougher than being…“mature.” I remember that in my 20s there was considerable angst about where my life was heading.
In college, I was in a small pond of 1,000 students. It wasn’t too difficult to become a whale in that environment. But graduating into the ocean of the “real world” presented an entirely different milieu. I’d be a minnow in that ocean.
Would I hold my own in the professional world? Would I meet a woman I’d want to spend the rest of my life with and who would want to do the same with me? These questions stayed with me until I was about 35. By that time, I had been in a job for two years which I knew it would take me a long way. And I was 35 when I met Susie.
By 40, the answer to both those questions was “yes.” (More accurately, “hell, yes”!) But I wouldn’t want to go through those early years again.
By 50, I was hitting my stride. I didn’t notice any physical infirmities. At work, I was about to become a whale. I’d not have any problem living my 50s again because the last ten years have been my peak years.
At 60, the only thing that’s changed since my 50s is that now I see a new phase in life. In two years, I will no longer be working. I know a lot of folks who defined themselves by their job and when that ended they went through an identity crisis.
I don’t expect that will happen to me. While I enjoy it, I’ve never made it my identity. I’ll have no problem letting go. I’m already doing so.
Folks who’ve had a near death experience say they had the sensation of being out of their body, looking down at what was happening. I understand that because that’s how I feel now.
Since I entered the deferred retirement program a year ago, I’ve noticed a growing sense of detachment. I can’t get excited if something doesn’t go my way. Not that I did before, but now there’s a “so what?” feeling which I did not feel before.
And I know that as long as anyone in my office now is still there after I leave, they will tell “I remember when…“ stories about me. So I’ll live on at work for many years after I leave.
I’m looking forward to there not being anything I “have” to do when I retire. My father used to say, “I love to do nothing all day and then rest afterwards.” I’m going to have days like that! Lots of them…!
I’ve never been a “joiner” and I doubt that’ll change just because I’ll have lots of free time. I’ve got some “projects” I can use to fill up any “bored’ time I may have. Such as scanning all my travel photos before I bought a digital camera so I can put them up on my travel photo website. And digitizing dozens of classical LP’s which are unlikely to be on CD.
60? Bring it on!