Oh No…It’s the Big Six-Oh

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!


11 responses to “Oh No…It’s the Big Six-Oh

  1. Congratulations! I always consider it a great victory to have survived another year!
    It’s interesting what you say about work “defining” you. Not to argue, but while you may be detaching yourself, and it’s not the total sum of who you are, like it or not, it does define you in some ways. You notice that the first thing people ask is “What do you do?” It’s one of those more socially acceptable things you can ask a person. That used to irritate me anyway. I wanted to say “What difference does that make?” But as time has passed, I’ve come to accept that it is a large part of “me”, especially if you like your work as both of us do.
    I worry that if I retired (like that’s gonna happen!), I would have trouble filling my days. But when I look around me at people I know who are retired, they are all busier than ever. So I think I would be okay. Plus, I am a little bit of a “joiner”…lol.

    • > What do you do?”

      I’m with you on your thinking about that question. When asked, I answer as shortly as possible and, if pressed on details, keep that as short as possible too. I’d much rather talk about travel, films or poker!

      You’ll have no problems with retirement. Think of all the books you can finally have time to read! And you can volunteer at the Humane Society.

      • sc, I’m not sure I can read any more than I already do. I read 110 pages of my current book yesterday and today I’m completely burned out on reading. But I might do a little more “activism”, of one sort or another 🙂
        But unless I come down with one of those infirmities you speak of, I have to make it 5 more years before retiring. I don’t even want to do it, but that would be the first time I could do it financially unless forced. And even that is iffy, survival-wise. It’s scary, and sometimes I think, five years is not really that long. I should be planning better. But as Scarlett O’Hara said, I’ll think about that tomorrow 🙂

        • 110 pages in one day…wow!

          The only “book” I’ve read this year, that I can remember, is Lonely Planet’s “Coastal California” which is for our Thanksgiving trip and which I picked up at Border’s “bankruptcy” sale. I wouldn’t count that as a “book” except technically.

          The five years will go fast! And you can always work part time up to $14,000 if you take “early” Social Security. But unless you qualify for Medicare, health care cost is the big expense.

        • sc, I count Coastal California as a book! And Lonely Planet is great.
          The 110 pages was kind of a fluke. Yard Guy started a fire in my back yard, and I volunteered to watch it, otherwise he would have had to put it out before he left. I wanted it to burn as much as it could, so I sat at my picnic table and read while it burned (luckily, the picnic table didn’t catch fire). And once I start reading, well…

  2. Nancy a/k/a “notquiteold”…do you have a blog? if so, post the link.

  3. Enjoy your nothing and then your rest from nothing.

  4. Retirement is the best part of life:) As one young friend said “you don’t have to be anyone’s bitch anymore.” I particularly relish not having a schedule and not driving in inane rush hour traffic.

    If you retire early and still work you can make up to what you receive without a tax penalty but if you go over, Treasury penalizes your next months check by 50% of the amount you go over. After age 65 you can make whatever with no penalty, of course you still pay taxes at the applicable rate.

    If you’ve paid into medicare you qualify for it at age 65. The treasury is quite happy to take out another monthly premium, but it’s still far below market rates and coverage parts A & B are automatic. I have secondary hospital and prescription coverage as well. (part D). which costs more than medicare premium but saves money in the long run on prescriptions and really saves (makes affordable) on surgical procedures..

    • Retirement is definitely the ultimate freedom, except for those folks who never had to work to begin with.

      I may, or may not, do a few one day workshops once a quarter for some “poker money.”

      As for health insurance, I can go into my HMO’s Medicare plan. Assuming I stay in the U.S..

  5. Happy belated birthday! I LOVE your approach to growing older. This is good advice for me as I was just telling someone I don’t necessarily look forward to retirement. I worry I will be bored and that I won’t have a sense of purpose. Guess that means I need to work a little harder at my hobbies and passions so that I can pick up with those when I leave the workplace. Well… assuming I make it that far. Don’t want to be presumptuous! 🙂

  6. > I worry I will be bored and that I won’t have a sense of purpose.

    I know many retired folks and not one of them has said they’r bored! And nott one wants to go back to work either. You’ll be fine!

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