Today is my 60th birthday and whoever was responsible for organizing the parade downtown did a really crappy job. I showed up early this morning and climbed into the back of the Mustang convertible and waited for the fire trucks and marching bands to assemble. Eventually, the owner of the Mustang showed up and threatened to call the cops if I didn’t get out of his car. Worst parade ever.
It seems that reaching the end of my sixth decade on earth is a major milestone for me but not so much for anyone else. My dad and my grandpa both died before the age of 60, so this is ground breaking territory for me, and I kind of thought there might be a parade, maybe a surprise party or a presidential citation … not so much.
To be honest I never really thought I would live be this old. I spent most of my 20s and half of my 30s defying death working the deck of aircraft carriers at night. I won’t provide details but suffice it to say my romantic behavior could have and maybe should have been a motive for murder … my murder and somehow I’m still alive. These days I frequently visit third world countries known for their desert like climates and less than friendly attitudes toward blue eyed American patriots such as myself, yet here I am trying to figure out how to deal with my 60th birthday.
Now that I’m officially in my 60s, there are truths that must be faced, realities that I’ve never considered before that I must now come to terms with. I have to be honest with myself, which has never been my strong suit, and take a hard look at what this birthday actually means.
I’ve got to accept that every day for the rest of my life, I’ll be closer to being 120 years old than I am to the day I was born. That may take I while to sink in.
At this point there is very little chance that People magazine will ever select me as the sexiest man on earth. At least I won’t have to face that annual disappointment when they pick some chisel jawed sissy-boy actor. Maybe that won’t be so bad.
I can now publicly acknowledge that I haven’t been able to look at girly magazines for years. Heck, I can’t so much as check out a Victoria’s Secret catalog without wishing someone would tell those kids to get dressed. Once you have daughters older than the models, they all just look like somebody’s daughter acting inappropriately. The realities of aging can be harsh sometimes.
The truth is that at this point in life when a cute young waitress winks at me and calls me “Sweetheart,” she’s not flirting with me … she thinks I look like her dad. I’m going to stick with reminding her of her dad because I’m just not ready to deal with looking like her grandpa yet … not yet.
I know now that I’ve run my fastest mile, worn my last pair of pants with a 32-inch waist and seen the last of my blonde hair. I’ll probably never climb an active volcano in Antarctica, fly super sonic in a fighter jet or date a gorgeous young aspiring model like I did in my youth. I’d probably need a month to prepare and a couple of months to recover if I tried!
On the other hand I’ve got no interest in running fast anymore, I’ve learned that few good things happen in a hurry. I can still wear the same jeans I wore ten years ago (which is a good thing because I’m so cheap I’m actually wearing the same jeans I wore ten years ago) and still have a full head of distinguished old guy hair. Some things about aging aren’t so harsh.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m taking off tomorrow for some more mischief overseas and I’ve been eying a new mountain bike that I’ll probably buy when I get back; after all, I’m old but I’m not dead.
The biggest truth I’ve faced about turning 60 is that I finally have the time and money to have some real fun! I may need a couple of days and a bottle of Motrin to recover, but I’m still getting in trouble on a regular basis. Another truth I’ve learned is that I may never learn to settle down and fade away quietly … I might someday, ask me again when I’m 70!
Rick Seley is an award-winning humor columnist. He may be reached at email@example.com.