As I have ranted about more than once in the past, I don’t think much of this 60 is the new 40 racket. It gets filed away in a corner of my mind marked Deluded Baby Boomer Bullshit.
I mean, come on. Do you read the obituaries as avidly as I do? Some of the aforementioned New 40s are going down like they’re really 60-year-olds. Even with all the euphemisms rampant in almost every obituary, none of them seems to mention that, “although born in 1948, Geraldine, who never met a stranger, was actually only 42 years old.”
I know, I know. We all look pretty good, we take care of ourselves, we exercise, we moisturize, we rationalize, blah, blah, blah. Unfortunately, nobody seems to have apprised my individual body parts that they are 20 years younger than they think they are. Worse, in acts of open rebellion and sheer spite, they sometimes loudly and painfully insist they may, in fact, be 90 years old.
All of which was occurring to me, in my usually jumbled frame of mind, when I turned 61 on Thanksgiving Day. I’m pretty sure I minded sharing the day with a turkey more than I minded turning another year older, but you can probably file that notion under delusion, as well. As usual, I pondered this whole aging dilemma in a very confused way, wondering why I’m far happier than I was when I was younger, but I’m still not that enthusiastic about crow’s feet and imminent death and ageist condescension from smart-alecky teenage store clerks who are going to be really sorry when all their tattoos are wrinkled, ha, ha, ha.
But anyway, I’d already warned my husband that I required a birthday cake with good icing. “What’s good icing, exactly?” he asked, which almost sent me into a total swivet. Where have I gone wrong? I wondered. We’ve been married all those years — and he’s still not clear on what’s required for good icing? It reminded me of the year he got me a German chocolate cake for my birthday at a time so long ago I wasn’t even the original 40. God. I don’t think even Germans like German chocolate cake.
After we settled that matter, I ended up changing my mind and got a key lime pie and a cheesecake, both of which were divine. That’s when it dawned on me that the only problem with turning 61 is that nobody ever writes songs about that age. All the songwriters are focused on 16 or 17, for some reason.
In fact, the only song I could think of about reaching a far higher number is When I’m 64. Funny to think of how old and unreachable that once sounded, sad to think that only two of the Beatles lived that long.
I don’t think I’m young, I don’t think I’m in my new 40s, I just think referring to my age as Sweet 61 has a certain whimsy and defiant glow to it. Carpe the rest of it, however long.
(Copyright 2010 by Ruth Pennebaker)
Read a post I really like called The View from the Backseat