People do seem to feel a whole lot about turning 40 or 50, but when I went on a search for content on what it’s like to turn 60, I came out of it disappointed.
Most of the posts and articles I could find are about someone else turning 60 – yay! Not the proverbial “me”, just my cool-eccentric-dotty-widowed-never-married-co-worker/aunt/sister/friend – and (you guessed it) more moms than you could ever imagine.
I recently watched half of a Sally Field movie called Hello My Name is Doris, about a 60 year old woman (who happens to wear two prescription glasses at the same time, and matches her hair bands to her pants). Let’s just say as much as I want to be a “fun” or “eccentric” 60 year old, I did not enjoy the portrayal of the main character. You have to see it yourself to decide. My kid thought it was cute– I just happen to disagree
(The kid reporting here, from my lowly editing position, is this gif not cute???? Alright, continue)
When my brother turned 60 my sister-in-law had cake and coffee for him with about 10 guests on a Sunday afternoon. I was hurt for my brother but she said he didn’t want anything done.
Took awhile for me to find the awesome 66 year old in the red dress that I posted earlier today, so I’m wondering what it is about turning 60 that makes people so withdrawn from expressing themselves? Is it the number of other people that are diagnosed with critical illnesses? The number of celebrations of life that happen to people we know? The number of victims of downsizing and early retirement? The thought of something called pickleball (yes, it’s a real sport) that seems to afflict so many people in their sixties?
(This is the best representation I could find of pickleball on google without revealing the identities of hundreds, if not thousands of middle aged folks playing pickleball… just look it up you’ll see what I mean)
Maybe it’s that the 50’s were so hard – we can only anticipate that the 60’s will be even more so. Maybe we believe that if we shut up about it the universe will be merciful and not notice and we can slide into the 70’s with a flat butt and thin arms. Despite the hordes of Q-Tip headed consumers out pretending they can’t see out their SUV windows as they cut us off in parking lots, we are still not accepting of the inevitability of joining them.
People don’t believe I’m turning 60, and no I’m not bragging about how young I look. I can tell who is 60 and who isn’t, no matter how much money they spend on their hair, or how much time they put in on the elliptical. But 60 is still old, unless you’re 90, and people don’t want to notice the asymmetrical jowls that I inherited from my grandfather, or that I am wearing kitten heels now instead of the stilettos I used to sport, or that I can’t pronounce either David Bowie or Cyndi Lauper’s names correctly (no matter how many times I am corrected), or that I keep putting “The” in front of places I’ve gone to recently (The Shoppers Drugmart, The Superstore, The Co-op, sounds more formal that way, doesn’t it?). Because no one want’s to think about getting older, or being old in general, and they wish for me that none of these things about me are true.
Decade birthdays are difficult enough without the world making us think we should avoid them. Sixty year wedding anniversaries seem to be a big deal for people while turning 60 seems like – meh. So I am issuing a challenge to you out there – if you are turning 60, let’s hear about it – good, bad, but not indifferent.
I have two more months to work on it – how much time do you have?