Today’s my 59th birthday. I can see 60 on the horizon. If my most recent milestones birthdays are any guide, the trepidation that comes now will turns to mellowness when I get there. So I’m going to write about age now, while I’m still trepidating.
In my head, I am still about 24. I still have a childish disposition hidden inside. I remember what my son said when, as a teenager, he began working part time at the office where I was also working at the time. “I feel like these are all adults who know what they are doing and I am just pretending.” My response: “Actually, they’re all pretending, too. They’ve just got more experience.” At this point, I have a lot of experience pretending.
These are things that I don’t like about being this old:
I forget what happens in meetings and phone calls if I don’t take notes at the time.
I’ve alway had problems with names and faces; it hasn’t gotten any better.
I type homonyms for words I mean to use (“hear” for “here”). I usually notice them later when editing, but I am horrified. I know the difference; I frown disdainfully on people who don’t. So what am I doing making errors like that? Terrifying.
It takes longer to recover from injuries and exercise. (My wife and I have a joke about this: after I work out, I tell her I am suffering from PNS. PNS is “Post Nancy Syndrome,” because my trainer’s name is Nancy.)
I spend more time with doctors and health care. There is nothing serious wrong with me, but there are plenty of things I need to keep an eye on.
Then there are the things that I do like. There are many of them.
I found the right person to spend my life with. It is so rewarding, not just to have someone to take care of me, but to have someone I can take care of.
I know what I want. I know what I like. I spend time doing those things, like writing, giving speeches, and helping other writers.
I don’t worry about money. I made some good choices and spent carefully when I was younger. The striving then is paying off now.
My children are young adults (the youngest is 18). While I still worry about them, it is rewarding to see who they are becoming in college and beyond.
I don’t worry about offending anyone. I know what I want to say. If you get offended, that’s your problem.
I have time to give back as a volunteer and to just connect with and help people.
If you think I have mellowed, you’re not paying attention. What I have done is to create a mature, sensible, stable platform from which to continue making trouble. If you have 59 years experience and don’t want to just lay back and relax, this is a worthwhile thing to do.
I’ll keep creating. I hope you will keep listening.
(Quick note: see me tonight at 5PM eastern, 2PM pacific on Facebook live with Kathy Klotz-Guest, where I hope to be making even more trouble.)