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Friday, 29 April 2011

Upon Reaching 60

By Mickey Rogers of This, That and the Other

I can no longer rationalize the fact that I’m old. The President of the United States, my doctor, my accountant and even my favorite football coach are all younger than I am.

Perhaps I’m not “as old as dirt” as my son likes to say, but I’m a senior citizen nevertheless. Maybe 40 is the new 30 and maybe even 50 is the new 40, but 60 is 60 any way you look at it.

I like to brag that I can still do the same manual labor today that I did when I was 20. This is not an exaggeration. For example, even at this advanced age, I can still mow the hills and valleys of our property with a small push mower.

A few years ago, an ex-baseball player, pitching in an exhibition game, claimed that he was throwing the ball as hard as he ever did; it just took the ball longer to get to the plate. Likewise, I'm pushing that mower just as hard as ever, but now I need about two extra hours to finish the job and afterward, I hurt in places on my body that I hadn’t even known existed.

There’s still a little boy living inside me but the poor lad must be shocked whenever he glances into a mirror. Like it or not, I’m looking more and more like my father - not the extremely handsome young man but the old, wrinkled grandfatherly version.

By age 60, our priorities have changed. After all these years I can still remember the batting order of the 1962 New York Yankees. The fact that I cannot list the 2011 Yankees’ lineup is not so much senility as a change in focus. As a kid, sports were among the most important events in my life. Today they rank somewhere around number 200, just behind a good nap.

As people age they begin to appreciate the “little” things in life such as a beautiful sunset, fragrant flowers or a songbird‘s melody. The younger folks have little time for such subtle delights; they’re too busy getting educated, climbing the corporate ladder, finding a mate and rearing a family.

One advantage to getting old is that most of us learn to appreciate and accept ourselves, warts and all. Maybe I no longer look like Burt Reynolds but these days, neither does he.

A couple weeks ago, an elderly lady said I was a ringer for Cary Grant. After a few seconds of contemplation she added, “Of course, he’s been dead for several years.“ I think she was implying that I look like Cary Grant‘s corpse! Talk about faint praise!

Oh well. At this point in life, for better or for worse, a smart move is to follow the teachings of that great philosopher, Popeye the sailor: “I am what I am.”

This is the time in life when a hot bowl of soup trumps a hot date and when the idea of a fun night is an extra hour of sleep. Surprisingly, The Lawrence Welk Show is now a viable alternative to rock and roll. Indeed, at this age many of us have expanded our musical appreciation beyond the songs of our youth.

It’s sad, in a way, to see rockers in their 60s and 70s still performing songs that address the problems and concerns of teenyboppers. Today, if they wish to relate to their own generation, the Rolling Stones, when singing they are getting “no satisfaction,” should be referring to their lack of success with a denture cream or a prescription for constipation.

Other things have changed, too. The other day my wife, who was upstairs, called out to me, “Dear, if you run upstairs we can make whoopee.”

“Sweetheart,” I replied, “at my age I can either run up the steps or make whoopee but not both. Which do you prefer?”

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


So funny and so true! In fact, I'd laugh harder if I weren't crying. Thanks for the morning chuckle.

Lucky for you, Mickey,at 60 you've learned more to forget than you learned by 40, making more laugh wrinkles on the way.

Listen Kid, I am 70 1/2 and still feeling wonderful, actually took a little part time 20 hour job last month...60 wasn't bad at all, except you become invisible I think to the world..but maybe that's just women who feel that...You're a great writer, were you always? Sense of humor seems intact too...these columns are a great way to feel like we are all still in the game somehow..The President is the same age as my daughter, 47..there's something about politicians being your children's ages or younger that makes you less angry at what jackasses they can sometimes be..not so much with the ones who are old enough to have more sense...Keep writing..don't get rid of that mower either..where I come from they are considered "antiques" which is how we should all start thinking of ourselves...very valuable though used...thanks for lovely read...

I don't know that at 81 my priorities have changed, but my body surely has. But I still go by the same motto: SMILE since we can't do much about anything else. Love your descriptive writing style.

It looks to me like you have accepted the inevitable changes in your life but you haven't lost your sense of humor or love of life.

Mickey, what a great post. I laughed my way through it and then later it stayed with me.

Mickey - Funny story!

You're a far better sport than I am. I don't recall 60, but when I turned 70, I howled in horror, took up yoga and golf, and in order to delay dementia began learning to speak Italian. - Sandy

Thanks for warning me what's coming in just a couple years. Like you, I hope to retain a sense of humor and my dignity as I age.

You are a very funny storyteller,Mickey.

You remind me of the story of the two bulls( One old and one young) who were standing at the top of the hill looking down at a herd of cows.

The young bull said,"Let's run down this hill and get one of those cows"

The older wiser bull said,"Let's walk down and get them all."

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