Fingers. We have 10 of them. So ancient people decided that our numbering system would be based on 10 – one number for each finger. I bring this up because it causes us to get all worked up about birthdays ending in a zero. Does turning 50 or 60 or 70 really mean anything? The answer is that it does for many people.
The first zero-birthday that mattered to me was when I turned 30. Having grown up at a time when we were warned not to trust anyone over 30, there was some trepidation at reaching that milestone. Turning 40 was a bit more traumatic. It’s the entrance to “middle age.” It would have been tough to take no longer being “young,” except that by this time, I had two young children, and I knew full well what young was.
I can honestly say that turning 50 was a big snore. Oh sure, it’s a half-century, and that sounds really old. And the AARP comes to claim you. But all in all, it’s no worse than turning 40. That being said, my body sure knew the difference between 40 and 50. Cancer,” the “Big C,” hit me at 52, and again at 57.
That old saying is correct – you’re as old as you feel. Billy Crystal’s Fernando character on “Saturday Night Live” used to say that it doesn’t matter how you feel, as long as you look “mahvalus.” But I think it’s just the opposite. It doesn’t matter how you look, as long as you feel “mahvalus.”
All this is apropos of my turning 60 today. I have survived a decade that was hard on my health. But I can truthfully say that I am as healthy today as I was when I was 40. So for me, the idea that turning 60 is a milestone is strange. I don’t feel any older. That is not to say that I won’t take advantage of the senior citizen discounts that will now come my way. I certainly will. (If I remember I’m 60.)
Back in the summer of 1967, the Beatles released Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. I was 14, and was playing lead guitar in a garage band called, The Medievals.
We played local dances, and actually got paid for it. My band mates and I sat and listened to Sgt. Pepper’s as soon as it came out. On Side 2 was a song called, “When I’m Sixty-Four,” that imagined a distant future, and the uncertainty of love surviving. At the time, I couldn’t imagine a time 50 years into the future when I would be 64. Now, it’s just four years away.
When I started writing for this blog, I wrote an article about the sands of an hourglass, and the days of our lives. I have had 21,915 days so far. Some of them have been dull; some exciting. Some lovely. Some terrifying. Many of them have been memorable. On my 60th birthday, I look forward to several thousand more memorable days. On to 70!