In just a few short days I’ll be turning sixty years old. I’ve never liked making a big fuss about my birthdays, and this year is no exception. We’ve already had the usual family dinner at my favorite restaurant, and my husband and I hope to take a long weekend trip sometime this summer. That’s our standard procedure for celebrating birthdays now that we have reached the age when we no longer want or need gifts, and it suits both of us just fine. Still, there’s something about turning sixty that feels kind of like a big deal, in both a good and bad way.
On the one hand, turning sixty means that I’m really pushing the limit when I insist on calling myself middle-aged. Unless I manage to live to be 120, I am definitely past the mid-point of my life. But if I admit I’m not middle aged any more, then that means I have to figure out how to change the name of my blog. Plus think of an name that doesn’t include the phrase “senior citizen.” Eventually, of course, I’ll have to change the name since it would be weird for someone who is 89 to be writing a blog named Muddling Through My Middle Age, but that’s a problem for another day.
On the other hand, even though sixty does sound really old to me, there’s something kind of liberating about my upcoming birthday. Honestly, I’ve looked at least sixty years old for the past several years. I inherited my father’s prematurely sagging neckline and also his fair skin that shows each and every wrinkle and broken capillary in clear detail. And I think I was about forty-two when my hair turned seriously gray and I understood just exactly why mother dyed her own hair for most of her adult life. So in a way, it’s kind of nice to finally actually be the age I look.
Beyond that, entering this new decade does feel just a little bit exciting and new. My husband’s retirement is just a few years away, which means we’ll be free to do some of the traveling we’ve longed to do. And the empty-nest my kids created when they moved out of the house is beginning to fill up again with supplies for my new grandson. My son’s old bedroom has been turned into a “baby room,” complete with a crib, rocker, toys and baby books, to be used by my grandson and any other grandchildren I’m lucky enough to acquire. (Note to my kids: yes, that was a subtle hint.)
Turning sixty sort of symbolizes a new phase in my life, and I’m looking forward to seeing just what it will bring. I may no longer be young, but I am a grandmother, and that seems like a fair trade. I’ve lived long enough to begin to understand who I really am and better yet, to feel brave enough to let others see the “real” me as well. I’m still relatively healthy, and still able to pursue some of my unfulfilled dreams.
And who knows? Maybe this will be the decade when I not only look my age, but I begin to act my age as well. But I wouldn’t bet on it…..