March 16, 2009

That’s “Six-Oh” as in 60.

I am still a little flummoxed when I catch myself saying or writing it.

I am 60.

How the hell did THAT happen?

I mean, I can remember being young enough to be chafing at the bit, wishing to be old enough to drive a car. Now, I drive 50 miles each way to get to and from work every day. File that under Be Careful What You Wish For.

But 60? Holy Cow. Last time I looked, I was 40. Nobody told me that when I went over the hill I would start picking up speed.

Oh, sure, it’s not like it was a total surprise. There were warning signs. Like last year at this time, when I turned 59. I’m not the brightest daisy in the bunch when it comes to math, but I can tell with only a little strain that 60 comes very soon after 59.

We all know that birthdays with zeros after them make you stop and think. Or stop and panic. Or stop, run out, buy a Harley or over-powered 4X4 pickup truck, if not both, and make a fool of one-self with members of whichever gender rings your bell.

Been there, done that, except for the obnoxious vehicle part. Well, mostly. Shortly after I turned 55 I really lusted after a Boss Hoss, a variety of motorcycle powered by a 640 h.p. Corvette engine. It took awhile to shake that one. I sat on one while on a story assignment and revved it up. Oh my. The reasonable, responsible side prevailed over my emotional, testosterone-stained soul, who raged “Who the hell do I have to kill to get me one of these?”

Don’t get me wrong; any day on this side of the sod is a good one. Absodamnlutely. Still, sometimes I miss that fire in the gut, I miss staying up all night writing for the sheer joy of it, and hardly feeling crappy at all the next day. I miss throwing myself into a thing because I never considered the possibility of failure, whether it was heavy lifting or a marriage.

But time flies, and here I am. Slowly, you learn, you get smarter, or more cautious, which may be the same thing, and either tougher or number, wiser or more tired, or maybe some of all of that.

I like to remember something a famous neurologist told me in an interview, many years ago. He said humans are born with the greatest number of brain cells they will ever have, but they start dying off almost immediately. By the time a human is, let’s say, 60, his brain has lost a lot of its bits and pieces. The amazing thing is that the brain learns to do more with less as it ages, so by the time one hits that age, one’s brain is a lot more efficient than it ever was before.

I guess that’s a mixed blessing. So, we’ve got a scientific basis for thinking that older people have gained something I suppose one could call wisdom.

On the other hand, I worry how far that process goes. I’m not sure I enjoy the prospect of being down to two brain cells who are very efficient at talking to one ather, flashing on and off like the lights at a construction site.

Oh, well. It’s still better than the alternative. Let’s break out the Geritol and the Ben-Gay…I’ve got a decade to explore.

© 2009 Marsh Creek Media, Gettysburg, Pa.
“Burger to Go” is a product of me and my company, Marsh Creek Media and, as such, I am solely responsible for its content.
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3 Responses to “Six-Oh”

  1. Still going at it, eh? Good for you

  2. Curt Chapman said

    Amen! I’m a newspaper reporter about to turn 50, and can relate to everything you wrote. Getting older is a bitch! But, there are more adventures to come!

  3. Melissa said


    AND, I learned a new word. ABSODAMNLUTELY. I will be sure to give you credit when I use it.

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