Tuesday, July 2, 2024

Happy birthday to me

 Tom Cruise and I celebrate our birthday on July 3; I'm the taller one. This is a big one - six decades. Turning 60 kind of bugs me. Fifty didn't, but somehow 60 is really crossing the Rubicon into "damn, you're officially old." Then again, I ran into an old friend last week who is in her 80s and she said: "What I wouldn't give to be 60 again!" It's all relative, I guess.

But I am learning there are benefits other than the senior discounts.

I can forget things and be excused because "my memory ain't what it used to be." Sorry I didn't make it to your party/retirement/funeral, I forgot. Though you have to be careful not to take it too far, lest you end up in the local memory care unit.

I can also ignore things people tell me. You wanted me to take out the garbage? "Sorry, you  must not have been speaking into my good ear."

And while this is nothing new for me, at least it's an excuse for telling people exactly what I think and now wifey can say: "Sorry, he's kind of lost his filter as he's gotten older."

It also means I care more about individuals than issues. I'm not going to march in a parade with you, stand outside a business with a placard, or boycott stuff. But if you're a friend of mine and gay, black, Jewish, legal, illegal, or all of the above, I still got your back in the barfight, for what it's worth. 

I'm more cognizant of what change I can affect. I can't bring peace to the Middle East or build a wall at the border or elect the next president, so I'm not going to worry about those things. I'm most concerned about things in a 10-mile radius of my home. Street light out? I'll call the appropriate individual. Dangerous intersection? Same. Creeps hanging out at the park or somebody's dog got loose, I can keep an eye out. But I'm too old to save the world, and aware enough now not to stress out about those things out of my control. You're on your own, Gen Z, this Boomer needs a nap.

I increasingly care less about big things and small people. I'm a list guy and have a list of people who I care what they think of me. It's gotten shorter the older I've gotten. It's in single digits now. Don't like me? Not my problem. My best friend is Ibu Profen.

Good news is my other list has gotten shorter too. That's the one titled: "People I won't pick up if they're stranded along the road in a blizzard." I like to think it's gotten shorter because I care less about whatever they did to get on the list and am more forgiving now, or they really were assholes and they froze to death because nobody else would pick them up either. 

I care more now about choosing a good book, listening to good music and eating food I like. I value time with my family more, walks with the dogs, whether the bird bath is full on hot days, taking care of myself.

I don't work out or eat healthier for vain reasons. I do it so I can hopefully do the stuff mentioned in the previous paragraph for a longer period of time. So I can lift my granddaughter, stay mobile and chase wifey around the bedroom. Sure, there's no guarantee I won't get hit by a bus tomorrow or something in my DNA will zig when it should've zag, but for the things in my control I try to control them. I'm still not perfect, but should be by the time I reach 70. They say if you reach 60 the majority will reach 80.

Would've been nice to know at 20 the things I know now at 60, but such is life. You start out in diapers and end up in diapers. All the time in between is learning time, if you do it right.

So 60 it is - halfway to my goal!

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