I’m very ambivalent about turning seventy this month. On the one hand, I’m glad I’m still around for my 70th birthday. On the other hand, seventy is really OLD!
I managed to pretend I was still middle-aged for a long time. I ignored my first AARP notification in the mail at age 51, being able to buy a home in Leisure World at age 55, and even my social security at age 65. But turning 70 means I can’t ignore old age anymore. No more mid-life crisis for me. And, y’know, I never hear much about old-age crisis. Maybe you just forget that you’re going through one?
I’ve recently blocked a lot of phone messages about walk-in bathtubs asking, “Are you a fall risk?” ‘Martin’ is the guy on the pre-recorded message. I’ve blocked every number he calls from, but he always finds another. And yelling at him doesn’t do any good (although it does make me feel a little better).
So have I learned anything in my seven decades? Or have I just forgotten most of what I’ve learned?
I’ve certainly forgotten almost everything I learned in school. I can’t even remember the names of the classes I took in college!
I’ve definitely learned to care less about what people think. I wish I had learned that at a much younger age.
I’ve learned that I’m lucky to have been born at this time in history. I’ve been able to travel the world, Tahiti, Europe, Norway, Istanbul, Scotland. With technology I can communicate with people a world away –– like my good friend in Africa –– as if he’s sitting right next to me. And we can text each other in seconds! I’ve been able to see the Hubble photos of stars and galaxies –– and almost to the edge of the universe. Even my own photos have become much easier. No more film and the long tedious waiting time after you turned the roll of film in. No more photo pick-up line at Walgreens.
I’m very lucky to have great medical care. I would have been dead from breast cancer at age 50, and Laura would certainly have died from the mountain lion attack at age 5. Millions of years have gone by with minimal medical care, and only in this last century have we seen such life-saving advances in treating heart disease, cancer, and a host of other illnesses.
I’ve had a partner through most of my life –– 44 years. He’s respected my opinions, has grudgingly helped every time I moan and cry at the computer, and has loved my music and writing. He has always treated me as an equal.
I have wonderful children who are kind and compassionate, and they have partners who love them.
I have enough money to give back a little to important causes and people.
I lost my faith, but I gained a larger appreciation for this short time we have on earth and a desire to do as much as I can to make this world better.
When my mom turned 78, she said, “I’ve never been 78 before. It should be interesting!”
Thanks to you, mom, for your optimistic attitude toward life. I think 70 will bring lots of new and exciting adventures, and I’m looking forward to them.
P.S. Please, ‘Martin,’ don’t call me anymore. I don’t need you quite yet.
P.P.S. YES, that’s me in the photo, c. age 5!