Friday, March 16, 2018

Over the Hill

I took the time shortly after February rolled over into March to turn 60.  60!  The official age of “old people” as I thought when I was a kid.  60!  The age of gray and thinning hair, age spots, aches and pains, medical poking and prodding, and loads of other questionably fun things.  I still feel mentally as if I just got out of high school, but here I am in this old man’s body thinking in usual Slovak (i.e. morbid) fashion that my life is ¾ over if I live to the age my dad did. 

I remember Dad driving me to high school and then college on his way to work on many mornings.  He’d often talk about when he was in high school, and every time he did that I thought that it was SO long ago and wondered how he remembered things seemingly so easily.  Never did it occur to me that when I was 16, Dad was only 24 years out of high school himself, yet here I am now 42 years past when I wore my first mortarboard feeling like it was just a turn of my head behind me.

My family made my turning 60 something to celebrate and that made the whole crawling into another decade older overnight much easier.  When I was born, my mom and dad and I lived with my maternal grandparents and my mom’s brother who is only 12 years my senior.  He was and is more like a big brother to me than my uncle.  He lives a few streets over here in “the shoebox” as he calls this neighborhood, still the same one we all grew up in, and we’re still as close as anything.  For my birthday, he and his girlfriend made dinner and sent it over.  I was in tears so wonderful it was to have my birthday dinner made with much love.

We had the first of my three birthday cakes that evening at Mom’s house as per family tradition.  It was a chocolate cheesecake!  We were able to coax Mom, who usually avoids having her picture taken at all costs, to take a picture of me on this noteworthy occasion.  I’m blessed to have her smiling next to me all these years later.

My official birthday party was two days later on Saturday.  My kids had the great idea of having me pose for cake smash pictures.  The cake smash concept started with people putting their infants in front of their first birthday cakes and letting the little buggers go wild, digging into their cakes and smearing them all over their tiny faces with great glee.  The idea spread in time to having 30 year old women doing the same to their birthday cakes.  Well, why not a 60 year old man my daughters wondered.  My elder girl who manages a FastSigns franchise and is a free lance photographer got it all together while my younger daughter made the cake for me to have fun with.  I think it turned out rather well!

After that it was time to get cleaned up and head to the party my family hosted in my honor at a local restaurant.  My younger girl got me this shirt to wear to the party and I loved it.  I have much affection for the poop emoji!

I had a wonderful time with close family and friends.  We had a superb dinner and nobody was in a hurry to leave so I had plenty of time to visit with everybody at leisure and to share favorite memories with all of them. 

The old man with his sweet daughters.

 Young friends make turning old a lot easier.  Well, okay - younger by one or two years at least.

 I wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry when my sister presented me with a senior citizen box of goodies including prune treats, high fiber cereal, and other products for us old people to enjoy.

 With everybody’s generous gifts I was able to get one of the very best Plantronics Bluetooth headsets to use when I’m on the scooter.  I’m now able once again (after being without this feature for a few years when my favorite Motorola cell phones took out the auto answer option) to take calls when I’m scootering without having to take a hand off the handlebar to wriggle it under my helmet and press the answer button.  Simply by saying, “Answer,” I can take an incoming call and just as easily ignore one with a verbal command.

I love them all for making turning 60 as painless as they possibly could.  In the week that’s passed since then I’ve found myself lamenting my age just a little to myself, but all in all I can’t complain.  There’s much to live for and now that every day’s a Saturday I don’t know that I’ve ever had a better time.  Now all I need is for March to stop feeling like January and for the snow to stop falling every couple of days so I can get back on the Piaggio and ride to my heart’s content.