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(TARA HARDY FOR THE GLOBE AND MAIL)
(TARA HARDY FOR THE GLOBE AND MAIL)

I’ll soon be 60 and I fear that sexegenarian isn’t as good as it sounds Add to ...

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Sexagenarian sounds better than it actually is, I’m afraid.

As I write this the clock is ticking. Next year I turn 60. It seems like just yesterday my dad was calling me “punk,” and now Dirty Harry comes to mind. “Do I feel lucky? Well do you, punk?”

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Lucky is far from what I am feeling. I think I’ll go with denial. This fact is much too uncomfortable to accept, therefore I object vehemently despite all evidence to the contrary. Seriously, how the hell did I get here?

The Sixties have always been synonymous with swinging, but I have to be honest with you: I am not prepared to get into this recreational activity, regardless of my age. I was six when the sexual revolution took place, and while I am certainly grateful for the contraceptive pill, that’s where my allegiance ends. I’ll stick to tennis, where, much like the sexual revolution, love means absolutely nothing. When it comes to turning 60, out of sight out of mind will be my motto. Forgive me South Pacific, but, “I’m gonna wash that thought right out of my head.” But it’s easier said than done.

I tried to think of all I have accomplished in my 60 years: My kids still continue to speak to me; I’m not dead yet. I’m like the optimist who accidentally falls from the top of the CN Tower and halfway down remarks, “So far, so good.”

Turning 60 makes you think about all the things that have passed you by. (Like never quite grasping that you shouldn’t end a sentence with a preposition.)

It makes you think about dreams that will never materialize and ambitions that are running out of time. Forgive me, On the Waterfront, but I too could’ve been a contender! At what remains unclear.

Much like Frank Sinatra, I’ve got old blue eyes and few regrets. Like that one time I woke up wearing what I ate. Those were the good old days? Now I just have old days.

Getting old just sucks. Even if you are lucky enough to dodge Alzheimer’s you still can’t remember why you just walked to the cupboard, opened it and proceeded to stare aimlessly into space wondering just why you were there in the first place.

The older I get the more I’m reminded that I have little in common with the younger generation – except maybe unemployment. I’m too young to retire but too old to get hired.

I wish I shared more with the young. I can text – slowly – but uploading photos is not my forte (probably a good thing, saving me from what in my day we called “drinking and dialing.”) On the upside, I was extremely happy to learn that “lol” was not an acronym for “little old lady.”

I find I reminisce more these days. I long for the time when you had to get up from your chair and turn the dial to change the only three stations available on your TV. Now I have three remotes. Hit the wrong button and you’ve got more snow than an Aspen ski slope. Turning 30 depressed me. Turning 40 depressed me even more. Turning 50 seemed surreal. But turning 60 not only makes me dizzy (all this turning) but gnaws at me like a bone chisel during hip-replacement surgery, which, by the way, may not be far off. (There’s that sentence-ending preposition again.)

The physical changes of aging are in full force at 60. I have more of everything: wrinkles, dry skin, grey hair, weight.

Studies show the No. 1 cause of accidents resulting in injury or even death in the home is a slip or fall in the shower or bath.

As scary as this fact may be, I imagine very few of us have stopped washing. In fact, the problem may be that we’re adding too much bath oil to the water in an effort to prevent our skin drying out. I should install a containment boom to control the slick left behind in my tub. It’s not a matter of if I fall, but when. One thing is certain: There will be blood.

I eat oats to lower my cholesterol, almonds to ward off cancer, fish oil to reduce inflammation, vitamins to ward off osteoporosis, and ginkgo biloba to remember all these things. I wash it all down with wine to forget why.

Turning 60 doesn’t necessarily mean I’m all grown up. (What’s with these sentence-ending prepositions?) While others my age are posting pictures of their grandkids or vacations, I prefer to share shirtless photos of that modern-day Adonis Rafael Nadal. Well, someone has to do it and you’re welcome.

The odds of getting sick or dying after 60 can spike quicker than a fever during a flu epidemic. I’m with Woody Allen on this one. “It’s not that I’m afraid to die. I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”

Of course, I don’t publicly display how I feel about turning 60: I have an image to uphold. It’s taken me this long to become the sarcastic, cynical, facetious, albeit fun-loving person I am. So I will continue to keep up the façade that I neither mind nor am bothered by the fact I’m about to turn 60 (she said, clearly minding and bothered). With only a few months to go, even in my current state of denial, just where to go to mark the occasion remains a mystery. But one thing’s for certain: There will be wine, and lots of it.

I’m leaning toward either the Russian River Valley or the Sonoma Valley; and by leaning I mean both literally and figuratively – once I get there, of course. For now I’ll steer clear of Death Valley.

Cathy Boyd lives in Toronto.

 

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