Friday, April 1, 2011

The Big Six O - Oh No!

Twenty years ago I was given this mug as a birthday gift. It was a joke, in a funny-ha-ha kind of way - but, I wasn't old then - tomorrow I'll be old.

Tomorrow I turn Sixty.

This pending milestone has been bugging me for months now. I'm not a habitual whinger and I have much to be thankful for but, the inescapable truth is that getting old sucks - my body is slowly shutting down.

All my pointless complaints are trumped though, by an anonymous quote I came upon this week:

'Do not regret growing older - it is a privilege denied to many.'

So, looking to the next twenty years, (I dare not even contemplate that Twilight Zone beyond Eighty), I have many thoughts, many fears.

Personally, my greatest fear is of losing my mind to a disease like Alzheimer's or Parkinson's because, without my identity I am nothing.

I feel afraid for the future of the Human Race - we are unable to rise above our barbaric nature. The Earth is groaning under the sheer weight of our numbers, we are reaching a critical mass.

Conventional wisdom says that I should try to 'grow old gracefully' - I don't know what that means but it sounds kind of lame. What is the alternative? To go down kicking and screaming? - Hopefully I can find a balance between the two.

'The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are' - Anon.

In my youth, when I had the energy and should have been an activist, I was too self-absorbed to care about wider society; to rage against injustice or change the world.

Today, I have no need to 'find myself', I never was 'lost' - my vision is broader and what I see is making me an Angry Old Man - I'm angry at the way our world is driven by human greed in all it's forms and Man's Inhumanity Toward Man.

Heaven forbid though, that I should become a Grumpy Old Man - I think that a sense of humor and of the absurd is probably critical in maintaining a healthy balance.

And the seasons they go 'round and 'round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We're captive on the carousel of time
We can't return, we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and 'round and 'round
In the circle game
And go 'round and 'round and 'round in the circle game.

We can't return and I don't wish to.

Going forward, I have people who care about me and I enjoy good health - I need nothing else on my journey.

I'm alive - Now - sharing this moment in time with You, my Friends. I breath and I am acutely aware of the wonder of Creation, of Existence ...

I am Blessed.



  1. Happy Birthday! That's one hell of a milestone to reach and still be a blessing to others; which you are;)

  2. The fact that you are building a house in your approaching dotage..heck you are not old..anyhow Happy soon to be 60, and may you keep us smiling as you regale us with your amusing and always eduacational anecdotes as you gradually slide into what I would consider the welcome curmudgeon-dom. ..I always thought that when you're "OLD" you have earned the privelage to whinge.

  3. Please don't take the burden of this world on your shoulder. It is not your/our job. Our responsibility is to be the noblest that we can be, to care for each other and the world that is entrusted to us and remind each other of what is the right thing to do. We are answerable to our actions, but not to the outcome. Our Creator would be the judge for that.

    Happy birthday my friend. 60 is not old. Steven Tyler just turned 63 and I don't see him as old;)

    I am getting the Whiter Shade of Pale video onto my post. Take it as my birthday gift. It has better lyrics;)

  4. Thank You Dave - I think that tomorrow I shall drink a glass of wine to soften the blow - will you join me in a toast?

  5. Happy Birthday! I dont think 60 is old - maybe because its not that far away for me either.

  6. Thank You Monica - I like the word 'dotage' ... :) ... makes me think of something Victorian ... yeah well, I dunno about earning the right to whinge - for some reason I always feel embarrassed when I complain ...

    Curmudgeon eh? ... hehe I like that too ...

  7. Thank You Fazlisa, I shall reflect on your words of wisdom ...

    ... yeah, I was going to write something about how horrified I am to be almost as old as Mick Jagger but decided against it ...

    ... I'll get by with a little help from my friends ...

  8. Happy birthday Graham! Old? No 60 isn't old. My dear hubby has just turned this great age and life is beginning for us both now (I have two years to catch up- lol!) You are doing more than you bit for the world, and if each of us does just that, the world will keep turning . Have a great day. I will say a prayer for you in the morning. Blessings from Jo

  9. Thank you Slowvelder - yes, I'm probably making a meal of this '60' thing - it's a psychological barrier I think, tomorrow I'll wonder what I was fussing about ...

  10. Thank You Jo - I wonder how I'll feel at 80 but as I said, I don't even want my thoughts to go there - perhaps I'll be a Wise Man then ...

  11. Happy birthday!! Aging is such a funny thing. I swore I'd never complain about getting old, and yet with 50 in my much too near future I find myself wishing the clock would slow down a bit. I try not to forget though that life really is a gift, no matter how mushy and cliche that sounds.

    60 is a big deal, have a fantastic day. Drink too much, eat too much and dance until the sunrises over that beautiful country of yours!

  12. Hehe - Thank You Laurie - I'm just sitting here today, savoring the fact that I can still say that I'm in my Fifties ... :)

  13. Congratulations! If (you can't get no)satisfaction, go walking the dog instead, you can make it if you try - little by little...

    Sorry - corny effort, but heartily agree with Oceangirl's words - you simply can't take the world's problems on your shoulders. If you had lived 200 years ago you would have been angry at what the European world was trying to impose on the rest - or a million other injustices. You've tried to keep your little world as it should be, and that's more than most people do.

    I'm convinced you have one heck of a life story to tell - will you ever record it some day?

    Don't set fire to the house when you blow the candles out.


  14. Haha - Thank You Caroline, your comments have cheered me up considerably ...

    ... mmm, I don't know if I'm brave enough to write an honest biography ...

    ... and as for candles, I don't light them unless I have to because I accidentally set myself alight one night ... but that's another story ...

  15. Graham, whatever the season the sun goes over our yardarm at 1800 hrs, be it GMT or BST. So, shall we say 1900hrs Saturday for me?

  16. Sounds good to me Dave - that's 21:00 here ... Cheers! ... and a toast to Life and Good Friends ...

  17. Will take a photo and send it on... anyone else up for this?

  18. Happy Birthday, 60 is the new 40!I have heard and appreciate the saying growing old is a privilage denied to many.
    Enjoy your day!

  19. Well a big Happy Birthday to you my friend. I totally understand how you feel about growing older because I am younger than you but still feel the same way...even that fear bit ;-( It's okay to have feelings as long as we continue to do our best in our circumstances. You brighten my world, and I know that of your other regular commenters (and probably the lurkers too, lol). Grumpy people sure don't do that for me. I think that is just one gift you bring to mankind and not just your own local world there in Nam. I will raise a glass of something with you in celebration of your big 60 and wish you a relatively pain free 20 more till you have a bang up bash to celebrate.

  20. Thank you Peggy, with all your greetings and those of the people around me I'm sure it will be a good one ...

    ... that quote really grabs me because I've always been horrified by the way that young men are sent to die in old mens' wars ...

  21. Hehe thank you Penny - it just struck me that 'The Big 60' sounds something like the Big Five of Big Game hunting and spotting ... maybe it has something to do with old fossils ... :)

    ... yeah, I don't usually touch alcohol but I'll make an exception tomorrow night ... cheers to you to!

  22. Happy Birthday! When I was 60, I had just survived a bout with breast cancer, which put a different spin on things to say the least. I felt gratitude and from then on I have continued to feel grateful for each and every day. Not that I live them all to their greatest potential, far from it. I will be 71 in June. I don't feel that old, whatever that means. I have learned to live more in the moment as I age though and that's good, I think. I hope you will have a wonderful birthday, Inger

    PS I follow a very cool blog by a woman who is 81. It's in my sidebar, check it out some day: Wanna Buy A Duck, is the name of it.

  23. Thank You Inger - I can only imagine how a brush with cancer changes one's perspective ...

    ... I also try to live in the moment and, strangely enough, waking up this morning as a Sixty-Something I don't feel any different at all :)

  24. You will never be a grumpy old man!!! Happy Birthday Graham, 60 is nothing I will have the same number in front as you this year but the 0 becomes an 8. Oooops only another two years to the next big one LOL. Have a great day. Diane

  25. After all that I forgot to say Cheers!!! Guess for you it will have to nbe non alcoholic :-( Diane

  26. Hehe thanks Diane ... I will be opening a bottle of wine tonight - won't be able to drink it all on my own though ... :) ... cheers!

  27. Happy Birthday Graham!

    I will drink to You this evening.

    (Age can change,but to drink is ALWAYS the best way to celebrate)

  28. Happy Birthday Old Graham. I like that quote you mentioned about how growing old is a privilege denied to many. That is a good reminder on why we should cherish every wonderful day of life. Looking for a silver lining in Alzheimer's, I remember reading a bloggers father as saying that at least now he can hide his own Easter eggs.

    Anyway, the best way to grow old is with a smile and to be a blessing for others. Thanks for blessing us with your blog.

  29. Thanks Andrea - I've just received a great photo from my friend Dave Hambidge showing him drinking a toast with a Happy Birthday To Me Poster ...

    ... I'm going to open a bottle of wine right now and drink a toast to all you special folks around the world.

  30. Hehe ... Thank You Calvin - a friend told me one of the advantages to growing old is that you can get away with things that wouldn't be acceptable in ordinary circumstances ... for example you can fart in public and people will just roll their eyes and smile knowingly ...

    Jokes aside, you are correct, the only way to handle this is with a smile ... :)

  31. Thanks for the pic Dave - I'm sipping a glass right now - Cheers to you and Hazel ... and to anyone else who may pass this way.

    THANK YOU ALL - I appreciate your kind comments and support.

  32. Happy Birthday friend.
    Don't know if it helps any but you are NOT as old as dirt.
    Very reflective type post and very good. I realized once some years ago that you can't drive forward using your rear view mirror. It's good to glance in it once and while but you should keep staring in it. Here is an article from last month you might enjoy (hopefully the link will work),0,6175213.column

  33. Thanks Lisleman - and thanks for the thought-provoking article, it has forced a change in my perspective ...

    ... this line is so true: "Premature fear of aging is different from aging prematurely."

  34. I am sure you are! No doubt! Keep walking! Good luck!

  35. ...and I wish you a wonderful birthday! You deserve pretty good things of life, and I am sure you are getting them!

  36. Thanks Oswaldo - I have no reasons to complain - all we can do is carry on ...

  37. Happy belated birthday to you!!
    The chinese believe that old men are recognised by their beards, since you have none, you're still ok!
    What an inspiring post though, it truly conveys ... a hope for us all i think.
    peace and love to you and yours!!

  38. Thanks David - I can't stand fuzz on my face ... I'll be sure to keep it well shaved and stay young ...