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2020-12-16: The BIG one

The BIG 7-0

December 16, 2020

“Don’t trust anyone over 30” was the cry of the ‘60’s. Then, inevitably, we turned 30 with careers and families, and we got distracted.

The decade milestones did not affect me as much as passing over the mid-decade line. Twenty-three/33/43/53/63 can be construed as early 20/30/40/50/60’s whereas 26/36/46/56/66 becomes approaching 30/40/50/60/70. The approach accelerates time..

I celebrated each decade undisturbed and ignorant of the challenges to come. Thirty found me living in Europe for a short time but was followed by the passing of my father and temporary but significant ill health. At forty I was enjoying two healthy teenagers and a toddler while finishing graduate school. Turning 50 with perimenopause and considering a PhD, I jogged regularly and celebrated by running a 5K, unaware that I would need treatment for colon cancer; the treatment proved to be a glitch in time and diverted me from the PhD. Even 60 was not traumatic as I enjoyed two stimulating professions, a close family and many friends. That decade would be marked by retirement and travel punctuated by two joint replacements. 

It was after a magnificent celebration of 65 that I realized that I was approaching 70! 70! No way is that young. You are as young as you feel, preach the pundits, as if you can will yourself to feel young. Joint problems, minor but persistent medical issues, and a calendar filled with medical appointments pronounces “old.” 

Now recovering from two joint replacements, fully retired, sharing the house with two teenagers, I feel aging. While my mind is vibrant with ideas that manifest in blogs, music arrangements, and family/friend Zoom parties, my body requests another naproxen and bed. The restrictions of the 2020 corona virus pandemic encourage sloth. Sheer will power gets me moving. 

It is reassuring that I don’t contend with chronic systemic disease, that I have stimulating interests and friends/family who are more connected than ever thanks to technology. At the same time, I note that over 20% of my high school graduating class is gone. Weekly reports of contemporaries struck down temporarily or permanently by physical disability or even death remind me that no one is immune. A review of my personal history is testament to the unexpected. 

Here is what I know: Life is a gift. The earth is a gift. Humanity has a remarkable way of trying to destroy rather than delighting in it. As I adapt to the surprises of aging, I enjoy Life. Laughing at the foibles of humans, weeping for the selfishness of the human race, and sharing my riches, material and ephemeral, with whomever I meet. I don’t know what the ‘70’s will bring. I don’t want to know. 


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