Monday, January 10, 2011

Turning 60

I'll turn sixty this week on my birthday and I've spent time reflecting about the concept of age. Age is something I don't normally think about. Well that's not exactly true – I do think about my age when I stand up on cold mornings and my knees click like castanets. I also seem to spend a lot of time looking for a bathroom these days .... but perhaps I've said too much about that. I can honestly say I'm not bothered by my age, but I am mindful of time.
Everybody told me that forty would be my hardest birthday because I'd finally realize I'm not a kid anymore. Maybe that's true, but I didn't miss being a kid that much. When I was younger, I stayed broker than the ten commandments and spent a lot of time trying to make a living instead of making a life.

By the time I reached fifty, I got a little smarter and started doing more things I enjoyed. Jilda and I traveled all over the country and to Ireland, playing music, taking pictures and writing.
I became more mindful of my time when I finally realized that I wouldn't live forever. That's a humbling realization.
I read a book called Your Money or Your Life and as you probably guessed from the title, is about the relationship between life and money.
It's a fascinating book that looks closely at how much time one can expect to live, based on statistics. It breaks the number down into hours.
For example, someone here in America who is sixty can expect to live to be about seventy eight years old. The eighteen years between sixty and seventy eight comes to 158,000 hours give or take a few. That is if you don't smoke, don't drink too much, abuse drugs, or find your self driving on a narrow country road with someone doing some of the things listed above.
When I was younger, I thought I'd live forever and have an infinite number of hours to waste as I saw fit. As a result, I found myself wishing my life away – I wish it were Friday, or I wish I were out of school, or I'll be glad when I retire.
But once I read Your Money or Your Life and I realized just how many hours (hopefully) remained, it was a sobering experience.
The book not only slaps you in the face with how little time you have left, but also makes you question how you're spending your money.
To put it in perspective, if I'm bringing home twenty dollars an hour working, do I want to spend 1500 of my remaining hours of life to pay for a new Mustang GT? Or do I buy a used Camara and spend the hours I saved fly fishing in Vermont, or having fun with family and friends? I won't depress you by saying how much of my life-force we spent on our house. Let's just say, it was a huge investment.
Life is like a gently flowing river and what's moved past you is gone forever. All you have here on earth is right now – this moment. The Good Book backs me up on this point.
The gift I'm giving myself on my sixtieth birthday is a promise that I won't fret about being sixty, but I will be more mindful of how I spend the hours I have left in my life.


  1. Wishing you an early HAPPY BIRTHDAY. This is an inspiring post that should work as a reminder for the rest of us. Age doesn't matter, life does. Have a great birthday.

    Thoughts in Progress

  2. Thanks Mason. Time has wings. There is no time to waste on things that don't matter.
    Good luck in your journey.

  3. Happy Birthday!

    I face the same number this spring. It won't matter though, as it will be spring at the time.

    Thanks for the reminder.

  4. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Wow!! 60!!! I'm so glad you and Jilda just followed your dreams and travelled and sang and wrote!! That's lovely!

    I loved turning 40 and will never ever wish I were younger because I was sillier than I am now! LOL!!

    That sounds like a great book - it's inspired you so that's fab!! I got lost with the concept of hours and numbers but then maths has never been my strongest point! LOL!

    Take care

  5. My birthday is this week as well, I am less than a handful younger than you. 40 and 50 didn't bother me--30 did. I think it was because when we were growing up '30' was considered over the hill. Embrace your creaks and groans....and have a great birthday.

  6. May the coming year/decade be filled with moments that make your heart sing. Happy Birthday, friend!!
    PS The closer I get to 60 the younger it seems! Just sayin'...

  7. Rick...I won't turn this comment into a post in itself. Now there's 10 years between us and I worked so hard and so many hours to get ahead. And once I lost my husband, the house, the new car, the jewelry made me realize that all those hours could have been spent with hubby and son. The material things do not matter to me any more. I plan to enjoy life with Bruce and we do. Great post my friend and I wish you a happy early birthday.

  8. I am trying hard to truly believe that age is relative, and that the best time to try new things is now-no regrets for water already under the bridge.

    Have a great birthday!

    I love your blog too, by the way!

  9. Thanks all, I appreciate your kind words. You all seem like a remarkable group of folks.
    Maybe we should find a central location and have a blog reunion sometime in the future :)

  10. My uncle gave me this sage advice about being older:
    Never run when you can walk. Never walk when you can stand. Never stand when you can sit. And never, ever pass by a toilet.
    Now that I'm approaching 80, I try to follow his advice. He did live to be 97.

  11. Happy Birthday! I’ve already hit the 60 mark and didn’t think it was a big deal. After reading your eye-opening post, I see that the big deal is not only how important each day is at this point in life, but also every hour that makes up the day.

  12. Happy Birthday Rick! I turned 45 on my last birthday and that one really hit me. I am officially middle-aged. Can't put it off any longer darn it. And just like my mom used to tell me, life seems to go so fast these days. I spend every day longing for Friday.

    Hope you have a Happy Birthday and that you get your trip!


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