Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Happy 60th Birthday!!

Perigee Moon, 8-10-14 a full moon bringing good things to this Leo
A year ago this time, I was a tad stressed.  Why you might ask?  Simple really. I was turning 59 and that meant within 365 days +/- I would turn 60 years old. And honestly, I was struggling with the number.

Today, August 12th at 3:43 - pm (Mountain time) I turn 60! I don't feel 60 (except when my sciatica acts up). I don't think I look 60 (except on the days I notice my eye lashes and brows turning grey). I don't think I act 60 (except on the days I whine about becoming 60).

Thank goodness for the Internet and its myriad quizzes. I've taken three "age" quizzes in the past few days...ya' know, just for fun. Here are the results: on Playbuzz I'm 42. On My Mental Age, a mere 22. On Buzzfeed, 35. Average age - 33! And then I tried "Wii Fit" which said 46, changing the average from 33 to 36, and that's good enough for me!

As we tell ourselves, it's just a number. We are only as old as we feel. Right? Perhaps not.

Once upon a time, I was an adjunct professor teaching Developmental Psychology. Our text referred to specific age ranges. Middle Age is 40-60. Young-Old is 60-80, Old-Old is 80 and beyond. Really? Because placing the word "young" before "old" was going to help any of us feel better about aging?

The authors offered the following as the "good news" for those of us who are apparently the Young-Old:

  • Increased life expectancy, with more older people living longer and aging successfully
  • Substantial potential for physical and mental fitness, with improvement in each generation
  • Evidence of cognitive and emotional reserves in the aging mind
  • High levels of emotional and personal well-being
  • Effective strategies to master the gains and losses of later life

Dad 72, me 43, Mom 65, my brother 41
The text also suggested that the way to increase one's chances of a long life is to come from a family with a history of long-lived individuals. That tickles my funny bone, as we really have no choice in the family that we come from. My history is this. Mom lived to 79.  Dad lived to 81. That suggests 19-21 more years for me (I want more!). My paternal grandparents were 56 and 76, I'm not liking those numbers. Maternal grandparents 86 and 89. I think of myself as a hybrid of both families, I think I have my Dad's nose, however Aunt G (on Mom's side) and I look an awful (in a good way!) alike. So if heredity has anything to do with this, I'm going with Mom's side of the family even though Mom was pretty young when she passed away.

I've spent a year thinking about aging and this 60th birthday. I am pleased to say that I am okay becoming 60. I've taken the time and the opportunity to learn more about myself in this year than I ever have before. I've challenged myself to not be stuck. I'm stepping out and up in many arenas of my life. I have much to look forward to and much that I am grateful for. Perhaps the best is yet to come!

Happy, Happy 60th Birthday to me!  Cheers!

Kail, R.V., & Cavanaugh, J.C. (2004). Human Development: A life-span view (3rd ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning.

Photo Credits: Perigee Moon by gmpalm (yep...me!), Ed.D., graduation photo taken by either Lorraine or Steve (classmates) or Janet (sister-in-law).

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