So I hit 60 last November and realized that this particular number automatically sent me into a reflection of my life. The words "bucket list" involuntarily (and rudely I might add) came upon me like a episode of The Revenge of J.W. Whitlock's Nuclear Wings. I suddenly and without provocation began to check off a list of things that I have never done and now want to do before my demise.
By far, my worst birthday was 29 when, for some stupid reason, I thought all fun in life had passed me by because I hit the fatal "30," meaning that I was bound by law to act in a mature fashion and procure a solid path to financial security for my then small family.
I celebrated my 30th with a party and friends over at our tiny little house. I had my 1982 hair and obligatory mustache and a pocket full of Marlboro cigarettes because then, as you know, we were all immune to diseases such as cancer, STD's and AIDS. We acted accordingly.
Shortly into my 30s, I realized that I could act as stupid as I did some 10 years earlier and the sun would surely rise the following morning. In fact, I chose the path of immaturity and irresponsibility at certain times and if nothing else, built quite a resume of "Old War Stories" for later years. For example, one such story that we could title: "We met for Happy Hour after work and now here I am in Reno."
It is later (or when you have children) that you are forced too slow down, look at where you are, and where you want or need to be. Still, I managed to hang on to sporadic childhood behavior (complimented by adult beverages) that my compadres and myself felt we needed from time to time. Still fun, only no more Reno and bedtime came a bit earlier.
As I remember it, about six months after I turned 30 I suddenly turned 40. Whoa! Let me off the bus. It's going way too fast! 40? Are you ($#&$^) kidding me??!!
My 40th birthday was more practical. I manipulated my friend to allow me to serve as the designated driver at his bachelor party. I responsibly drove a van full of twenty-something frat boys to the finest of gentleman's clubs and other establishments that I occasionally frequented back in the day. That kept my friends from jail and me out of trouble. It was a great night of them having all the fun and me drinking coffee, wishing they would wrap it up. After all, it was almost midnight.
Midnight? Are you kidding? Didn't that use to be starting time? I remember many nights when we would figure we'd all meet up around, say, 9 or 10 pm. Where did those days go and where was that stamina we had?
Your 40s are a time of increased maturity, building on what you have and, oh yeah, divorce. Divorce means going back to square one. Well here we go again. A small apartment, no money, a TV tray, two spoons a plastic bowl and a TV that worked from time to time. Wait! Doesn't that mean it's party time again?
No, gotta be home time.
Yeah, that's exactly what it means--except for the part about staying up past 10 p.m. Yep. Single life with a curfew.
Mother nature doesn't care about your marital status. You could be Don Juan and by 9:30, you're yawning and trying to be cool all at once. Now, if you realize your limitations here, you have acquired some of that wisdom they talk about. If not, you're going against the grain and it's a battle you won't win.
Fifties. A time of mellowing. New priorities and a new sense of appreciation for the word "retirement." You realized that your parents were apparently not as dumb as you thought and you're now fighting the same fears for your kids as they did for you.
You ARE your parents and it was the natural course of things all along.
Apparently, it was suppose to be this way. Huh! Who knew?
I found a new love for my Acme multi-purpose remote that could operate my television, DVD player, CD player in one package. By now, your drug test at work was more likely to show positive for Flomax than anything else. Whereas you were sometimes hesitant to speak up in the past, you know had to know when to shut up.
Now, the 60s are here and I reflect more. I miss a lot of things that I would love to do over, like now I would make that trip to Woodstock and suffer the wrath of my father; and well that's just the beginning of a long list of things that I would do over. We all have that list. There is really no sense in going into it that deep. It serves no great purpose.
Downsize. That's where I'm at. Less is better. Simple is better. I don't yearn for a million bucks. All I need is Detective Sandy, a good pair of reading glasses, a nice evening beverage, occasional cigar, and of course my Acme multi-purpose remote.