SLOAN COLUMN: Ready or not, 59 here I come
If you’re reading this on the day it was published, then tomorrow is my birthday. At least according to my momma it is. Uncle Sam says otherwise, but that story’s been shared here before so there’s no need to go down that road again.
When the clock strikes midnight tonight I will officially be 59 years old. It’s sad, but so very true. And if that’s not bad enough, this time next year I will be – and I can’t believe I’m actually writing this – 60. Good lord, it just doesn’t seem possible.
I won’t lie to you. The idea of being 60 scares the hell out of me. I’m not really sure why, but it does. I am aware that age is really just a number. You’re as young as you feel, right? At least that’s what everyone says. The truth is, I do feel a little older and am keenly aware of more wrinkles (and more unsightly hair sprouting from my ears and nose) each time I look in the mirror. I don’t move as fast and there’s a much bigger hitch in my giddy-up.
Still, I consider myself to be in decent shape physically for someone my, ugh, age. I’ve taken pretty good care of myself, so falling apart once the warranty expires isn’t really an issue. I’m pretty sure my warranty expired a long time ago anyway.
So what’s the problem, you ask? Let me try to explain.
When you turn 60, that sound in your head you are hearing is mortality knocking on the door and saying, “Hey man, what’s up? I was just in the neighborhood and figured I’d drop in.”
When you cross the six-decade threshold there’s no denying the fact that you are old. You can’t just toss all the mail from AARP in the trash thinking, “I’m not that old yet.” The sad reality is, yes, you are in fact “that old.”
Turning 60 also means its time to schedule another colonoscopy, so you can be sure to that that to the things I’m not looking forward to list.
Stop and think about it for a second. When you are in your teens you can’t wait to be 20 – well, 21 actually. Things change when you reach your twenties. You dread getting older and the battle against time truly begins. The thought of turning 30 seems nightmarish. As your 40th birthday nears you start counting more and more gray hairs and discover you are – gulp! - far more like your parents that you realized.
There’s a reason all the party favors for a 50th birthday parties are black in color. Reaching the “Big 5-0” is a pretty significant milestone so a celebration is in order, but it's an “enjoy it while you can moment” because the realization that it’s all downhill from here begins to set in.
At 60, you realize retirement is just a few years away and you are nowhere near financially ready for it. You’re just two short years away from collecting Social Security, if there’s any left. You make sure the kids know where your life insurance policy information is located, just in case.
Yes, the idea of being 365 day short of having lived 60 years petrifies me. I’m not ready for senior citizens discounts. I fully understand the alternative to growing old is not so great, but I’m not going down without a fight. I’ll grow older, but I refuse to grow up.
A person in their seventies is considered a "septugenarian". Reach your 80s and you will be referred to as an "octogenarian". So what is a person in their 60s called called? A "sexagarian".
Honest, I'm not making that up. So I guess I have that to look forward to once my 50s are behind me.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves. I plan on making this last year in my fifties as memorable as possible. I’m still trying to figure out what I plan to check off the bucket list. Last year it was skydiving. There’s no telling what adventures lie in wait for someone 59 years young like me.
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I received an email from Gale Dixon this past week. She wanted to clarify the information I shared with you in last week’s column about the Dixon Drug Company.
“My husband’s father, Dr. Lawrence R. Dixon, Jr. purchased a drug store owned by Dr. Joe Ben Reeves, started in 1938, at 139 South Dargan St., called Reeves Drug Store,” Ms. Dixon wrote. “Dr. Dixon purchased in 1947 and renamed the drug store Dixon Drug Company. He later purchased the building at 160 South Dargan St. and moved Dixon Drug Company across the street.
“Dr. and Mrs. Dixon both died in 1976. My husband, Lawrence R. Dixon, III, inherited Dixon Drug Company in 1976, and we later incorporated the store as Dixon Drug Company, Inc. He was president and treasurer, and I was vice president and secretary.
“We operated Dixon Drug Company until 2009, when we sold our prescription files and inventory to Target Pharmacy. Dixon Drug Company was in business from 1947 to 2009.”
Thanks, Gale, for setting the record straight.