It’s just a number, right? That’s what we often say about age, but you have admit there are some important ones you can’t wait to turn… 16 so you can drive, 18 so you can vote, 21 so you can drink — legally, because you’ve been doing it for a while anyway. Early in your life, you are in such a hurry to reach these landmarks. Then we slow down a little and start marking the time in our lives by decades… 30 when I left a great job and many great friends in the Seattle area and moved back to California for what I thought would be a better life; 40 when I got divorced and eventually remarried a few years later and actually started a new and better life; 50 when I lost my dad and moved to San Jose (where he was born and raised) and started a new and even better teaching assignment. Then last year I had the best decade birthday ever spending the summer in France and celebrating 60 on a dinner cruise in Bordeaux.
At this point, I think you’re supposed to start counting significant birthdays by five’s because, well, you never know just how long you have. You don’t want to miss an excuse to have a stellar celebration. So this year, turning 61, I had what might be considered an “uneventful” birthday. I don’t think you’ll find a birthday card with “61” on it. However, I am a little spoiled. My husband always makes my birthday an event even if it is a small, intimate one which actually I prefer. I am much better at celebrating other people than being the center of attention myself at some grand event. And I am really grateful that I got to reach this landmark because, for a minute, I thought it might not come to pass.
For me getting older has had sort of a unique quality because I was always the baby on either side of the family minus one cousin who’s just a year younger. Early on I didn’t appreciate this because I was “too young” to do this, that, or the other that everyone else seemed to be doing. Today, of course, I’m in no hurry. In my mind I am still young which is not a bad self perspective. So, while 61 is just a number, just another year, I am happy to have had the opportunity to celebrate it.