Happy Birthday, Kate…

…you’re turning sixty today! Like you need your little sis to remind you of this fact!

Kate is my second oldest sister, which means, yes, I have another even older sister! Because my mom died at age sixty, that number is huge in my life. In a couple of years, it will be my number.  I figure when my time comes, I’ll either be dead like mom or I can safely stop worrying about dying at sixty.  Some days I seriously worry about that; other days it’s just in the back of my hypochondriacal mind. (WordPress tells me hypochondriacal isn’t a word–well, it should be.) Mostly I try hard to remember that my mom was a non-compliant diabetic who believed exercise was turning the pages of a book, messed around with hallucinogens, smoked,  and who saw her doctor’s advice about taking her diabetes meds and watching her diet as suggestions, not directions. I am not my mother.

But here’s what’s sort of fun about watching my sisters and my spouse and my friends start their sixties. I remember my grandparents in their sixties and they were old!  Seriously old! They weren’t working full time, taking care of gardens and lawns, raising grandchildren, or bopping around town in jeans and a tank top. My grandmother wore hairnets and house-dresses and clumpy shoes. My grandfather always wore a baggy suit and I can’t remember very many times I saw him without a tie. And my grandparents never went to the gym or even exercised. Grandpa smoked until he had a stroke and was unable to smoke anymore, and although I have a vague memory of my grandfather drinking the occasional beer, I don’t think wine ever passed my grandmother’s lips. Oh Nana, what you missed!!

Sixty looks a lot different in 2011 than it did in 1968—and I can’t tell you how glad I am about that. My sisters and my husband and my friends are vital people living full lives and looking pretty darn good, without a hairnet among ’em.  So here’s to all of us Baby Boomers turning sixty in the next few years and particularly to those who already have. Sixty is the new forty…and before we know it, seventy will be the new forty! Happy Birthday, Kate. Have a glorious day!!