Tuesday, August 17, 2010
The Big Seven-Oh
Ten years ago today, turning age 60 was an exercise in psychological trauma. My most recent book had won good reviews but was a dismal failure in the stores. My newspaper was already sliding into the toilet; going to work was no longer a joy but a chore. My knees and back had started to hurt, a legacy of osteoarthritis genes on both sides of the family.
I was so buffaloed that at dinner with good friends that night I refused to talk about what should have been a happy event and snapped at them whenever they brought up the subject.
Turning 70 is entirely different. I'm grateful just to be alive.
That's what a heart attack and a triple bypass at age 69 will do for one's perspective. Old aches and pains, both psychological and physical, suddenly seem small potatoes when the mirror of cardiac mortality is thrust into your face. It's nature's way of saying "Quit your bitching and enjoy the time you have left."
Over that decade between 60 and 70 things turned out to be pretty good. Two thriving sons, two marvelous daughters-in-law, four loving grandchildren. A quintet of successful surgeries. Three well-received mystery novels. A honorable retirement from a long career. Whole summers with the matchless Lady Friend at a place I love on the shore of Lake Superior.
And I'm still writing. Not as much as before, but maybe the prose is improving.
On to 80, and if I don't make it, so what?