There are two schools of thought on birthdays that end in zero. You either accept reality or you deny it.
My twin brother, Ralph, and I accept it. Today is our day. We are 60.
Ralph lives in the Midwest. On Friday I sent him a box laden with all manner of symbolic items that remind him that 60 is nothing more than a number and we can still make hay while the sun shines. Each goodie has a tag with a suggestion; i.e. tack this map of the world on a wall, and wherever the dart sticks, go there; use the crayons to doodle on the drawing tablet and send your artwork to your grandkids; the Valentine’s chocolates should remind you to be good to your sweetie (Gayle); drag the fishing lure along your lakeside dock to tantalize the fish; tee the golf balls high and let ’em fly – who cares if you lose ’em; use the cheap camera to record daily life as a way to see the ‘big picture.’
Of course, I included a letter because a card wouldn’t be sufficient. My brother means a lot to me and every so often I tell him so in writing. Today is one of those days. Here is the short letter that went in the box:
February 5, 2010
Bro: I’d write this in larger type but you don’t need a magnifying glass quite yet. Neither of us are of a mind to read large print at this point. That’s for the true oldsters.
Here are, with tongue firmly in cheek, some birthday ideas that remind us that even though we are at the big 6-0, what counts is not the years, it is the mileage. You and I should be high mileage models.
We have lots of good years ahead of us. What we need to do is decide how those years should be spent. We are not and won’t be ready for the nursing home in the foreseeable future. That you’ve taken care of yourself is testament to that.
We have grandkids and travel and fun ahead. There is food to eat, sights to see, things to do and places to go. There are Nebraska games to be attended. Crossword puzzles to be solved. Movies that must be seen. Books we ought to read. Adventures still ahead. I have wondered for a while how the 6-0 would affect me, and like the other b-days that also ended in zeros, probably not a hell of a lot. The effect on you is likely minimal, too. All 6-0 is is a number. Nothing more.
So have a good one, bro’. You’ve earned it. Some of our best years are waiting for us to make the most of them. Let’s get to it.