Saturday, October 15, 2011

How To Celebrate Your 60th

Some people get face lifts.  Some throw themselves a big party.  Some take their trip of a lifetime.  Some people review their life and friends and ponder the future.  I've just done everything but the face lift.

I'm talking about "turning"; aging, having another birthday; getting old past the middle age mark.  Yes, I mean the big Six OH.  

Five of my friends and I celebrated our 60th birthdays in New Orleans this past week.  We went without our spouses or significant others because that's how we grew up, single and together, some of us since elementary school, all of us since junior high.

In many ways, it was as though no time had passed.  We share so much history, the bulk of it in our youth.  But we've stayed friends from a distance.

Our lives continue to intersect because we take the time to stay in touch.  It's not always perfect.  There has been anger and hurt feelings and sniping along the way, not unlike this trip.  However, what would life be without challenges?

We are beset by issues of varying degrees, some of us drink waaay too much, some have real physical  debilitation, some of us need to dial down the cranky meter more effectively but all of us are comparatively healthy.  Four days in New Orleans carousing, eating and walking will let you know real fast what kind of shape you are in.

I wish I could tell you we had an easy time together, that everyone got along.  Some of us really did our best to go with the flow.  But, by sixty, you are set in your ways and those of us less willing to bend made it tough on the rest.

I can say there was one very surprising revelation, a deep dark secret revealed.  There were minor admittances of indiscretions and stupid behavior as well.  But I viewed it as reaching out for acceptance, approval, forgiveness none of which were offered by one hundred per cent of the group.  Some of us have become more understanding with the years, some less so.

We are a mixed bag facing the rest of our lives.  I look forward to my future but I can't pretend not to mourn my past.  We were young, energetic and extremely bonded.  

And I miss that.



Linda Myers said...

What a candid post! I can imagine the interactions of the group.

Two weeks ago my husband and I drove to Lethbridge, Alberta to spend three days with a couple of my college roommates and their husbands. We've known each other for over 40 years. Some of our time was relaxing and comfortable, some quite annoying. We are, indeed, set in our ways. And I have realized I'm too old to sleep well on a blow-up mattress on the floor.

DJan said...

You're the one on the top of the stairs, right? I had to look closely, since the bottom person looks a lot like you, at least in the picture. I think you all look great, and there's nothing quite as wonderful as a bunch of women friend, warts and all... :-)

Grandmother said...

This is what 60 looks like these days- pretty good! Glad your trip to kick off this decade was fun. Maybe some letting go, then some moving on. Most of all- enjoy!

Mary Ellen said...

What a wonderful way of making this transition!

MMm.. said...

60? i never woudl have guessed, CG! :)

that's a really nice pic actaully adn a poignant, true post too.

With that then, I did want to tell you that I am closing Hot Toast and Jam so thought you might enjoy its last post.

I will still be visiting just not as much (as if I have been that frequent anyway) as one might expect when hosting a personal blog, verses an art one.

Let me just say then, thank you for your comments along the way. Here's wishing you the best until we chat again.

Deborah said...

Wasn't it Gloria Steinem who said, in response to a birthday remark that 'she didn't look 60', 'But this is what 60 looks like'?

I liked your honesty here - which is always what I've liked about you. At first read I was thinking 'I wish I had those kind of group friendships' but as I went on, I appreciated that you didn't sugarcoat anything.

Happy Birthday, CG!

lisleman said...

My 80 year-old MIL is visiting and we were looking at some pictures taken yesterday. She hates all her pictures. I asked and she told me she see this old woman. I don't know maybe she has an in-denial problem. From the little bit I've read here, I think you are very accepting of growing old. all the best and thanks for sharing.

injaynesworld said...

Hey -- that's a great-looking group. Friends are just a little microcosm of the world, aren't they. It's wonderful that you've been able to remain in each other's lives so long. Happy Birthday, my friend.

60 is the new 40!

California Girl said...

Linda: hahaha! We're ALL too old to sleep in a blow up mattress on the floor!

DJan: yes, that's me. The one on the bottom is only 5' tall. I'm 7" taller even if you can't tell.

GM: Yes, I almost called this "The Face of 60" but as I didn't include close ups (I'm thoughtful that way) I decided against.

ME: It was. Took 9 mos of planning & 4 days to blow off steam.

Mmm: Visited "Hot Toast & Jam" last night to leave a comment. Sorry to see it end but you've outgrown it. I'm losing many blog friends that way. sniff

Deborah: I wanted this to be a funny post but as I wrote, it became personal & my feelings came out. Thank you for your comments, as always.

lisle: well, I wouldn't say I'm "accepting" of growing old; I just don't like the alternative! :)

jayne: Wish my body would feel 40.

Baino said...

Oh God I hear you. One of my closest friends is turning 60 in March. I've just hit 55 and it's not sitting well with me . . .very honest appraisal of friendship. I guess if it was all smooth sailing we wouldn't appreciate the good times. I just wish my spinnaker would billow a bit more.

Judy said...

I like your idea of a trip. I'll have 4 more years to think about my 60th. Gee that sounds old!
You guys look great in your picture! Happy Bday

Marguerite said...

Great pic! All of you look fab! They say that sixty is the new fifty and ya'll prove it!

California Girl said...

Baino: It's very hard to accept aging, no matter what anyone says. It's hard to look in the mirror and see an unfamiliar face. I think I look in the mirror and see the face I once had but am rudely awakened when I see photographs. The photographs tell the true story. (ooo, good topic for a post).

Judy: It's a fun way to re-connect and share. There's no sharing in email and letters have become obsolete. Up close and personal revitalizes all the old feelings.

Marguerite: Thank you my dear. We had a great time. jayne says "60 is the new 40". Which ever it is, I'll take it! I'm going to write about the trip on Empty Nest. Just have to find the time.


by Cole Scott