When you look down from your safe at sixty perch at the milling crowds of the forty-something below, it’s tough not to feel superior. You may not be bounding up the stairs, but with lifts at hand, that’s hardly a big deal anymore. The spring in your step is a memory but, as you look back, it is very often not a great one. In your younger days you had to prove your fitness, or sink.
This forced you to spend quality hours panting away in some smelly gym with your eye on the clock, willing the routine to be over. You never really took a long quiet stroll without a sense of guilt and the telephone calling you back. Now, at sixty, you can actually relax. You can cheerfully lose a game of tennis and chat happily with the victor afterwards. People of the firm flesh and muscle will never know this feeling!
As you are not expected to perform at any level any more, you are free to be yourself. You no longer need to circle around looking for the right moment to swoop down, seal a deal, get a raise, and make up to your spouse. The CV you charged up every quarter, sits limp and cold like a spent firecracker. That is, indeed, the way of all CVs, but it took you this long to crack that myth. The anxieties of a promotion, of acquiring things that the neighbors have next door, of seeing your kids through school and their sometime disastrous marriages, are all behind you.
The good times are here atlast, and you are entitled to blow kisses to yourself in the mirror. You have come this far, you have done it all and it is plain good timing if you now let that smirk show. In your 40s you jumped out of bed because some maniac had set office hours without checking with you. Now you can let sleep luxuriate and wake up whenever for golf, tennis or an oxygenated walk in the park.
If the hidden hand, by some miracle, had told you how long you were going to live then everyday gone is one day lost. But if, like most of us, you have never been visited by this knowledge then every, single day that passes is another day gained. The new 60 is the new 60. Those now in their 40s will have to wait, sweat and struggle before they can be the 60s of today.
Good times don’t come easy!