Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Milestone Year

Everyone born in a year ending in 1 has a milestone birthday this year. Heading into April - my milestone month - I'm trying not to dwell on the great cosmic meaning, if there is one, of hitting 60.

Past milestone birthdays have never really bothered me. I turned 30 in England, and it was great fun. I had a fun 40th party and never thought twice about hitting the big 4-0. My 50th was relatively uneventful, but I didn't feel impacted at all by the march of time; it was just another day. But I have to admit that facing my 60th is starting to get under my skin a little.

Wrapping up six decades is a big deal. Still, I contend that being a 1951 early Baby Boom child landed me in exactly the right time and place for taking advantage of all that the second half of the 20th century and beyond has had to offer. I don't remember a time before television; it was brand new when I came along, so we grew together. Sociologists and marketers realized the potential of all these new babies around the time I burst on the scene, so we early 50's babies became guinea pigs and targets for toys, toothpastes, education theories, medical breakthroughs, and political/economic movements.

We rode - and are still riding - the crest of the wave. We've been just the right age for Howdy Doody, Captain Kangaroo, Slinky, Etch-a-Sketch, Play-Doh, Barbie (though I never had one, thank you very much), Cheerios, Look Ma no cavities Crest toothpaste, the Flintstones and the Jetsons, transistor radios, fishnets and mini-skirts, Motown, the Beatles, Shindig and Hullabaloo, Clairol hot rollers, bell bottoms, campus anti-war protests, Texas Instruments hand-held calculators, Disco (sorry), The Official Preppy Handbook, YUPPYs, minivans, 401Ks, and hyperventilation about impending (if ever) retirement.

So I reckon with all that cool stuff I got to test-drive, I don't regret hitting this milestone. I'm healthy (knock wood), gainfully employed, surrounded by a loving, crazy family and wonderful friends - what more could I want, besides knees, elbows, and shoulders that worked like they did 10 years ago? And I'll be pulling up to the milestone on a beach in Florida, enjoying the sun with my daughter, son-in-law, and GrandBoy. What better way to kick a little sand in the face of old Father Time, eh?

So to all you year-ending-in-1 babies, I say, embrace your milestone, whatever it may be. In ten years you'll look back on this one and smile.


Joy Des Jardins said...

Happy Birthday Mary...oh those milestones, they just keep on coming. Love, Joy

Elsie said...

Happy Birthday, Mary! I'm a '61 myself. Not liking it but going to try to adopt your attitude. Hope your years til 2021 are healthy and happy (even if they are a bit more creaky!). Enjoy your time in Florida squeezing that grandboy. Happy Birthday.

Liz said...

Have a wonderful birthday, mary! And if the years bring more grandchildren then they must be good!

I'm 60 next year and refusing to think about it.

HaarFager said...

Fellow baby boomer, happy birthday! I'm another born in '61 and never really looked at it like this. So, thanks for pointing this out!