Today I celebrate my 65th birthday. Initially I put “turn” 65 but realized that this not only sounds like a child talking (“I’m five, turning six in August.”) but also the “turning” word signfies a change. Leaves “turn” brown and fall off the trees in the autumn. The weather “turns” colder. To every thing, there is a season.
I am really no different than I was yesterday. I haven’t “turned” at all.For some reason there are certain birthdays that carry significance more than others. I remember “turning” 16 and being able to get my beginners driver’s license. It was a big deal. I felt like I had grown up. Little did I know. But it was a birthday to be anticipated with some excitement as it carried with it promises of increased rewards. Growth. Expansion. Benefits.
In a similar way, I recall being 21 and going to a bar and being able to legally order an alcoholic drink, actually hoping that someone would check my I.D.
I had no trouble with 40, 50 or even 60. I felt that these markers were middle-age and also had some benefits. Maturity, some financial security, established friendships and professional life and a certain degree of autonomy that only comes as you age.
There are some benefits, to being 65, I guess, but they seem to be overshadowed by the hovering grim reaper. I will save $1 when I go to the Screening Room for a movie. I will legally qualify for seniors discounts at several places. When I go to a Denny’s I can officially order the seniors meal – smaller, less salt, less fat, less everything. I hope they don’t offer me crayons. I rarely go to Denny’s so this won’t help me much.
I got to apply for the Old Age Security benefits – yes, Old Age. They will all be all clawed back so it makes me wonder if this is some sort of pretend advantage to ageing. I told someone this week that it was a bit like a dream. I am not “old”. When you apply for the Old Age Security the envelope you send the application in has “Old Age” printed on the front in big letters. A “rub-it-in” I thought. Or maybe they are trying to get people not to apply.
I got a couple of birthday cards this week – and some had the traditional “too many candles to blow out” message. That is just fine with me. I do have a sense of humour and can take some gentle ribbing about my advancing age. But I also got a card from the university saying that because I had reached 65 my dental insurance coverage would be cancelled at the end of this month. Happy Birthday. Gum your way into senility. Or maybe the plan was set up expecting most people over 65 to have long since lost their teeth. Whatever. It was a bit of a punishment for reaching this age.
Having said all this, I also recognize that I am very fortunate. I have good health, am able to play squash with people 20 years younger than I am, still can remember lines and do Shakespeare (or as in the Coarse Acting play I was just in, pseudo-Shakespeare). I have the flexibility to continue to work, but at my own pace, travel to visit friends when I want and enjoy visits (including a birthday dinner tonight) with my family which extends from my 92 year old Dad (what must that be like?) to my youngest of 5 grandchildren checking in at 1.
I will get over this psychological hump – probably by tomorrow – and settle in to my new age, recognizing that it is only a number and that I am no different than I was last week. A little older, a very little bit wiser and able to unabashedly get senior rates at Shopper’s Drug Mart on Thursdays!
we spent a marvellous day golfing with Simon and Corie. He’s older and she’s younger than your 65. We loved being with each other – like university times! Savour it all! we no longer jump or spring out of the car — standing up and getting one’s legs under one is a strategem and we’re getting better at it…..We do share a lot of wonderful friends. xxoo on your 65 year old owies! Daphne (tink)
Just discovered your latest blog…
Live it up, John… celebrate your 65th birthday in style!
How many 65 yr olds have built an international NGO from scratch, all since their 60th birthday??
I’d say you’re just hitting your stride!
JG! Happy belated birthday! Can’t believe this date wasn’t in big orange lets on our calendar. we’ll celebrate in k-town soon. S&V
Oh, John, what can I say! You should be very proud of yourself and what you have accomplished in your life so far. As an old Bluewater Beach chum, I will always remember the good old days and the fun we had as youngsters and teens. No matter how old we get, those wonderful memories will always be cherished and in our hearts forever. I know that you have a lot more in you to give and I will look forward to your further endeavours. Enjoy your family and your grandchildren and your many friends and I wish for you an abundance of health and happiness always!!! As ever, Gayle
Thanks, Gayle for your greeting. I will have to blog sometime about your yellow Chevy convertible, dill pickles and the Drive-in movie at Goderich. J
We love you John and it is very true age is just a number. In this world of political correctness, how did they miss that…lol. There is nothing fancy about the word “old”; lets just get rid of the word. Any thoughts of a better word?