I’ve become a sexagenarian. Sounds like legal grounds for arrest; or a new astrological sign; or an animal doctor that does naughty things to their patients. But, no, sexgagenarian means that I have officially turned 60 and am firmly entrenched in my seventh decade of life. Saying “when I was your age” is no longer said with irony, and I actually do remember a time when. My childhood heroes are either dead or very near death. To think we live in a world without Lou Reed and Chuck Yeager had once been unthinkable but is now a sad reality.

A mere 16-21% of Americans make it past 60. That alone fills me with a sense of accomplishment and all I had to do was cross thousands of streets, survive car accidents, suffocation, choking, and 11 years of marriage. The struggle I face is between having lived beyond the usefulness of my years or is the best still yet to come. My aim is, and has been, to weigh more in the direction of being a giver rather than a taker. My preference is being a server over that of being the served. Don’t mistake this as my being a big-hearted altruist. No, this is a matter of being in my comfort zone. And don’t get me wrong, I’m fine dining in a restaurant and being waited on, mostly because this is an act of commerce, an exchange between two willing participants. Accepting help from others, on the other hand, being served, has, and remains, an issue for me, and I imagine it is for a lot of people.

Thoreau said that he wanted “to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life,” and I’m shuddering at the prospect of entering my dotage as an impediment to anyone. It’s understood that when a child enters this world someone will be responsible for regularly changing their dirty diapers, hundreds of them, in fact. But having the same done to you as an elder fills me with a dehumanizing angst. Losing my license, and with it the privilege to drive, will take another vestige of my independence. Going up and down stairs will become akin to climbing the Matterhorn. Making my own meals will be replaced with Jake Farmer’s Food Delivery Service. I’ll be relegated to a recliner watching Fox News berating President Ocasio-Cortez. Oh, and the chronic aches and pains reminding me of my youthful indiscretions, every joint requiring seconds, then minutes, and, eventually, hours to limber up.

It was a foregone conclusion at an early age that the dome of my pate would be mostly hairless. I was fine with that, even though this would relegate me to a niche market when it came to women. With each passing year my hair would relocate to other areas of my person; in my ears and nose, on my back and on my toes, and to other less genteel real estate. Nature has a wicked sense of humor. Thank God I’m in on the joke.

To pass peacefully seems to require a certain level of philosophical equanimity. You have to embrace the inevitable. Some refer to this as aging gracefully, meaning don’t demur because nothing can be done to eternally forestall death. And learn to laugh frequently at your own gradual demise. Gallows humor requires wearing a brave face. Enjoy the ride. I suppose living longer than others is restitution in itself, but the same could be said of those who sank and drowned with the Titanic rather than survived long enough to freeze in the water. The only difference between the two is an earthy grave and a watery tomb. Either way, the cruise will be over, and I’m okay that there aren’t any life rafts for where we’re all going. I will continue living my life as I’m writing my obituary, and my corpse will be evidence that here lies a man who lived life to the fullest: scars, dents, gin blossoms, and all. But, until then, I’ll have the Special of the Day, one glass of marrow, please…to go.

Comments are not available on this story.