Skip to main content

Verified by Psychology Today

Turning 60

Besides the change in the number, what else changes?

I'm turning 60. 6-0.

How is this possible?

When someone asked me recently, how old I felt mentally, I said 17 (since that would allow me a driver's license). She scoffed at my answer, calling it preposterous.

Maybe. I just know that 60—or at least my image of what that means—is equally preposterous.

Of course, what I have now, that I didn't have at 17, is perspective.

Perspective on those big life events like the phone call that a friend my age has died suddenly or developed a disease for which there is no cure. The older we are, the more of those we rack up—they have a way of putting things into the correct frame. As a Financial Life Planner, death, illness and disability are no strangers—but it is much easier to focus on clients' feelings than my own.

So, here I am on the precipice of decrepitude, feeling, well, not 17, but not how I would have expected at 60 either. My mindset is energetic, alive and forward thinking with a zest for learning, living and experiencing MORE.

I've given myself the rah-rah speech about looking forward, feeling good, staying healthy—but I have yet to come to grips with how I feel about the whole getting old thing. Frankly, I'm not loving it.

Yes, yes, YES, it beats the alternative and yes, I feel good, strong and healthy (except for the moments when I get up from a chair and hear my knees crack). I feel better when I think about the younger, brasher me whose impatience, judgments and intolerance have been tempered with time, experience and hopefully a dash or two of wisdom.

My yoga teacher told me that 60 is the new 40 (her 50 is evidently the new 30, which leads me to wonder what 20 is—the new 0?) So here I am, in the enlightened age where we can see that life doesn't end at 60. Where I have a certain level of control—watching my diet, exercising, keeping my brain active learning new things—so that my lifespan "MAY" continue in an wonderful trajectory.

As a former CPA, I think life is kind of like a balance sheet—if your assets exceed your liabilities, you have a positive net worth. If your positives exceed your negatives you've got a whole lot to feel good about. Looking at it that way, while the number still freaks me out, I'm a pretty thankful guy. Just don’t be putting 60 candles on my cake—17 will work just fine.

More from Psychology Today

More from Michael F. Kay

More from Psychology Today