Top Ten Reasons I Don’t Mind Turning 60

Top Ten Reasons I Don’t Mind Turning 60

What's to love about turning 60? In my opinion, a whole lot of things.Tomorrow’s my 60th birthday, and I’m looking forward to it. Really I am, and for these 10 good reasons.

10. Ordering off the 55+ menu at IHOP will be easier. Five years ago, doing so made me feel like an imposter. Now I feel like I’ve earned it.

9.  The AARP has lowered their annual membership price to $12 in honor of my birthday. Thoughtful as the gesture is, I’m not taking them up on it.

8.  Tomorrow morning, I will be grateful for the ability to walk 6 miles pain free…even at my age.

7.  German Chocolate Birthday Cake! Need I say more?

6.  When people inquire about my age, and I tell them, with suitable self-effacement that I am 60, they will have all the more reason to respond, “You certainly don’t look your age.” (And this would be your cue to type something similar in the comment box.)

5.  Being 60 makes the fact that my mystery novel, set in the decade when I was in my 20s, is considered historical fiction a little easier to swallow. Mainly because I can wash it down with birthday cake. (See #7)

4.  On my official birthday, all those early Facebook birthday wishes will no longer feel like being pushed into old age.

3.  Once I’m 60, the Man of Steel, who hit the same milestone waaaay back in March, will no longer feel as though he robbed the cradle.

2.  The day will remind me of Mom’s 60th in 1988. Our son was 6, and our daughter was a newborn when the sibs and I hosted a gigantic surprise birthday shindig at her church in Le Mars. She was clueless, and the many friends and family members who gathered to honor her, was a glorious tribute.

1.  I’ll be celebrating my birthday with my family. What could be better?

I’d love to hear bout your 60th birthday memories in the comment box. If you don’t have any, see #6.

Muffin Mysteries for a Fantastic Friday

Muffin Mysteries for a Fantastic Friday

When the biggest mystery in the house is muffins in the microwave, does it mean the residents of the house have memory problems?In the four years since this post first appeared on Down the Gravel Road, memory issues at the Philo house have only gotten worse. So much worse that this Fantastic Friday’s muffin mystery is one I don’t even remember. Which is why it’s worth solving a second time.

This morning, I was up bright and early. At 6:15 I left the house to walk, my back exercises, Bible study, and breakfast already completed. Ten minutes later, my phone rang.

By the time I fished it out of my pocket and untangled the iPod ear buds wrapped around it, and I inadvertently pressing several buttons, the caller gave up. The screen said it had been Hiram, so I tried to call back. But somehow I hit the mute button and had to hang up. Eventually he called back, and after explaining I really hadn’t hung up on him twice, he remembered why he called in the first place. Which is a miracle in itself, as the rest of the story proves.

“Did you put muffins in the microwave this morning?” he asked.

“Yes,” I answered, and then added. “And I ate them. For breakfast.”

“Okay,” he said. “So these in the microwave are mine?”

I pondered the question for a moment.
I didn’t remember putting more muffins in the microwave.
But the older I get, the more I forget what I’ve really done.
The older I get, the more I confuse what I only considered doing with what I actually did. And the older I get, the more reality seems like a day dream and the more my day dreams feel like reality.

That’s when I realized Hiram and I have been married for a long time, and he’s rubbing off on me. As my internal dialogue confirms, though I have spent the last 35 years pulling him out of the anti-memory-time-and-space vortex where he lives, growing older is gradually sucking me into it with him. My days as household memory queen are numbered. Maybe even over already.

Hesitatingly, I answered. “I don’t think I would put a second set of muffins in the microwave. And my stomach feels full, so I ate mine.”

“Okay.” His voice remained cheerful and unperturbed. “They must be mine. I just don’t remember putting them there.”

I laughed. “We’re pathetic.”

He agreed, and we both hung up. I slipped the phone back in my pocket and felt something long and stringy wrap around it. I pulled the phone out again, along with a tangle of iPod ear buds.

Where in the world did those come from? I wondered. Then I stuffed them in my pocket and walked down the road cheerful and unperturbed.

Just like my husband.

No More Scoff. Just Toss.

No More Scoff. Just Toss.

The Man of Steel and I are feeling our age this week after several unexpected blows.Scoff and toss.

For years, the Man of Steel and I did just that every time we found AARP envelopes in our mailbox. We smiled smugly at one another and said, “AARP? Us? We’re way too young for that. Not to mention that we take good care of ouselves!”

Then last week knocked the smug stuffing out of us.

The first blow landed when I got my new, lighter splint last Tuesday and was told I can’t drive for four more weeks. At least. And that I have to operate one-handed for that length of time, too. The second blow came the same day when the on-again, off-again pain under the Man of Steel’s right arm went full blown on-again and laid him out flat. As in flat-on-the-floor-on-his-back-flat-and-sort-of-comfortable, or in-excruciating-pain-in-any-other-position flat.

Between the two of us we had less than one good body.

Suddenly, we were prisoners in our own home. Reduced to begging asking people for rides to the store and doctor’s office. Wondering when to call our kids to beg ask them to drop everything to help us. Not wanting to shift from being the ones who serve others to being served by others.

That was the final blow. The blow to our pride.

Admitting that now–for at least a while–we have to surrender our independence and be dependent on others. Knowing for the first time in my adult life where Blanche DuBoius was coming from when she said, “I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.” Because going from independent to dependent is a whole new reality.

A reality we hope to shed soon. Very soon.

Once we do, once we’re back on our feet, we will respond differently when to those AARP mailings. The smugness, the pride in our race to outrun aging will fade. We will no longer scoff at those reminders that will one day lose the race. We promise.

No more scoff. Just toss.

Three Thoughts for Thursday

Three Thoughts for Thursday



  1. I find the plethora of  before and after body wrap pictures on Facebook quite disconcerting. TMI!
  2. Because Facebook ads are age group targeted, the plethora of sponsored posts about wrinkle cream, sagging skin cream, and adult incontinence products on my Facebook feed is equally disconcerting.
  3. On the other hand, the Viking Cruise Line ads featuring older couples drinking wine as the breeze ruffles their silver hair don’t bother me at all. Because my hair hasn’t turned silver. Yet.

Your thoughts about Facebook ads? Leave a comment.

Top Ten Things to Dislike About Getting Older

Top Ten Things to Dislike About Getting Older

A recent birthday led to this top ten list about what to dislike about getting older.

I recently celebrated a birthday. Not one of those momentous ones with a zero at the end. But getting close. Getting very, very close. Close enough to get me thinking about what’s to dislike and like about getting older. This week’s list hits the dislikes. But you’re invited to come back next week to see what’s to like about getting older too.

10. Getting older means not being able to eat as much as and that more of what’s eaten makes its presence known in uncomfortable and sometimes embarrassing ways as it makes its merry way through and out of the digestive system.

9.  Some people–and this may or may not include the author of this post–become less patient as they get older. Especially with a spouse–who may or may not be the Man of Steel.

8. Replace the word “patient” in #9 with “flexible.”

7.  No matter how fit and trim a person is, aches and pains increase with age.

6.  As do trips to the bathroom in the night time.

5.  The older a person is, the harder it is to learn a foreign language.

4.  Year by year, the number of opportunities a person “has missed it by that much”–to use the words of Maxwell Smart–increases. That realization is a source of sadness for opportunities missed that had the potential of accomplishing great good.

3.  Getting older does not mean people worry about their children any less.

2.  Being older means more times when a person’s heart torn in two when moving away from dear friends or when dear friends move away.

1.  Being older means saying final good-byes to loved ones more and more frequently with each passing year.

What do you dislike about getting older? Leave a comment.