Turning 57 is an actuarial wake-up call. There's no denying that, statistically speaking, I'm much closer to the end than the beginning. But, to add insult to injury, there are lots of other signs that Father Time is breathing down my neck. To wit:
– An attractive young lady in a bar smiles at me, walks up and whispers in my ear, 'Excuse me sir. But is anyone using that stool next to you? We'd like to borrow it." (Note: sir = elderly).
– A friend shows my photo to her friend who responds by saying, “My, he's rather distinguished looking, isn't he?” (Note: distinguished looking = dissipated. Sean Connery is distinguished looking. I do NOT want to be called distinguished looking.).
– An otherwise intelligent intern tells me she's never heard of a DeLorean or the 'Back to the Future' movies. (Note: it's no fun to be surrounded by a whole new generation of employees who are clueless about ANYTHING that occurred before 1990).
That carnage aside, I'm absolutely loving 57. In fact, I think I've crammed more living in the past five years than I had in the previous 52.
'They' say experience is one advantage that comes with aging. But, they rarely mention another less obvious, but more important, value-add: freedom.
I'm now totally free to take risks and try things that would have been unthinkable 10, 20 or even 30 years earlier. They include performing improvisation and stand-up comedy, as well as rock, ice and mountain climbing. Toss in some long-distance cycling, gyrotonic (www.bodyevolution.com) and devising brand new Peppercom service offerings and you'll have an inkling of just how free I feel at such an advanced age.
I've been blessed. But, I've also embraced risk.
In fact, I now understand what David Bowie meant when he sang in 'Golden Years': 'Don't let me hear you say life's taking you nowhere.'
There are two ways to go through life: you take life or life takes you. You're either a driver who take risks and isn't afraid to fail or you're a passenger who blames others when your dreams don't come true.
Whether you're 27, 37, 47 or 57, do yourself a favor and get behind the wheel as soon as possible. You never know. It might just end up being a mint condition DeLorean and you might just end up having the time of your life.
Make the most of your golden years. They'll be over before you know it.