In a few short days, I will be joining the millions of people who live and thrive in the sexagenarian decade. I’ll be wandering into the land of Early Bird specials, retirement and U.S. Medicare. Since I couldn’t pack my job and take it with me, I actually retired five years ago when we moved south, so I feel I already have a step up on the decade. (And hey, I’d start Medicare if they’d let me!)
Last year, I discussed that I feel on the youngish side of old (see post) and I feel no different now. I’m not too nervous looking over the edge. I had, however, hoped to celebrate on a grand scale. I had wanted to travel to Europe and taking a picturesque river cruise; I wanted to watch my 50’s bobbing in the wake behind me. I wanted to look forward across the bow and kick off the joy that the new adventures of this decade holds.
But of course, that’s off. With COVID, I’m not going anywhere. The best-case scenario is that I’m on those shores within a year or two. I am at peace with this change.
However, it now gives me a WHOLE lot of time on my hands. So, at 5 a.m. the other morning, I lay in bed thinking about 60, what it means and an idea emerged. At 60, I have now officially been on the planet long enough to have acquired a “lifetime” of knowledge. I’ve earned that. I know stuff. I’ve lived stuff. Completely random ideas about what exactly I have learned began to percolate in my head. I actually got up to start typing them out.
Although I lament that I am unable to ride into my 60’s on a trim, 72 ft wide cruise ship on the Thames or Danube, I am thoroughly enjoying taking stock and a stroll down experience lane instead. Just for a day. Then, I return to looking forward.
The list below is not a traditional life lesson list (well, except for maybe a few of them). They are either unusual facts that made a permanent impression on me, practical tips I’ve learned by trial and error and a few insights; all of which I have picked up over a lifetime and pocketed out of both interest and necessity.
I know I’m leaving at least 1000 off the list. We all have different experiences. What would you add?
1. Even when you think you have, you have not seen it all.
2. Don’t lean too far in on a counter if you are cleaning with bleach.
3. When in a large parking garage, take a photo of the sign that shows the level and section. I can’t always trust my memory anymore.
4. You’re as strong as you need to be.
5. Before making the decision to sit down on the ground or floor, prepare a standing-back-up strategy first. It can get awkward very quickly.
6. When texting, always double-check the recipient’s name before you hit “send.”
7. You are never too old to become a sports fan. My grandfather discovered football in his 70’s and I fell in love with baseball in my 40’s.
8. Place your coffee mugs slightly off balance in the dishwasher rack. It prevents all that water from collecting inside the rim.
9. Integrity is everything. If you lie, or pretend to be someone you are not, then you lose peoples’ trust and it’s close to impossible to get it back.
10. When you dream of somebody famous, think of 2-3 qualities of that famous person. Then apply those qualities to someone in your life. That is who you are dreaming about.
11. Every single day has the promise of being a good one. You have the ability to start fresh.
12. Use dryer sheets to clean dead bugs off your car.
13. Turning 40 is worse than turning 50.
14. In case of a hurricane or serious storm, make or buy extra ice. If your power goes out, place the ice and freezer items inside your washer.
15. Technically, astronauts cannot earn that title until they have “reached space” which is at or above an altitude of 50 miles.
16. It is not easy to go a week without saying “it is what it is.”
17. 17 is the most common number played on the Roulette board. This is because it sits right in the middle of the board. I may have learned this on a trip to Vegas. Don’t judge.
18. When playing the lottery, pick your own numbers over a Quick Pick selection. The odds are slightly better.
19. We all mess up. Don’t be hard on yourself. Try to find a way to leave it behind you.
20. Clean your windows with crumbled up newspaper. My grandfather taught this to me when I was 13.
21. If you live with someone, use the words “warmer” or “colder” to discuss the A/C or heat. “Turn it up” and “Turn it down” creates way too much confusion.
22. Weeding is good for the soul.
23. My parents did NOT take my pet bunny to a farm to live out the remainder of his days comfortably.
24. Tied to #23. Children have a stunningly long memory. Be careful what you say.
25. Laugh. Laugh. Laugh. I’m dead serious about this one.
26. If you’re older like me, the online Urban Dictionary is helpful in defining some contemporary words/phrases. Sometimes, they are eye-opening!!
27. You can use YouTube to program/fix any conceivable thing now.
28. A job really isn’t worth doing, if you’re not going to give it your best effort.
29. It is not an exaggeration. Cancer sucks.
30. If you have a screened in patio, stuff cotton balls into smaller drainage areas to keep creepy crawling things out. Rain water will move out through the cotton.
31. Even if you think you are drinking a lot of water, drink a little more.
32. The universe does give out signs for life direction/decisions. You have to pay attention to recognize them.
33. It’s hard to get excited about finishing dusting when you know it will be back next week.
34. If you need help with your smart T.V. or any high-tech device, ask your children or grandchildren…even if they are 8. It will be a huge time-saver.
35. During the pandemic, wearing noise-cancelling headphones (even if you’re not listening to anything) is the ideal solution for being in close quarters.
36. Never follow exactly in someone else’s foot prints. Then, you’ll never create a set of your own.
37. If you have an elderly parent or relative who calls when they get confused with buttons or instructions on an appliance, take photos of these devices including the t.v. remote, dishwasher panel, thermostat and microwave panel and refer to the photos when they call. This way, you can troubleshoot over the phone and it may save a driving trip over to fix it.
38. I kind of hate to exercise, but Tai Chi is a surprisingly good blend of building strength, balance skills and meditation.
39. People who order wine in a restaurant often veer towards the second cheapest wine on the wine list. They don’t want to appear cheap. Since the restaurateurs know this, they do anyway.
40. Intuition is a real thing. Listen to it. (I hired a babysitter I had not met through an agency once. I left for a luncheon, turned around at the first light and came home. I just had a bad vibe. I paid her and never regretted any of it.)
41. Adapting to a situation is a super power.
42. Keep your cell phone separated from your hotel key card. It can mess with the magnetic coding on the strip and you get locked out.
43. Don’t bother renting a car if you are visiting an urban area. We only use rideshare companies. It costs less, and is hassle-free (parking etc.).
44. Created in the 1920’s by Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, Chanel no. 5 was the first perfume to bear a designer’s name. By 1929, it was the largest selling perfume in the world.
45. Just because there is a failure one day doesn’t mean that success can’t be there tomorrow. Be persistent.
46. You can go home again – using Google Maps. I recently “walked” from my childhood home to school. Truly amazing.
47. In warmer climates, you cannot win the tiny Ant Wars, but you can keep them at bay. If you find a few around a crumb, don’t just spray and remove that cluster. Look for a single file line of ants nearby. It is there. Follow it until you find the source and spray there too.
48. Some of your best, uncontrollable laughs happen when you are somewhere requiring you to be quiet.
49. While driving, keep an eye out for the trucks and taller vans ahead of you. If they make a lane change, they may help you by seeing something ahead you cannot.
50. A nephrologist is a kidney doctor.
51. If you still have a landline phone, cancel it. I was TERRIFIED to not have a solid back-up to a cell phone, but I’ve gone 5 years now and it’s been fine.
52. Both extroverts (who get their energy from other people) and introverts (who energize through solo activities) need to walk a mile in each other’s shoes. It would solve a lot of misunderstandings. It’s just wiring.
53. Never look at your 401k or IRA savings in a down market. It may take time, but it will bounce back.
54. Larger retail stores hire “shoppers” to “buy” items (with a fake credit card) in the store while they are actually rating the employee’s skills and manner. (I had this job one summer when I was 21.)
55. Being open to spontaneity can create some of your best memories.
56. Cortisone cream works well on mosquito bites (I seriously didn’t learn this until I was 58.)
57. The Saskatchewan Screamer, a nickname created by meteorologists, is the name of a winter weather system we would face in the Chicago area. It moves quickly out of Canada bringing just light snow, but strong winds and much colder air.
58. When shipping presents, you can save a hell of a lot on postage if you don’t procrastinate.
59. Just like a Living Will, put into writing any charitable organizations you want listed in your obituary. In fact, you can even write your own obit.
60. I should have started this list 30 years ago.