Friday, January 17, 2014

My Big Old Birthday

Back in 1975, the mandatory retirement age for airline pilots was 60. The day before my dad’s 60th birthday, he piloted his last flight. We all flew with him from Salt Lake City to Jackson Hole and back. As he landed and brought the plane to a stop, he said “Sayonara” softly over the microphone. It was very touching. As he deplaned, he was met by a row of pilots on either side of the stairs. There wasn’t a dry eye on the tarmac. At the time, I was 21. I thought Dad was an amazingly young 60, but still... 60 was kind of old. Fast forward 39 years, and guess who’s turning 60 on Sunday? Me that’s who. I can’t believe it... I just feel like a really, really rickety 38. Today was my last work day as a 59 year-old spring chicken. There were no lines of coworkers to usher me to my car. No family to hang out on my last day, so proud to see me walk to the copier, or use my calculator. No touching last words. I guess most of that would be because I will be back at work on Monday. I also don’t have a really important job where I hold the lives of hundreds of people in my care thousands of feet in the air. I can’t imagine being told that as of tomorrow I will be too old to do my job. I know Dad didn’t want to stop flying. He was in good health, sharp as a tack, and definitely not ready to retire from something he loved doing. Unfortunately, he had no choice. Somehow, seeing myself the same age as my dad hasn’t helped me be OK with this milestone. A friend told me “You’re upright, and can still talk in complete sentences. It’s all good”. That’s a much better mantra than the one currently running in my head “WTF??? How the f*&k did THIS happen???”. Being a glass-half-empty kind of girl, this birthday is a challenge. I know, it’s only a number, yada yada yada (still doesn’t thrill me). I might get more awesome than usual presents (I’m warming up to the idea). 60 is better than 70 (things are looking up). Hey, I’m not dead! last a simple way to put a positive spin on my 60th birthday! Short and to the point. Not as classy as “Sayonara”, but I’m working on it.

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