Sixty, a number, and my age this year. I am sixty years old. BUT I do not feel like I am sixty years old. YET, I have never been sixty years old, so I would I know what it feels like to be sixty. Actually, I can not really wrap my thinking around being sixty years old. But the birth certificate does not lie, I have celebrated or marked each year and the total is sixty years of age.
At work, I am the second oldest person working. There is a cashier who is older than I am, but I am not sure how much older. We both work hard. Although she does not get down on the floor when stocking items on the lower shelves, leaving that task to younger folks. Most of the workers are in their mid twenties with management a few years younger than I am. Most are shocked to learn I am sixty. “You do not act sixty.” is a common phrase.
How is a sixty year old person supposed to act? Most of us, including myself base our determination of how a sixty year old person acts and tasks they are capable of doing by television or life experience with someone who is sixty. Stereotyping is how we form our ideas of what a person can or can not do at a certain age.
I do not have many grey hairs in my naturally colored hair. Some of my coworkers thought I had dyed my hair, until they look closer. My face does not have that many wrinkles, although the sun and years have aged my face and I no longer have the face I had when I was twenty. I move well, I work hard starting at getting up at 5 AM each morning to do chores before I go to work.
At work I climb ladders, but do not stand on the top step. I have not stood on the top step of a ladder since hurting my lower back. The injury has caused my balance to be a little off. Yet, I climb ladders in order to stock the top shelves. I sit on the floor to stock the bottom shelves. Although it is not a pretty motion of getting down to the floor or getting up off the floor, but is improving the more I do it. The one area I need to work on myself more is flexibility. My joints are a little stiff sometimes when I go to sit on the floor. I have not done a lot of sitting on the floor these past few years. I tell my coworkers I am stiff and have injuries, but I have lived life in my sixty years.
One coworker who is twenty years old made a comment yesterday after I showed her how to get a cloth bag of flour to stand on the shelf, that I know how to do a lot of things. My response is I have lived and learned for sixty years, that is a long time to learn things. I enjoy learning new things. I enjoy new experiences. I have injuries and can name each horse that caused the injuries, yet I can not name every horse I started under saddle and trained, or the ones I watched come into the world.
I began sharing with her some of my life experiences, watching a pronghorn antelope being born, standing and nursing in the wild. The evening I spent a few hours watching a pair of bald eagles teach their young how to fish. Or watching a fox catch mice. Seeing hundreds of elk in the morning dusk, start moving towards cover over the mountain ridge as the sun came up, seeing them silhouetted on the mountain ridge. Watching trout swim in the current of a mountain stream. Or watching the glorious colored lightening during a nighttime tornado. Playing in the snow, standing still and listening to snowflakes fall. Memories I hope one day I put to canvas to share with others the magical pictures in my memory.
This year I am sixty years old. I no longer have the speed to run a race or stamina I had when I was twenty-five. I have injuries that affect my movement and I live with back pain most of the time. But I have lived life and I continue to live life. Searching for new adventures and things to learn. I have goals to reach of things I want to finish or do. Some of youth’s dreams will never be, but there are plenty of dreams to look forward to. Sixty is a number, a number of my winters, but it is not a barrier or fence or prison.
I have lived life and continue to live life regardless of how many winters I have seen. Age is a number not a prison.