On the Last Day of My Sixties

by James Wallace Harris, 11/24/21

Tomorrow I turn 70. Thinking about that made me realize that today is the last day of my sixties. Damn, this decade has rushed by. I retired from work in October of 2013 when I was 62, so for most of my sixties, I’ve had all my time free. I’ve taken it easy and did exactly what I wanted. Looking back I’m not sure that was a good thing. Taking it easy has become an addiction.

A few weeks ago I thought of an idea for a blog about turning 70, but I never got busy on it. Between 60 and 69 I slowed down. I wonder now if I would have been more active if I hadn’t retired. Back then I could work eight hours and still find time to do many of the things I wanted to do. Now I have all my time free and I get almost nothing accomplished.

I can’t tell if this is a natural aspect of aging or dissipation due to not working. Being lazy doesn’t hurt, in fact, it’s quite pleasant, but I do feel guilty. I guess that’s the Puritanical Atheist in me.

I was at my doctor’s office at 7:30 am for my annual physical, then did the weekly grocery shopping at 9:30. After putting the groceries away had a snack and then a quick nap. I went out to lunch with my friend Laurie at 11:30. After lunch, we played one hand of Skip-Bo at 12:30. I was home by 1:30 for a nap, then listened to Adele’s new album, followed by The Kings of Leon’s new album, and wrapped up the afternoon by talking with my sister for an hour on the phone. It’s now about five. Doesn’t sound like I did much, does it? But that was an extremely busy day for me.

I call this grazing of lite activities puttering around in a small land. I wished I worked at my hobbies more systematically so I felt like I accomplished a little something towards a goal each day, but I’m more and more undisciplined as I get older.

Many of my friends who haven’t retired ask me “What’s retirement like?” It’s sort of like summer vacation between fifth and sixth grade, but never having to go back to school. I don’t know if I’m in heaven or the Twilight Zone.

I’m expecting things to get even more surreal in my seventies.

JWH

7 thoughts on “On the Last Day of My Sixties”

  1. Happy Birthday. I’m not quite a decade behind you but that day sounds exhausting. I might manage all that in a week 🙂 PS If it wasn’t for the time difference I wouldn’t have been out of bed before you had put your groceries away.

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  2. My sister (Lyn Aspey) forwarded your blog to me, noting she knew you when you were younger than she is now.
    Scary.
    I am 70 in a very few short weeks, and have only ‘semi-retired’ which I suspect will be my state to the grave.
    You nailed the description.
    Allen

    1. Thanks Allen. Lyn and I met almost 20 years ago. Most of the Clarion West group were in their 20s. It’s hard to imagine them in their 40s. I believe Lyn was just in her 30s at the time.

  3. Thank you for sharing. Retirement sounds so far away for me and yet near. I always made a joke about retiring at 55 but realized that is not going to happen. And then, having retired, doing exactly what? It sounds like I wouldn’t be superproductive, so I can relate to you!
    Happy Birthday 🎈🎂🎊!

  4. Welcome to the 70s. Like every age, it will be what you make of it. So don’t waste your remaining time lamenting lost opportunity. It took 70 years to get here, so, hopefully, you are harvesting a rich trove of wonderful memories and accumulated wisdom. My wife Carole, also just 70 as of last August, was laughing last week about how long it took us to find one another and come to peace with your missions in life. Ironic that our 70s are so far our happiest decade. Happy Thanksgiving, and God bless you James.

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