As I write this, I’m 21,901 days old. The reason I know this is I followed Psalm 90:12, which tells us to “number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” I used Excel to count the days since I didn’t have time to actually count the pages on a calendar. What does 21,901 days mean? It means I’m 59.96 years old, firmly perched on the line of my 60th year. Being true to my analytical self I’ve been trying to understand what that means.
I remember when I turned 50 people asked if it bothered me. In fact, it made me happy. It was a relief to no longer feel the pressure to be cool or stylish or hip. I went straight for eccentric, which is much more fun.
But that was 9.96 years ago; what about now? What do I expect when I turn 60? Who will I become?
Naturally, I did a Google search on the number 60 to see what showed up. I learned there are four Archimedean Solids with 60 vertices. The most interesting one in my opinion is the Truncated Icosahedron (think of a soccer ball, with 32 faces, 90 edges, and 60 vertices). It has the best potential for a birthday cake, or it would if I was a cake guy. I would rather have Cyndi’s homemade apple pie than a birthday cake, no matter what the shape.
I learned that the Latin term sexagena refers to 5 dozen, or 60, and was the typical ransom for a captured Teutonic Knight.
I read about the Babylonians who used a base-60 numbering system. Since I usually confuse myself when calculating non-base-10 numbers, I asked my go-to expert in all things, Daryl Jensen whether my Babylonian age would be 1 or 10. He wrote back, “If you were to translate Babylonian symbols to Arabic numerals, you would actually be 10. However, even that is problematic since the Babylonians had no symbol for 0. My understanding is that the difference between 1 and 60 (which would look identical using Babylonian symbols) had to be inferred from context.” I’m sure if you hang out with me you’ll get the context.
The Bible says in Genesis 25:26 that Isaac was 60 years old when his twin sons Jacob and Esau were born. Fortunately, Cyndi and I have put the birthing of babies behind us.
Sports cars are rated by how long it takes them to go from 0 mph to 60 mph. I don’t know what to do with this, though, since I have never been an accelerator but a steady-stater.
I read too many magazine articles about how 60 is the new 40 (or even the new 30), but I’ve never heard any 30- or 40-year-olds say this. In fact, I don’t want to be 40 again. I am much more comfortable with my place in life, comfortable in my own skin, now, that I was 20 years ago. When I turned 40 I was just beginning my city government phase and it was still scary and uncertain.
The same magazine articles like to point out that 70 has replaced 60 as the normal retirement age. Maybe so. I’m afraid I would be bored if I completely retired from working … probably hole-up in my cave and never come out. Cyndi once told me my writing gets narrow and shallow when I’m not around people, working. If she’s correct, and she usually is, I should keep working as long as I plan to keep writing. That’s a long time.
I learned the number 60 represents the global Karma of the Universe, but I have no idea what that means and I don’t plan to study it any further.
Bible Gateway reminded me the gold statue which king Nebuchadnezzar commissioned, the same one that got Daniel in trouble, was 60 cubits high. I won’t be building a 60-cubit statue of myself. That too creepy. And besides, Nebuchadnezzar is a particularly lousy role model to follow.
I wrote this in my book, Retreating With God: “I’ve never been afraid of growing older and never bothered if I looked older. I was not afraid of the future. As I got older I thought more people listened to me and trusted me. I liked the gray in my hair for that very reason. My prayer had been that my countenance would show the hope and joy I felt in my life. I wanted to be one of those graceful sparkling old guys who leaned boldly into the future with anticipation, not one of those crusty ‘Hey you kids get off my lawn’ sort of old men.”
And so, I am looking forward to turning 60, and to the next 60 years after that. I want my writing and teaching to be an invitation to a larger, more intimate, and deeper life with God. I hope to call out and record those moments that move us closer to God, that demonstrate his loving hand in our everyday lives.
“I run in the path of Your commands, for You have set my heart free.” Psalm 119:32
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