Turning 63

Written By: Charles - Feb• 13•10

Imbolc                            New Moon (Wild)

“Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.”- Franz Kafka

It’s not an especially significant birthday in the way of things.  63 is a lull between OMG I’m in my 60’s and 65, the all purpose retirement age in former times.  The lack of symbolic significance and its very ordinariness makes me happy to turn 63.  I have no expectations about life at 63.  So far, the 60’s have been kind to me.  I’ve lost no friends, no family.  With the exception of Kate’s back trouble, no one I know has a serious ongoing health problem.  Frank Broderick who at 77 is now in his 15th year after his first heart attack manages his cardio problems, proving that even yesterday’s fatal condition can now fit into a long life.

(Rembrandt self-portrait at 63)

Turning the prism one more  time 63 astonishes me.  Why?  Because of its very ordinariness and because of its lack of symbolic significance.  Not so long ago, say when I was in my teens, folks my age had begun to teeter toward a time of serious old age and disability.  That point in life is still not on the observable horizon for me.  In fact, it’s possible some number of us reaching this age will be relatively healthy and able until our final days.  Quite a change.

On a personal note I have made my peace with the world in terms of success.  What I’ve had, little but some, will do.  I enjoy the love of a good woman and five dogs here at home and the circle  expands to nuclear family and extended family and friends like the Woollies, the docents and the Sierra Club folks.  My days have meaningful labor that changes with the seasons.  I live in a country I love, a state, and a home.

Intellectually and creatively, it seems, I’ve just begun to come into my own, which means there are satisfying frontiers still ahead.

Then there is Kafka.  Kafka.  What an odd and yet appropriate quote from  him.  He knew with fine detail the absurdity of modern life, yet he  found aesthetics central to a life of real engagement.  Me, too.

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