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On Birthdays – Thoughts on Turning 60

On Monday, 7 June, I turned 60 years old. And it was a good day. I celebrated.

The only traumatic birthday I think I have ever had was my 30th. Growing up in the 50s, teen years in the 60s and young adult in the 70s, the common mantra was Never Trust Anyone Over 30. On my birthday in 1980, I turned 30. I had become one of them. I had crossed to the dark side. I was now everything that my generation hadn’t trusted for all those years.

It eventually occurred to me that 30, like so many things, isn’t traumatic in and of itself. It’s what you make of it that counts. The reality is that I had survived long enough (that’s a different post all together!) to see another decade of my life begin. My 30th birthday was yet another major event  in my life that helped coalesce ideas that I still hold to this day. Some amazingly simple conclusions included:

  • People do not earn trust or distrust because of their age.
  • Generalization of previous statement: people do not earn trust or distrust because of membership in any generalized grouping.
  • Clarification of previous statement: organizations and corporations do not qualify as ‘generalized groupings.

Now, I didn’t come to these conclusions on the day after my 30th; it took a bit. But, once I did, I was no longer traumatized. At that point, I actually began looking forward to and enjoying my birthdays as I had when I was a kid. And the decade birthdays, you know – the ones ending in 0, were really exciting!!

By the time I got to 50, though, other people were beginning to question my sanity. (As surprised as you might be, thats not really the first time my sanity has been questioned.) How can you possibly be excited about turning 50?

To me it’s easy. It comes down to a matter of choices. You are either going to turn 50 or you’re not. But, the only way to not turn 50 is to die before you get there – and I didn’t consider that a good choice.

So, if you’re willing to stick around for it, you still have two choices. You can either be excited about it or you can bitch and moan about your age.

If you choose to bitch and moan about it, no one is going to want to spend your birthday with you. As a result, not only will you be unhappy, you’ll be alone.

If being alone and unhappy is not your preferred way to celebrate your birthday, then you are only left with

Get Older and Be Happy

What are your thoughts on birthdays? Any positive or negative experiences help influence your life?

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  • Tom McFeeley

    Thanks for the blog….and your positive approach to life. I'm approaching 40 (late next year) and I'm looking forward. Almost like a new start. Hoping for some clarity and a great decade!

  • Bob Snitchler

    Thanks for the kind words. I believe you can have a new start any time you want by simply choosing to do so. Each morning when you get up is a new opportunity!

  • Allison Nazarian

    I always wondered about people who lie about their age or make one of those milestone years ending in a “5” or “0” into such a big deal. We all get exactly the same number of hours in a day and days in a year. Last i checked, no one can stop time so, like you say, just go with it. It will come and go no matter how we receive it, so why not make it worthwhile, fun, happy and meaningful…right?
    Congrats on the blog!
    xo ~ Alli

  • Bob Snitchler

    Thanks, Allison. From reading your blog, I was positive that you are one of the folks who would 'get it'! I have started reading your book, Copywriting 101. I'll post comments when done. But, I think it will help me here!

  • Cr_darling2003

    Bob, I told some young men once that angry young men become bitter old men, your choice. It sounds like you made the right one.Happy Birthday from another 60

  • Bob Snitchler

    Chris, you're spot on! There are always choices. And our lives will be determined / defined by the choices we make. That's great advice for you to be passing on to the young 'uns!

  • Lisa Morosky

    This is such an awesome post, Bob. Life is to be celebrated, at all stages. And there's adventure to be had at all stages. Optimism is a powerful force – and I think it can really affect those around you positively. Happy birthday to you! And what a life you have to celebrate.

    Love this: “To me it’s easy. It comes down to a matter of choices. You are either going to turn 50 or you’re not. But, the only way to not turn 50 is to die before you get there – and I didn’t consider that a good choice.”

  • Bob Snitchler

    Thank you for such wonderful support, Lisa. As my About page says, I've been described as an 'insufferable optimist' multiple time. Your encouragement means a lot to me. I expect that you and James are just as optimistic when you get to my age.

  • Mike CJ

    I love this post. And it's topical for me – I turn 50 next year, and the thing that worries me the most?……being classed as a “veteran” in swim events!

  • Bob Snitchler

    Mike, you can at least celebrate the fact that you are able to swim competitively at age 50, regardless of your classification! There is Always a positive/bright side to look at! And, heck, you've got this 'old' guy coming to you for advice!