I have a birthday coming up later this month, and while it may not be one of the traditional “biggies,” it did get me thinking about the significance of landmark numbers in this journey through the transition from youth to my near-senior status and beyond. 

Just after you get out of diapers and are able to communicate effectively with your fellow humans, the countdown to important ages begins. When you are Pre-K age and still getting used to this brave new world, a thing called school appears on your horizon. It is a scary concept, but you are curious and ultimately you really don’t have a choice. Mom and/or Dad kick you out of the car and tell you to go through that door, have fun, and learn something today.

It all changes when you start bringing home those report cards and the years begin to click by; slowly at first, but rapidly becoming a blur. “I can’t wait until I am 18 and I can vote, buy a pack of cigarettes, and I will have the privilege of being able to die for my country,” becomes your mantra.

The next goal is turning 21, when you can finally have a beer without having to steal it from your uncle’s cooler. It is amazing to me that the government doesn’t trust you to have a cold one in the club with your friends until three years after they trust you to help select the leaders of our country, and/or carry a state-of-the-art weapon in another country, and they expect you to make good decisions on both of those fronts.

By the time you reach “Dirty Thirty,” you are expected by society to have completed college (check), started a career (check), and at least have a prospect for a spouse (check); that family is not going to start itself dude. I knew that I wanted to wait until I was thirty before I got married as early as high school in order to make sure that I made a good decision for the rest of my life, but my girlfriends in my twenties didn’t always understand my logic.

“Fabulous Forty” is when you start to feel some of the kinks in the machine that is your body. You have probably gotten married (check), at least once, (no check), and you may even have heirs to your throne in the picture (no check). The good news is that you now have enough life experience to make better life decisions; the bad news is that you are running out of time to use it.

Forget about Fifty, or “Black Friday” as I remember it. Hundreds of black balloons everywhere, tombstones with my name on them, paper skeletons, and a wheelchair greeted me at work that day.

My pending “Double-Nickel” status finds me closing in on “Senior Sixty.” Retirement and Social Security checks are coming soon? If I can afford to retire and the government has not bankrupted Social Security by then, I am kind of looking forward to that. Most of the Senior Discounts have kicked in at this point for restaurants, hotels, and ballgames; although that benefit is offset by the increase in aches and pains and the inevitable “medical condition” of some sort.

When you hit the “Seven-Ohhhh” if you haven’t started lying about, or bragging about your age at this point, it seems to me that you should consider it. You will either amuse people or impress them with your resiliency. “You look marvelous at your age” is something that I aspire to hear frequently if I am lucky enough to make it to “Seventy-Something.”

Hitting Eighty would be greaty, but I only have two relatives that I know of who have reached that plateau. 

By the time you reach your “Naughty Nineties” I’m sure that you are just thinking that you have to hold on until one-hundred and enjoy every day to the fullest.

Muy bueno if you make it to Cien (100). A century is a long time and truly an achievement worthy of celebration. 

A Buck Ten is not very likely, as Wikipedia estimates that there are only between 150 and 600 living people who have reached the age of 110 currently. Not great odds when you divide that by the 7.53 BILLION folks who were living on the planet in 2017. 

I heard on NPR radio this past weekend that the Guinness World Record team announced a 116 year-old Japanese woman as the world’s oldest living person as of Saturday. I verified it on CBSNEWS.com, because you can’t trust any single source nowadays. I probably should have triple-checked it, but “Ain’t nobody got time for that?”

On some of those mornings when the alarm goes off at 4 a.m. and I am looking at a 12 hour workday with an aching back and throbbing feet, I ponder what it might be like to go back to a time when I couldn’t vote and didn’t smoke, but life was a simpler adventure without so many responsibilities and ailments. But then I remember what my mother used to tell me all the time, “This time next year it will all be different.” 

Wonderful words of wisdom; THANKS MOM!

Charlie Roome can be reached at c.roome@winnemuccapublishing.net.