60. Today I am 60. Six months ago I was freaking the frick out about turning 60. My grandfather had been dead of black lung disease for decades before he could turn 60. Tupac was dead 35 years before he could reach the big Six Oh. It seemed like most of my life was behind me, that I should be planning my funeral and writing my obituary instead of my next book, shopping for adult diapers and boner medicine instead of buying a new pair of skinny jeans.
I’m a softball addict. The first step is admitting you have a problem. In January a bunch of my softball nutjob friends rent out the soccer dome and start practicing for the upcoming season. We play Friday morning 9 AM. Of course at that hour it’s mostly old retired softball codgers, coots and coffin-dodgers. I took my turn hitting, and as is my wont, I whacked the ball around pretty good. When I finished, a bunch of ancient softball zombies stampeded toward me. Well, more tottered than stampeded – you could hear the metallic hips and knees clicking, clanking and clunking as they got closer. They all wanted to know if there was any chance I was turning 60 this year. I confessed that I was. One after the other the softball geezers tried to make a compelling case for why I should play on their team. They warned me that all the other captains of all the other teams were a bunch of one-foot-in-the-grave asswipe dirtbags. Suddenly I realized. I was the hot spring chicken studmuffin being feverishly recruited for Over-60 softball. Instantly my world changed. Instead of thinking about my funeral I was contemplating how I was going to dominate these old bastards, put my foot on their turkey wattle necks, smash their pacemakers and crush the life out of them. When you’re a softball addict, it gets no better than that.
It dawned on me that apart from wonky knee, my body is in great working order. I weigh the same as I did when I entered college a hundred years ago. I achieve wood without taking a pill. I’m no longer a slave to my penis. It’s now who’s a slave to me. Or rather, we work together with mutual respect and affection. I have a brilliant, lovely, talented, sexy wife, who for reasons unbeknownst to anyone, loves and adores me. I have a brilliant, lovely, talented, hysterically funny, slime-loving, fidget-spinning nine-year-old daughter for reasons unbeknownst to anyone, loves and adores me. But more than that, I feel a calmness, a peace, an enjoyment of life that I’ve never had. I don’t feel like I have to rush around everywhere. I can say No to people who invite me to stupid stuff I don’t want to go to. I have work that feeds my mind and soul. There’s always great food to eat. I have a house with a mancave hooked up to a giant TV where I can watch every movie or TV show ever made.
For reasons still unknown to me, when I was a teenager, I decided I’d like to live to be 120. Suddenly that seemed possible. In which case, I’m only halfway through. Imagine what I could do with my newfound peace and alleged wisdom in the next 60 years. One of my life goals is to be the fastest 100-year-old on the planet. Suddenly that too seemed possible. Yes, in our youth-obsessed culture, sometimes I do feel invisible. But I don’t care anymore. For most of my life I constantly compared myself to others. Naturally, being a rabid PTSD survivor, I always ended up with the fuzzy end of the lollipop. There was always someone smarter, more handsome, more sexy, more accomplished, more successful, just plain better. At 60 I find myself comparing myself to me. Am I the best person I can be? Am I making the world a better place? Am I helping out people less fortunate than myself? Am I being a great dad? A great husband? A great American? A great citizen of the world? But perhaps most importantly, a great softball player.
And that’s why I love turning 60.