One of those milestone birthdays is coming up in a few months, and I already have begun compiling a list of how Things Are Going To Be Different Around Here Now That I’m 60.
Here’s what I have so far:
No more broccoli on my plate, ever. On this I am in complete agreement with former President George H.W. Bush, who made a similar declaration, although I believe he waited until he was 64 to enact his broccoli ban.
“I do not like broccoli,” he said. “And I haven’t liked it since I was a little kid, and my mother made me eat it. And I’m president of the United States, and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli.”
I didn’t often agree with the man, but when he’s right, he’s right. And on this one he’s right.
Except for broccoli salad. I kind of like broccoli salad. No word on what former President Bush thinks about broccoli salad — you know, the one with the slightly sweet dressing and the sunflower seeds and all — but his ban seemed pretty absolute, so I’m guessing he’s against it.
No more arguing about politics. It’s tiring, and it never really changes anything. I got into a big political argument with an old pal at a high school reunion a few years back. When we started, I thought he was a crackpot, and he thought I was a loon. When we finished, we still felt exactly the same way. And it’s not like three hours of bickering made a bit of difference in how things are. So from now on I’m avoiding it.
Except maybe for online. Online you can say anything you want, no matter how outlandish, and for every idiot who opposes you there will be one who agrees. You can get them arguing with each other while you go off and do something else.
More fun. I realize this one’s a little hard to define because my notion of what is fun tends to change fairly often. One day it’s playing the ukulele. The next day it’s reorganizing my toy tractor collection.
But my notion of what is not fun is pretty constant, so I guess I’ll start from there. The bottom line is someone else can do the weeding after I’m 60. The lawn mowing too. Unless I get one of those fancy self-propelled mowers. I’ll keep mowing the lawn if that happens. They look kind of fun.
More vacations. I just don’t get out enough. Never have. I’ve always been kind of a homebody, and I’d like that to change. I’ve got a frequent flier number, and I intend to use it. But not too much. Home’s comfortable. Airplanes are not.
And finally, after I am 60 I will: Stop worrying so much.
The nice thing about getting up to a certain time of life is that you have lots to look back on, which can be instructive. What I see is a person who had spent way too much of his life worrying about things that were completely out of his grasp. Money, for example. The point is, worry is a waste of time. Like arguing, it changes nothing. Like pulling weeds, it’s no fun. Like broccoli, it leaves a bad taste in your mouth.
I can’t wait for my birthday so I can get started. Oh, well. October will get here soon enough, I suppose. Meanwhile, there’s yard work to do.
Mike Redmond is an author, journalist, humorist and speaker. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.