If you've been keeping score and why on earth would you be? you'll note that I'm still more than a year away from my 60th birthday. While that sounds fairly momentous, it isn't really: 50 seemed a lot scarier, and I got through that without a whole lot of difficulty. Of course, I've had issues with both physical and fiscal health in the years since, but both spheres seem to have been stabilized, in the sense of "they're not getting any worse, anyway." And really, the only thing that's supposed to happen in one's sixties is retirement, and I don't anticipate anything of the sort taking place any time soon; on my actual 66th birthday, I expect to be at work, inasmuch as it's a farging Monday.

And no, I'm not worried about, as the British say, "being made redundant" between now and then; my workload has diminished a bit in recent years, but only a bit, and certainly not quite enough to drop me below my traditional 47-hour-per-week average. Perhaps more to the point, I'm doing it as well as I ever did. (If I screw something up, the very first thing I do is to inform anyone affected, so believe me, they'd know.) I push the envelope a little: there are still things I have to figure out on a 10-key, and about half the time I do the keying with my left hand, just to prove I can do it. I don't seem especially fast in southpaw mode, but this is because I am fairly speedy with the right; back when I was a temp doing miscellaneous office work, I used to break the 10,000-keystroke-per-hour benchmark on a regular basis, and I suspect I still can. If my nerves are shot, they're at least not getting in the way of productivity. I'm even less surly around the staff than I used to be, though I'm hesitant to call this an improvement.

There's a lot to be said for stability, and I've managed to acquire more of that in recent years. I've now been at the palatial estate at Surlywood for eight and a half years, which is not an enormous length of time, but it's longer than I've ever lived at any one address since, well, ever. The place needs a coat of paint and, frankly, a landscaping job, but neither of these strike me as particularly stress-inducing, except for the moment when I write the check. And I'm not doing weird things in my spare time, unless you think following Twitter or Rebecca Black or Zooey Deschanel or My Little Pony is weird. I figure, to the extent they're keeping my mind off things I'd rather not think about, they're doing me a genuine service.

The one Big Deal, of course, is when the Grim Reaper finally scores on me. So far, I'm doing a pretty good job of keeping him off base, but the scythe-wielding son of a bitch always bats last, and eventually there will be a last inning. Right now, the only little reminder of his presence is mathematical: unless I make it to a Guinness-worthy 120, which strikes me as unlikely, I'm on the downhill slope, and the wretched combination of gravity and trigonometry will make sure that at some point I start to accelerate. Still, I'm pretty good at denial, which, says Dr. Kübler-Ross, is Stage 1, and nobody says I have to take all five stages in order.

So here at fifty-eight and a fraction, I'm not sweating things. Much. I remind myself that I've predicted my demise several times, and so far I've been wrong every time. And once I'm right well, it won't matter so much, will it?

The Vent

  24 April 2012

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 Copyright © 2012 by Charles G. Hill