Oops, today is the big one. My 40th birthday was all about celebration (a trip to Bermuda). My 50th was fun, too, if a little more downbeat because 50 sounded a bit daunting. Now, as time seems to move faster (is there a law of relativity that applies?) with every decade, I have hit the 6-0 milestone. Am I over the hill? Or has the hill already receded into my rearview mirror?
My primary consolation is that millions of other babyboomers will soon be joining me in our seventh decade. A few are there ahead of me.
I was born during those hopeful post-World War II years when our parents were busy makin’ whoopee and reproducing, stimulated by the economic rebound that followed the defeat of Nazi Germany and the U. S.’s emergence as a world-class power. I had an older half-sister, born to my mother during her pre-war first marriage, but I was the eldest of the 3 babyboomers whom my Mum and Dad produced together.
We grew up in relative peace and security, in the wonderful old Victorian house near the center of Winchester, Ma., a suburb of Boston. The first three years of my life had been spent in an apartment in Cambridge, but the move to the suburbs became possible as my dad’s continued studies at Harvard Business School (MBA and doctorate) improved his job prospects. Dad had grown up relatively poor, son of a divorced mother who had been obligated to work. My own mother, formerly a school teacher, didn’t need to work after I was born; indeed I don’t think any of the mothers in our neighborhood had jobs.
In those days, we knew all our neighbors. My parents socialized with the other grown-ups who lived nearby, and the neighborhood kids played together after school and from dawn to dusk during the endless lazy summers.
In the early 50s we had a TV, which was kind of a big deal, and several old radio sets from the 30s and 40s that still worked. Radio (AM only) remained essential. My dad played his swing music on the gramophone, although he soon obtained, to his great delight, a new Hi-Fi, with separate speakers and a record player that could twirl a whole stack of vinyl records. When I turned 12 in 1960, my birthday present from my parents was a battery-powered transistor radio, which was about 8 inches by 3 inches by 1 inch and came encased in a maroon covering. Transistors had replaced the mammoth vacuum tubes that filled the inside of radios and TVs in the 50s. I could carry my new radio around and hold it up to my ear — it was absolutely the coolest thing.
Wow, this stuff sounds like ancient history to me now, and I was there. Scary thought.
Today, for my 60th, I asked for and received an iPod Touch, to replace my former iPod. I think I’m just as excited about it as I was about my maroon transistor radio. Via our wireless connection, I was able to get my email, surf, check Twitter, Google Earth, and the blogosphere, and watch my favorite Turkish soap opera on Youtube, all while listening to the Rolling Stones in the background.
And the really good news? I’ve lost another couple of pounds and can fit into my skinny jeans!
I’m psyched! My 60s are going to be fun!
This article was written by Linda
Hey Linda, i didn’t know it was your bday >.< but it was so great to read about you on here. Your an amazing writer who knows how to walk the line of comedy and seriousness in the same post. =) I’m so happy we met, and hope you had a happy, safe, and wonderful birthday.
OMG, Luka! This is my real Guild leader, folks, who usually knows me by the name of Willow, or Philippa, or River, or Jed, depending on which alt I’m playing in Guild Wars. Thanks for visiting, my dear friend, and thanks for commenting. Smooch!
Happy belated birthday! I turn 50 in June and I don’t know yet what I will be doing. I like big parties.
Hi, Linda. I read your novel Leaves of Fortune 18 years ago and it was a photocopy of the original of my roommate as reading materials for university students. We surely could not afford a book priced in US dollars then. I love it so much and all these years I am always thinking to translate it into Chinese and am always worrying someone else will do it. Sorry I did nothing. Happy birthday to you. I am going to 40 this September. Now I am studying in Athens, Greece and will be back Beijing in July doing my job of translating and editing in a publishing house. Will visit your blog every day in future.
Hi we share the same day one year apart. I am turning sixty 3/20/09 born in 49…