Metro-East Living

Turning 60’s not so bad, even when you realize no one’s been paying attention

Terry Mackin
Terry Mackin Provided

Looking Forward, through life’s rearview mirror ...

“When you’re 20, you care what everyone thinks. When you’re 40 you stop caring what everyone thinks. When you’re 60, you realize no one was ever thinking about you in the first place.”

I came across this quote a few years ago while on Facebook. It was attributed to Winston Churchill. I saved it for the inevitable day ahead when I would be turning 60 years old.

At the time, it didn’t sound like a Winston Churchill quote. But to be honest, I would not know a Churchill quote if I heard or read one. Another history lesson ignored in school. Winston Churchill? Hmmm. Old, chubby guy. Wore a bow tie and hat. Looked like the mayor of Mayberry on the “Andy Griffith Show.”

In hindsight, just paying attention to a quote by Winston Churchill is a symbol of my stage in life. I used to memorize quotes and lyrics from cool guys like Lennon, McCartney, Dylan, Chapin, Springsteen, Petty, Morrison and Seger. Now I’m paying attention to quotes from Winston Churchill about growing old. Humbling.

Last week, I learned from social media that Churchill never said the quote to begin with. Yes. A bogus report on social media. Shame on me. I should have known better.

The Churchill quote on Facebook is a good metaphor for where life is today.

What’s fact or fiction?

What’s the source?

Who said that?

Winston Churchill said it.

No he didn’t, really.

I’m “Old School.”

Better to get it right than get it first.

So here I am, turning 60 years old today, July 14. Still wondering what I want to be when I grow up. Playing golf and riding my bike. Never going to run in a marathon or win a dance contest. Still stare out the window and daydream a lot.

Good news is I’m not shrinking yet.

Bad news is I’m not shrinking yet.

It’s a good life. Lucky. Blessed. Great family and friends. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to have the Blues hoist the Stanley Cup and a parade down Market Street. It was better than I ever dreamed.

It doesn’t seem like 10 years ago I sat in Busch Stadium III for the Major League All-Star Game on July 14, 2009, my 50th birthday. I’ve been to two MLB All Star games, in 1966 and 2009. I’d love to be around for a third.

I’ve learned, as you age, worry doesn’t fade or disappear. Will my kids have a fair chance to get ahead in life? I worry about the divisiveness in our country. What about a day when I really can’t find my keys, wallet, cell phone, or car in the Target parking lot?

I wonder if baseball has changed, or have I have changed, or both? Strikeouts and home runs. Six fielders on the right side. Arch angles. The ball is not in play enough. It’s boring.

I am forever grateful I grew up in the best era to grow up. Freedom. Security. Mississippi River festivals. Sandlot baseball. Bad haircuts but great music. Fortunately, there were no camera phones or Facebook to record our shenanigans.

We didn’t know any better, right?

I figure it’s not a bad time to be 60, either. I am fortunate to have the opportunity. Too many of my friends have been denied the privilege of growing old. Donny. Charlie. Dumper. Leo. Butch. Dwid. Darrell. Bergie. Bless them.

If my life was a game, I’d be entering the fourth quarter. As my old Althoff Catholic High School football coach Glenn Schott said, “Games are won in the fourth quarter, gentlemen.”

Back to where we started, with the quote that was said but never said by Winston Churchill.

Churchill would not have said it because he was smarter than that. I don’t remember much about turning 20 or 40. Twenty seems like forever ago. But it seems like yesterday.

Forty was all about parenthood and youth sports and crazy parents and making sure I was not one of them. But when you are 60, you realize you are not the center of attention. That’s a good thing. But you are well aware of those around who think of you often and mean most to you. All the others don’t matter much anymore.