Updated: Apr 21, 2022
On April 21st, I will turn 60. To be honest, other than a couple of facts, it’s nicer looking at the grass from this side, and I am now eligible to wear a wetsuit at World Triathlon events for all swim distances; it’s not that great.
When I was little, my grandmother watched soap operas while working crossword puzzles from the comfort of her little sitting room, a Winston cigarette dangling from her lips as she puffed away on what would one day take her life. She would pause the puffing and crosswording only to take an occasional sip from her mostly-present Pabst Blue Ribbon. The soundtrack of one of those soap operas always played in my mind as a child and has never been far from me as I approached the age when my grandmother died. “Like sand through the hourglass, these are the days of our lives.”
Yep, sand through the hourglass. Unlike the hourglass, life can not near its end only to be restarted simply by turning it over. Things that never hurt before now become almost a comforting companion, serving as a reminder that, “I ain’t dead yet.” But even with exercise, diet, and healthy choices, the inevitability of sarcopenia lurks ahead.
In his poem, The Wasteland, T.S. Eliot opined that “April is the cruelest month.” He made this claim because April, with its burgeoning Spring, is a month for hope, and in the wasteland, hope is a terrible thing.
In that motif, hope can only lead to disappointment. Growing older does have some questionable benefits. I am now referred to as sir with great regularity by men old enough to have a family with children.
So what to do now that one finds oneself well past halftime in life in this “cruelest month” of April. For me, though, it is increasingly becoming clear that the old saying, “Getting older is not for sissies,” is patently true. Yet, I still hold on to hope. Live those grains of sand of life to the fullest!
Sometimes, it can be hard to count one’s blessings as we grow older. However, that is exactly what we must do. As a lifelong realist (some might say pessimist), this can sometimes challenge me. However, being married to a lifelong optimist helps.
How to live after 60 when another April only looms ahead? Facing the reality that the sands run through the glass for all and dwelling on that fact only robs us of the life we can have. So for me, I will embrace a few things:
Eliot’s claim will have to be laid aside.
Life is not a wasteland.
April is a time for holding on to hope.
Mark Turner (aka Coach MarkT) is a Houston, Texas Metro area based Coach who is a USA Triathlon Level II and Paratriathlon Certified Coach, IRONMAN University Certified Coach,VFS Certified Bike Fitter, and Mental Strengths Performance Coach. Coach MarkT absolutely loves coaching and helping the athletes achieve their dreams. MarkT is also a US Veteran having served in the United States Marine Corps. He is a graduate of the University of Houston Honors College with a Bachelor of Science in Political Science. In addition to endurance sports, his interests include history, science fiction, and cooking. He can be reached at markt@teamMPI.com.