Weekend essay: A Scotsman at 60

Weekend essay: A Scotsman at 60

As a kind growing up in rural Ohio, beginning at around age 8, I used to play a numbers game each June 20, my birthday.

“Let’s see,” I’d calculate. “Eight years ago I was zero; eight years from now, I’ll be 16.”

Nine became 18. Ten became 20. Fifteen became 30 and so forth.  And in this silly doubling game, continued far beyond childhood, 30 became 60, where the count on the tree rings now stands.

And, no, I’m not going there.

Given the life expectancy of McNickle men over two centuries – from 73 to 81 – I put that game to rest upon turning 37, waaaay back in 1995.

Now, save for a 25th birthday in which, at a local watering hole, I spied my newly 18-year-old “little” neighbor partaking of her first pub beer, no birthday ever really bothered me.

And turning 60, as came to pass this past week, has not bothered me, per se. But it has caused me to pause and to take stock.

Change, of course, is a constant in life. It’s how we embrace and manage it that makes all the difference. And things haven been changing more rapidly than ever for this once recidivist slow-mover, personally and professionally.

But it’s all pretty exciting.

There are plenty of good people, new friends and old.

There’s wonderful travel, abroad and in revisiting old haunts.

And then there are those moments in old familial places that, while forcing the question “Where did the time go?” also serve as a prod to beat the age expectation odds and raise the art of living to new heights.

“Our birthdays are feathers in the broad wing of time,” it once was written. And for this year-older Scotsman, that 60th feather is just the beginning to make time’s wing ever broader — which should deliver plenty of lift and some welcome oomph.

Colin McNickle is a senior fellow and media specialist at the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy (cmcnickle@alleghenyinstitute.org).