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5 Dozen Candles

Updated on August 25, 2013
Hawaiian Odysseus with Pua (niece), Kalau (grand-nephew),  Kathleen (sister), About to Embark on Crabbing Boat in Newport, Oregon
Hawaiian Odysseus with Pua (niece), Kalau (grand-nephew), Kathleen (sister), About to Embark on Crabbing Boat in Newport, Oregon | Source

In the Twinkling of an Eye

When I was two years old, it took an entire lifetime to get to four.

At the age of twelve, sixteen and the opportunity to get a driver's license seemed like an eternity away.

At twenty-four, running five to ten miles a day, my mind and body buoyed by amicable endorphins, forty was as far away and as foreign to me as Jupiter.

At forty, then fifty, long after I'd outgrown the Peter Pan syndrome as well as the svelte thirty-inch waist, and longer yet after the dial on the bathroom scale settled like a sleek Lamborghini in the parking lot of 154, I began giving more serious thought to Einstein's theory of relativity.

Or at least my take on it.

Time punctuates the notion that everything is relative. That's right, friends, it's all relative. And it seems, at least from the metaphorical beach I'm standing on today, that the relatives are moving faster and faster.

A few days ago, another chronological tick resounded like one of Quasimodo's massive bells in my head. And while my novice attempts to utilize the Law of Attraction compelled me to pay due diligence to my daily affirmations, I could not help but feel a twinge of sadness.

I had turned sixty.

Aging

We chase after age until we come upon it...only to then make a futile attempt to run from it.

Ah, 60. It seems that I encountered you oh, so quickly.

So what am I going to do about it?

Actually, I'm very thankful and blessed to have reached this major milestone in my life. Truly, as I unravel some of the rusty reels of film footage that have taken up dormant Rip Van Winkle residency in my brain, I can remember close calls in my life--illnesses, accidents, and a handful of other dangerous situations--each of which could have spelled an early exit for me.

So, from that perspective, then, I'm glad I'm sixty. In fact, I'm surprised that I've made it this far.

But like Captain Hook's hypervigilance for a ticking clock signalling the near proximity of a hungry saltwater crocodile, I'm sensitively attuned to the beating of my own Big Ben.

Aging is one thing. But aging with dignity , now there's the challenge!

Fishing at Kahalani Beach on Kaua'i
Fishing at Kahalani Beach on Kaua'i | Source

Of the following, what is your top Bucket List choice?

See results

Transitioning Joyfully into the Autumn and Winter of My Life

So how does one go about aging gracefully?

Every individual will find their own way. The following is just a brief outline of my strategy, wisdom I've gleaned from my reading, watching, listening, conversations, and moments of inspiration. The main thing is that it works for me.

  • Be good to yourself. A decade or so ago, I discovered a truth. The universe will keep presenting me with the same life lesson until I finally learn it. Whenever you find the same challenging theme continually baffling you, take a step back and try to be as objective as you can. Is there a lesson to be learned? Finding that lesson and learning from it is part and parcel of being good to yourself.
  • Be good to others. Hold on now! Isn't that backwards? Actually, no. A person struggling with inner conflict will not be able to be genuinely good to others.

We could actually stop with these two gems. The following could actually be sub-categories of the above dynamic duo. But for the sake of detail and as a smoother transition to the conclusion of this piece, I'm including them as separate concepts.

  • Do what you love to do. I work for myself on eBay (and alternative venues). Having the best boss in the world who drives me like a dog but pampers me like a kitten, and sincerely loving the work I'm involved in and the people that I meet along the way, provide me with the opportunity and the unabashed freedom to do other things I enjoy...like drafting two Hubs simultaneously at 2:34 on a Wednesday afternoon. I could never do that at my past traditional jobs.
  • Say what you need to say. When I first came to the mainland USA from the islands, I used to--I kid you not--mentally plot out what I was going to say before raising my hand in college classes to comment or ask a question. I was ashamed of my pidgin English accent, my minority status, and the color of my skin. To say that I've made a few strides in establishing a healthy self-esteem would be putting it mildly. Long story short, I'm happy to have the best of both worlds--I can mix and mingle adeptly with the educated elite of any race, and I can easily be at home with the laid back and pacific rhythm of the island ways. Simply put, life is too short to live less than truthfully.
  • Don't take yourself too seriously. I'm a devout believer in living The Secret . I'm constantly visualizing myself with abundance, prosperity, and philanthropical charity. You could say I'm a throwback to James Thurber's Walter Mitty. My very presence here on HubPages is the result of fantasizing about being a great writer. I can shoot three point baskets with my eyes closed because I see it happening before I actually propel the pent-up energy with my strong legs and guide the ball with the pre-established muscle, tendon, and nerve memory of my shoulder, arm, and fingers. If I were to take myself seriously, I would constantly be riding hard on the brakes whenever approaching life's many bends. I'd forever be second-guessing, questioning, and censoring my ability to be fluid and graceful and decisive. An effective counter for taking oneself seriously? Try this affirmation on for size: Today, I will look my boogeyman square in the eyes and see him for the coward that he is.

Of Don Quixote and Modern Day Windmills

I don't know about you, but I'm willing to be a modern day Don Quixote. An easy, superficial read of Miguel de Cervantes' protagonist would paint the knight errant as a delusional, misguided idealist. Personally, I see something else. I see a spirited individual who believes in a cause...so strongly, in fact, that he is willing to die for it.

At 60 years of age, or whatever point of time you happen to be at, you've long since gathered up enough information to know what you want. Fear no longer fits into any of your equations, and censorship is best left for the pompous and grouchy.

Just a few days before turning 60, I found myself at the entrance to the California Screamin' roller coaster ride at Disney California Adventure theme park. This was my very first time at the popular theme park, and I had never been on a roller coaster in my life.

Several posted signs cautioned against anyone going on the ride who had heart problems, high blood pressure, arthritis, and other ailments. As I read the warning sign, I mentally ticked off every single health condition listed. Yep, I have that...this one, too...um-hmm, been there, done that. You know, whoever made this sign must've seen my medical chart. In fact, I think they saw me coming and posted this sign right where they knew I'd bump into it. Hmm, what do I do?

My wife gave me an anxious look...you know, the one that asks, "You're not seriously thinking about going on this ride, are you?"

In the two seconds it took for me to look at the long line forming in front of us, I observed that none of the hundreds of people that I saw there, including my 25-year-old son and 19-year-old daughter, were anywhere near the age of sixty. Which left me with only one return look for my wife...you know, the one that replies,

"Okay, then, I'm good to go!"

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  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
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    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    @Karen Hellier

    Thank you, Karen! And since we have the same birthday, no excuse this coming July for either of us to forget! : ) I may never be able to get my six-pack back, but I'm definitely working hard on getting back into shape...might be that of a pear, or a peach, or a doughnut, but at least it's a shape! LOL!

  • Karen Hellier profile image

    Karen Hellier 4 years ago from Georgia

    Somehow I missed this hub. Since that seems like a recent picture, I must say you are looking pretty spry for your age! I am impressed. And what great advice you have shared with the rest of the world about aging. If everyone took your advice, the world would be full of happy and fulfilled people! Happy belated birthday to you!

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
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    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    @benisan85745

    Howzit, Ka'imi'loa! You have a wonderful name, bruddah! I believe HubPages will be blessed with the special island flavor you bring to the table. No one else that I know of is doing the "talk story" thing, so that would be a terrific, unique niche to introduce. And the little that I've learned tells me that the Hubbers with unique niches are doing well. Mahalo for sharing a bit of your soul whenever you drop by for a Hub visit.

  • benisan85745 profile image

    Ka'imi'loa 4 years ago from Tucson, AZ.

    A belated, Hauoli la Hanau to you ku'u ohana, as a man 19 years your minor, I relate to you on the whole mainland experience and trying your HARDEST not slip and let the pidgin come out. My father, hated the fact that we spoke "kanaka", like a bunch of uneducated fools. Luck would have it that I was at least blessed with an "English" middle name, and coincidently its also your bruddahs name : Charlie. The reason I say blessed, is because the teachers could never pronounce Ka'imi'loa, and believe me, I have heard that name butchered to the point as a child, I wish I was never named that...not to mention the teasing I'd get how "musical" the tone of my voice seemed, as if I were in constant questioning mode. As I learn how to navigate my way around Hub Pages, I'll let people in and show the true meaning of "Aloha Spirit" in the fine art of Talk-Story

    Me ka `oia`i`o ( with sincerity)

    Ka'imi'loa

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
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    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    @rebeccamealey

    Hello to a resident of the state that alphabetically precedes Hawai'i! Thanks for stopping by and for sharing your wonderful comments. Like you, as I gauge my own mortality against the backdrop of past experiences and relationships, my thoughts gravitate to Dad and Mom as well as my siblings. Life is a constant balancing act between truly realizing how insignificant we are in comparison to the vastness of the universe and truly appreciating the immense difference we can make. When I consider the recent tragedies making headlines, my earnest prayer is that we each choose a legacy of having learned to make differences for the better. It's been nice sharing with you. Aloha!

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
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    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    @ChristyWrites

    Hi, Christy! Yes, the cliche, "If I knew then what I know now..." bears more genuine respect and meditation than it's generally given. What I graciously tell myself is that THIS VERY MOMENT is a great place for me to start appreciating the life I've been blessed with and the age that I am! Thanks for faithfully following as well as leading.

  • rebeccamealey profile image

    Rebecca Mealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

    My Dad use to fuss at me for "wishing my life away." I do so what to travel ! I have a cancer policy that I can cash in at age 75 for 8K provided I have not used it. I am shooting for that day to take a huge trip with every last dime of it. I even quit smoking to earn that reward. Thanks for the article, love your bucket list!

  • ChristyWrites profile image

    Christy Birmingham 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

    How interesting and insightful. In particular I like the lines that we run toward age and then run away from it!! Yes, you hit that point on its head :)

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Mahalo, Hawaiian Scribe! So good to hear from you again. I've been thinking about you from time to time and wondering how you were doing. I'm glad to hear that you got to visit ohana recently. 1952 was a good year, yeah? Anyway, I think it's awesome that you will be going back to school. I really admire you for that. My guess is that you'll do very well because of the maturity and more anchored motivation. Good for you!

    There was a long break in my writing because of vacation...and then you know how it is, the vacation from vacation that follows that. But now it's time to get back into the rhythm of things once again.

    Thanks for stopping by and reading my Hub. I wish you the very best, HS! Aloha!

  • Hawaiian Scribe profile image

    Stephanie Launiu 4 years ago from Hawai'i

    What a wonderful hub! I've been visiting kids and grandkids on the mainland and just trying to get caught up on being back home again. As I was going through my emails, I was greeted by a notice from hubpages about writers that I'm following and was delighted to read your enlightened article. I'll be facing the five dozen candles in October. I just finished registering to go back to school, something I've always wanted to do but never got done during my "overflowing nest" years. So at 60, I'll be facing off with kids the age of my granddaughter who just graduated from high school. Should make for some interesting hubs! Anyway, "hauoli la hanau" and may you have many, many more. Aloha no.. Voted up, awesome, beautiful, interesting.

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Thank you, wetnosedogs! We had our youngsters later in life, and so we've been blessed with their youthful energy. Along with Kona the cat, they keep us young.

    I really admire you for your passion for reading, especially the good mysteries. There has got to be a future book incubating inside of you, and the main characters might look and act a lot like Roscoe, Felix, and company. : ) You just never know, wnd!

  • wetnosedogs profile image

    wetnosedogs 4 years ago from Alabama

    Happy 60! I like your attitude. You and your family are braver than me. I'd rather bury my face in a book than face a roller coaster. But that's just me. Glad you had fun and was able to spend a grand time with your family.

    I'm 62, not doing what I want to do yet, but maybe in a few years.

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    @kashmir56

    Hi, there! As much fun as we had on our vacation, it's great to be back home. There was so much eBay work to catch up on, bills to pay, etc., but now that I can see some daylight, I'm back on HubPages and rarin' to go. Now that I've turned 60, I have some goals I'd like to meet, specific to writing and especially regarding the fun involvement here on HP. As much as I love to write, I enjoy even better the wonderful people--like you--that I'm meeting on this outstanding site. God bless you, and have a great day!

  • kashmir56 profile image

    Thomas Silvia 4 years ago from Massachusetts

    Hi my friend enjoyed reading your beautiful hub ! Hope you enjoyed a awesome sixtieth birthday and had great fun. I just turned 58 in July so i know what you are talking about but for me i would have went on the roller coaster and enjoyed riding it all day long, but that's just me .

    Vote up and more !!! Have a awesome weekend my friend !

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    @ the girls

    Good morning! You're up early! But so am I because my cat, Kona, wanted out in the worst way. On the way back to bed, I thought I'd check in on HubPages. So glad I did because I found your kind comments. Thank you so much! Just spent the last few minutes reading and commenting on one of your articles. Great work! What a joy to be able to connect and share with fellow writers on this terrific literary site. You'll be hearing from me from time to time. Best regards and wishes for continued success here on HP!

  • the girls profile image

    the girls 4 years ago from Los Angeles, California

    Inspiring article hawaiianodysseus! The secret to your happiness is simple and free :-)

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    @Rosie2010

    Hey, Rosie! Yes, these are recent photos, and I thank you for the compliment as well as for stopping by. The roller coaster ride as well as as all the other challenging rides were great fun, and on the second go at that roller coaster, I was proud of my wife for joining our adult kids and me. It's been a very busy year, and so the vacation was a much-needed battery charger, that's for sure. When we got back, there was all this eBay stuff to do. Now that I've "taken a vacation from the vacation," so to speak, I can once again do some writing. Isn't HubPages the greatest? Good night! (Although you'll probably read this in the morning since you're three hours ahead of Washington state.)

  • Rosie2010 profile image

    Rosie Rose 4 years ago from Toronto, Canada

    Hiya Hawaiian Odysseus, belated 60th birthday! If those are your recent photos, you're looking good, old dude. :D Well, was your very first roller coaster ride a blast? I enjoyed reading your hub and thanks for all the wonderful advice on how to age gracefully. Sounds like a plan to me. Voted up. Cheers!

    Have a nice day,

    Rosie

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