Published on: November 6, 2014
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Hi, I'm Kevin Coupe and this is FaceTime with the Content Guy.
This morning, I'd like to ask for your indulgence as I go a little off the whole news-in-context-analysis-with-attitude reservation…
So, as many of you know, I had a birthday this week. Sort of a big one. I turned 60. I know you know it because Michael mentioned it in his column on Tuesday, and because I got a staggering amount of email about it, not to mention a bunch of notes from people on Facebook.
(I know that, doing what I do for a living, I probably should be less amazed by what happens on Facebook. But I still am. I got birthday wishes from Paul Alessi, with whom I went to high school and have not seen since 1972, and from Theresa Gusmorino and Jay O. Sanders, with whom I went to acting school in 72-73. This just totally rocks my boat.)
I want to thank you all for the notes and good wishes. Being part of the MNB community has been a great gift, and this week served to yet again remind me of that.
Now, I have to be honest. Hanging out with friends over the weekend, I was in a pretty good mood about turning 60. I figured that it was better to embrace it than moan about it, because, when you think about it, turning 60 certainly beats the only alternative. But on Monday night, during the last few hours of my fifties, I got a little cranky. Not entirely sure why, except that even though 60 is just a number, it is still a pretty big number. And as I think many of us feel that as we get older, for some reason time picks up speed. There are no u-turns, no rest stops.
I thought about my mom, who only made it into her late sixties, and my sister, who died this summer still in her mid-fifties. I thought of friends of mine who have endured a variety of ailments. I thought of funerals I've been to…yeah, it was that kind of night. I found myself thinking of the old Woody Allen line: "Life is full of misery, loneliness and suffering. And it's all over much too soon."
That was the night before my birthday. On November 4, I got up and did MNB. I jogged four miles. Had lunch with my kids. Did some more writing during the afternoon. Had dinner and birthday cake with my family. It was a good day, with no time for thinking about rest stops or u-turns or any of that other stuff.
I did, however, find myself thinking about the lines that Jason Robards, as Ben Bradlee, said to Woodward and Bernstein towards the end of All The President's Men:
"You guys are probably pretty tired, right? Well, you should be. Go on home, get a nice hot bath. Rest up... 15 minutes. Then get your asses back in gear."
I think that's pretty smart advice. Because what matters is not rest stops, but staying in gear, staying in motion, keeping momentum.
There's lots to do. In just a few weeks, I'll be celebrating 13 years of MNB. I'm thinking that it is going to be at least another seven, and maybe another 12. Or more.
Because the real lesson of turning 60 is that numbers don't matter, or that at least we should delude ourselves on this point. I always say that my dad, who was an elementary school principal, only got old when he retired. Before that, he used to spend lunchtimes on the playground, playing stickball or basketball with the kids while the teachers were eating lunch. Staying in gear, staying in motion, keeping momentum.
I was talking to my brother, Tim, about how I kind of got morose during my last few hours in my fifties, and he said something that was one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me. "I wouldn't worry," he said. "You seem like you're always getting your money's worth."
I like that. I'm not sure it always is true, but it definitely seems like exactly the right goal.
Staying in gear, staying in motion, keeping momentum.
That's what's on my mind this Thursday morning. As always, I want to hear what is on your mind.
- KC's View: