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The Big Six-Oh

Yes, it's true. I was born on September 20, 1948. Which means that today I reach the big six-oh. I know, I know, sixty is the new forty. Somehow it still feels like the old sixty. Dare I eat a peach?

"It beats the alternative," I hear people saying. People always say that when one complains about aging and its indignities. These people lack imagination, I say. Clearly they can't be science fiction and fantasy fans. The only way getting old beats the alternative is if the alternative is dying... but after a lifetime of reading SF, I yearn for other alternatives, like eternal youth and health.

Inside, at least, I don't feel all that different than I did at twenty-five. Yesterday I was a young turk, today I seem to have become a grey eminence. That has its good points, of course. But so did being twenty-five.

Ah, well. I shouldn't complain. It's been an interesting ride so far, and I am hoping to continue for another sixty years at least. I've got my health, I'm financially secure, I love my work, I have more readers than I ever dreamed of having, I have great friends both old and new... and of course I have Parris. (I love you, honey). I'm a lucky guy. Hell, the Giants even won the Superbowl.

And now that I'm sixty, I am legally entitled to be a Cranky Old Phart. I've buying myself a cane to shake at people, and learning how to growl, "Hey, you kids, get out of my yard!"


( 297 comments — Leave a comment )
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Sep. 21st, 2008 01:10 pm (UTC)
Happy B-day
Well, Happy B-day! Don't feel bad about the cranky part. I'm creeping up on thirty and I'm already thinking about that cane.

Go Giants! Better beat up on the Bengals today!
Sep. 21st, 2008 01:18 pm (UTC)
I'll join the throngs in wishing you a happy birthday
Happy Birthday (a day late in my case).

As far as views of aging go, I've always had a skewed perspective. When I was younger, I looked older. No complaints there. There's something liberating about being offered a credit card by people in mall kiosks when you're 12. But as I grew older I continued to look older than I was and then I began to act older. Adults had this strange habit of telling me to act my age. The problem being that they were telling me to act the age I looked not the age I was. In my late teens I looked and acted like I was in my twenties.

Now I look about the age I really am but I'm in a line of work that values age over youth. I am a professor of mathematics. I am still convinced that I am the youngest full-time faculty member at the institution where I work. My students often try to guess my age. They usually add ten years on for their own personal comfort. They can't conceive of an instructor at a college being my age. These students, who for the most part are straight out of high school, have always had teachers who were significantly older than they were. And, well, I am about the same age as my colleague's children so it's no wonder they think I should be older.

A year or two ago I decided I was tired of being forced into an age group that I didn't belong in. I decided that those people who say, "You are as old as you choose to be," were right. I've been having a grand time just living and trying to see things as a child might. There's a lot to be said for looking at the world with a sense of wonder. There's a lot to be said for slowing down when the world is trying to pull you along in its undertow. I don't care if my students think I'm older than I really am. I've turned it into a statistics problem for them to solve. And my colleagues who are twice my age? I think they see me as the chance to connect to their children in a way they never really could.

Life should be about having fun. So have fun shaking that cane at people. I have a friend who prefers to sit in a rocking chair on his front porch with a shotgun in his lap, swearing at the people who drive too fast down the road. Have fun because you might as well enjoy yourself while you wait for that eternal youth and health alternative to be invented (just be keep an eye peeled for that moral catch that always comes bundled with it).
Sep. 21st, 2008 01:59 pm (UTC)
Silver lining
well, look at the bright side if you make it 15 more years you may actually get that eternal life alternative, at least according to discovery channel
Sep. 21st, 2008 02:12 pm (UTC)
Happy birthday! I wish you many happy returns of the day, many more years of joyful writing, and many more Giants superbowls!
Sep. 21st, 2008 02:18 pm (UTC)
Happy Birthday from Italy, uncle George!
Sep. 21st, 2008 02:42 pm (UTC)
Ooooh, just read this now. Happiest belated birthday wishes! ^___^
Sep. 21st, 2008 02:48 pm (UTC)
Happy Birthday!!!!
Sep. 21st, 2008 02:56 pm (UTC)
The Big 6-0
I can fairly well appreciate what you are going through, my 5-0 is only weeks away, not quite th same, but still a big milestone. You are right however, getting older sucks. High colestoral, high blood pressure, hemmoroids, just to mention some effects. All that being eqal, hope you had a special day. Just for the record, be happy as a Giants fan, you could be a 21 year season ticket holder of the Dolphins (like me!).
Sep. 21st, 2008 02:59 pm (UTC)
Happy birthday!
Sep. 21st, 2008 03:13 pm (UTC)
You can add "Feliz Cumpleaños" to the list-of-"happy birthday"-expressions-in-several-languages :D

Have a dinner with some friends, get some gifts (maybe some books?) or a spa session :D and enjoy one day more in the life

P.S. Well I had a blog, but I am spanish and my account is in blogspot, so this is only to comment in your blog :)
Sep. 21st, 2008 03:17 pm (UTC)
Penblwydd Hapus!
Sep. 21st, 2008 03:20 pm (UTC)
Happy birthday

Side note, I just find it amusing to think of you yelling, "get off my lawn", I half imagine you shaking your fist at the various trolls that show up here.
Sep. 21st, 2008 03:29 pm (UTC)
Happy Birthday George. Here's to another 60 years that are even better and more full of adventure and creativity.

(My birthday is also on Sept 20th, but I'm pretty sure you had a better time than I did this year-- my husband moved out yesterday. :( Oh well, there's always next year!)
Sep. 21st, 2008 03:31 pm (UTC)
Happy birthday!
Sep. 21st, 2008 03:31 pm (UTC)
Happy Birthday! To another sixty years of health and peace.

Cheers :)
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( 297 comments — Leave a comment )


George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

Latest Month

April 2018



  • 5 Mar 2018, 19:17
    Still working on that. When we have a final, I will share it.
  • 5 Mar 2018, 05:32
    All the Wild Cards books under Tor have had absolutely stellar covers. I'd frame them and hang them on my wall if I could.
  • 4 Mar 2018, 03:28
    Are all these examples digital artwork? It doesn't look like traditional oil on canvas. I miss the fantasy/sci-fi covers of the '70s and '80s. Even the paperbacks had amazing covers.
  • 3 Mar 2018, 17:49
    Whatever anyone can get their hands on is, I suspect, the right answer.

    At the last party, it was an open bar with pretty much everything you can imagine on offer. There were some special drinks as…
  • 3 Mar 2018, 00:07
    Any chance you could tell us who’s doing the cover art for Fire and Blood? And maybe when we can expect a glimpse of it. Thank you!
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