You’re Gonna Be 60 Anyway

Exploring the varied significance of “100,” I discover meaning for myself, at least, in having written 100 blogs.


 

One hundred.  In paper money, we call it a C-note (from the Roman numeral), or a Benjamin (it’s an American thing), or a bill (for those who have so many on their hands that they need a short name, perhaps).  In cents, it’s a whole loonie; in percent it’s the whole shebang.

One hundred.  In kilometres per hour it’s a decent speed for a city freeway; in metres it’s a showcase for the fastest human.  In metres squared it’s the archaic are; put it with another 99 and you have a hect-are.  In links, it’s a chain, which bears a relationship to acres (not ares) too obscure to be worth remembering.    

One hundred.  In kilograms of anything, it’s a quintal.  In pounds of livestock, it’s a cental or a short hundredweight, the long one being 112 pounds (it’s a British thing).  In numbers of dead stocks (as in dead-cat bounce, these days), it’s a round lot.

One hundred.  In years, it’s a century; in geezers, a centenarian; in anniversaries, a centennial or a centenary.  In 2012, it’s the anniversary of one Titanic shut-down and numerous start-ups, large and small—Alan Turing, Timmins, Arizona, Fenway Park, Chevrolet, the Grey Cup, the Calgary Stampede, the DC Cherry Blossom Festival, the Oreo cookie and the Girl Scouts of America (suspicious, that last coincidence, no?).

One hundred.  In radiation rem, it’s a sievert and a 5.5% chance of developing cancer.  In fractions of seconds, it’s a jiffy, which is, perhaps, even longer than you want to be in the presence of radiation.  In millions of maxwells of magnetic flux, it’s a weber.  Whence the famous barbecue got its name, I guess, although it was news to me that they cook with magnetic energy—I always thought it was something thermal.  Live and learn.

One hundred.  In calories, it’s a barely noticeable wee nibble; in daily caloric intake above output, it’s a ten-pound-a-year habit.  And it is this meaning, perhaps, that resonates most deeply for today’s purposes.  Because 100 is the blog you are reading right here, right now.

Like the calories, little by little, week by week, a blog adds up.  Throw in a series on movies here, an homage to the 12 days of Christmas there, an occasional canonical blogger rant, and voilà!  One hundred it is.

In January 2011, if someone had told me to sit down and write 100 articles, I would have deferred.  Whence would cometh 100 topics?  And if 100 topics cameth forth, whence would cometh the time for them, forsooth?

If encouraged, I would have demurred.  If pressed, I would have declined, damn it.  Too hard; too much like work.

And yet, here we are.  Well, here I am, and there you are, but you take my point.  And that point is this: Little by little, week by week, it adds up, whatever It is.  To a blog or a new skill, or a career, or a life, forsooth.

In younger days, I heard of a woman who, at 50, decided to learn Russian.  What a great mid-life challenge!  What an accomplishment!  It gave her goose bumps just thinking about it.

When she learned that it would take her 10 years to become fluent in such a difficult language, she deferred, demurred, declined, damn it.

Why, by the time I learned it, she explained to a friend, I’d be 60!

Umm, said her friend, you’re gonna be 60 anyway.

And so it is.  I myself can attest to that—if you live long enough, you will indeed be 60.  Or 30, or 40, or 50 or 75 or even 90: whatever strikes you now as impossibly old.  The only question is, will you also speak Russian?  Or run a marathon, finish a degree, teach a bunch of kids to read, or learn to paint, sing, or do a cartwheel?

Or write a blog.

Because, little by little, week by week, it adds up, whatever It is.  Maybe even to one hundred.

Revisit last year’s Canada Day post: Downhill Headfirst.

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12 Comments

Filed under New Perspectives

12 Responses to You’re Gonna Be 60 Anyway

  1. Ralph Gibson

    Nicely done ! There’s a Coolidge quote on persistence that I like very much. And a saying from soccer-coaching days: “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

    • Isabel Gibson

      Ralph – And here it is – the Coolidge, not the soccer. “Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” Thanks for the tip!

  2. Marion

    I like this: all the tidbits, and then the nugget. It’s a good lesson.

  3. A Western reporter asked a Brazilian garbage picker what percentage was being recycled from the mountains of trash he and his fellow workers salvaged. He didn’t know, and thought the number indeed small, but, the man said, smiling, “Even 5% is better than zero. You gotta start somewhere.”

    Key to success? Start, and keep going.
    Jane Austen said, “Success supposes endeavor.”
    She could only get a few minutes a day in private. It added up.
    Simple as that.

    • Isabel Gibson

      Barbara – Yup. We are seduced by all-or-nothing thinking. It’s good to remember it doesn’t all have to be done today…

  4. Maria Hanke

    Isabel: A very timely message, indeed. This very sentiment got me to return to a Bachelor’s degree program at age 30 (“do you want to be 33 years old with a Bachelor’s degree, or 33 years old without one?”), and run my first marathon at age 46 (after beginnning training at age 45). Kudos to you for your 100 articles, my wordsmith wizard!

    • Isabel Gibson

      Maria – And kudos to you on your degree and your marathon. My goodness! I must admit that, even at 60, I sometimes hear time’s winged chariot behind me – but it turns out that’s all the more reason to do, instead of not.

  5. Like the “millions of maxwells of magnetic flux” there’s something magical about your blog, I’m so pleased that you decided to take it up without looking too far down the line to the 100th.
    OK, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way isn’t it time you got started on the next hundred?