Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | November 17, 2010

Part 2 of 3: On Turning 60

What it means to me to be 60 years old.

Part 2 of 3.

Viking ship captains recruited their crews.  The men had to prove themselves to the captain.  They could try out until age 60.  They might be required to do feats of strength.  But, it appears, there would be no more going a-viking after age 60.

My ancestors from the Clan Gunn – were Vikings who morphed into Highland Scots.  I haven’t gone a-viking.  Although, it certainly has a strong appeal.  I swore to uphold the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic when I was 17.  When I was 21, I took the oath again and accepted a commission as a Regular Army Officer and a gentleman.  Under the U.S. Code I was subject to involuntary recall to active duty until I turned 60.  I was never recalled.  The contract is complete.

It bothers me that I’m legally unfit for military service.  It doesn’t matter that I wasn’t recalled.  Wouldn’t ever be recalled.  And, could be unfit for military service in my former MOS as an Airborne, Ranger Infantry Officer.

It irritates me because I’m 25 years old in my mind.  I remember one late Spring day in Korea when I was 25.  I was springing down old concrete stairs on the ridge of a razorback hill.  I felt like every cell in my body was alive and screaming with energy.  Mentally, if not physically, I am still there.

I’m still as excited about ideas as I was when I was 30 years old in grad school #1.  I see more things to do than there is time to do them – daily and in the remaining healthy years.  There are things that I’m hungry to do in addition to maintaining the relationships that are fundamental to life.

There are so many things to do and write as a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ.

There are so many things to do and write in Virginia – to restore and forward the Constitution.

There are so many things to write about the U.S. Culture War and the World War IV Against Islamists.

I feel the pressure to not blow what time remains – and make as much happen as I can.  Mainly, that means read and write.  Then, there is the activism – in church and politics.

Age 60 – the number – is just an insult to what I want to keep on doing.  Actually, quit the day job, or change the day job to align with the passions and do more.

I can put into perspective that what I do and write doesn’t matter a whit in the long run.  But, it all is worth the doing.  The doing serves as duty.

Meanwhile, a good sunset is still a sunset worth watching.  I can’t hear enough of the laughter of a grandchild.




  1. Although I have another year to go, I too have similar feelings. In fact I still have much to do as a company grade officer, and I certainly have things undone while a field grade officer. Been retired now for five years and have much to do as a retiree. I too still feel 25 in my mind; although I forget things now that I didn’t when I was 25…

    That said, the body is letting me know that time takes a toll. I rarely make it past half-time of MNF before I am asleep, chasing my grandsons wears me out before my mind is done playing, and when I look in the mirror some strange old man stares back.
    The things that take my time and receive my effort now are family and church. Even politics (always a favorite) has lost much of its luster.

    But despite it all, God gives us a tremendous gift of old age. We too often “worship” youth, but the wisdom and sense of purpose and accomplishment that accompanies old age is fantastic. We should be grateful for it and share with the next generation. Find time to bask in the sun of your autumn.

    • As long as I am healthy, I plan on being busy. The word ‘retirement’ isn’t in the Bible. The Lord has much for us to do until our last breath. That may mean being the best old grandpa. Still, its a job to do.

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