Friday, April 11, 2008

On Turning 60

Yeah, that is me, tomorrow, April 12, 2008. No, I do not feel it. But I know that I will no longer be able to consider myself unequivocally "middle-aged" (and I remember thinking that being middle-aged was not so great).

I note for those who are interested that 60 is the Big One in Chinese Taoism, where the usual 12-year cycle of years being associated with animals (this is the Year of the Rat, my year) is compounded by there being 5 of these, each associated with an element, like earth, air, water, and fire (do not remember what the fifth one is for the Chinese). So, the whole thing comes back around after 60. Indeed, each of the 60 years has a specific deity associated with it. I saw all 60 depicted in a Taoist temple in Souzhou, China a few years ago, some smiling, some ferocious, most looking pretty human, but some rather fantastic. Anyway, there are 60 of them, and the one I was born under is back again.

13 comments:

YouNotSneaky! said...

Happy birthday! A day earlier and all... oh what the hay, happy day before birthday too!

Sandwichman said...

Many happy returns, Barkley. This makes you a month and a day older than the Sandwichman. You old fart, you!

Unknown said...

The fifth element is wood.

Happy birthday!

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

All of you thanks (I am now actually 60).

And, ibex, thanks for the info. Wood. Not sure of the logic of that one. The old Greek system of earth, air, water, and fire, at least had the three temperature-determined states of matter, with fire representing energy. Wood? Does that represent life?

Barkley

Jerry Levy said...

Happy birthday and best wishes for
many more decades of insightful and refreshing heterodox economics research ... and good health!

Jerry

chasrusnak said...

The Chinese "elements" are actually processes, or transformations - see

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_elements_%28Chinese_philosophy%29

At any rate, happy birthday. As a seventy-year old cocker, I wish I could say "come grow old with me, the best is yet to be", but alas, ...

ProGrowthLiberal said...

Happy Birthday but remember what has become my new motto (I'm only a few years younger than you): age is all in the head - while I can't change the calendar, I can always change my mind!

Peter H said...

This is a couple of days late...but happy birthday, Barkley.

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

Thanks everybody. I had a good time with my wife Marina and other family members on the day itself. I do take the admonition that "it is all in your head," at least as long as one's health is OK, which is so far the case for me. I do feel basically young, although there is a part of me that says, "there you go again, you spoiled rotten and irresponsible baby boomer!" (especially given how much I defend social security)

And, indeed, the idea that the Chinese "elements" are better to be thought of "processes" makes some interesting sense.

Barkley

kevin quinn said...

Happy belated birthday, Barkley! I'm scheduled for my 54th, come Friday.

Kevin

spencer said...

My little brother is turning sixty this month.

He is celebrating by getting married to the women he has been living with for some 25 years.

At least I will no longer be the person responsible for pulling the plug on him.

Buford said...

I think *I* feel old now... when I took macro from you, you were 48!

Happy belated birthday, Dr. Rosser.

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

Kevin,

Happy birthday!

spencer,

Yeah, it is even more unnerving when younger relatives hit some of these landmarks.

buford,

Thanks. Time flies when you are having fun and all that... :-).