Vinnie and husband in front of Lennon Wall

The Big 6-0 (plus a new release)

by Vinnie Hansen

I just turned 60. Shhhhhhh. I received my first official senior discount at the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague.

I’ve been told these are the wonder years as in, “I wonder where I left those keys?”

Or the “hereafter” years, as in “I wonder what I came in here after?”

Attack of the 50-yr-old Woman poster

The poster my friends made for my big 5-0 birthday

Like all decade birthdays, the Big 6-0 rears up and demands notice. What do the sixties hold?

I passed through remarriage, moving and menopause in my forties. I retired from my teaching career in my fifties.

In the three stages of womanhood, I skipped motherhood and went right from “maiden” to “crone.” Or, maybe that rich mid-section of my life was about motherhood in the sense of birthing my books.

So, what’s left? I’ve learned that the answer to my question is kan reki, sometimes spelled as one word kanrekiKan means “cycle” and reki means “calendar,” but my friend Yoshie told me that I could just think of it as “good year.” How lovely!

In eastern culture, sixty is the preeminent birthday. The lunar calendar has a sixty-year kan or cycle, during which the twelve animal signs—rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig—pass through the five elements—metal, water, wood, fire and earth. I have just completed my journey through one complete cycle of the reki, or calendar. We are now in The Year of the Horse and 2014 is a wood year, the same conditions that existed at the time of my birth.

What does this all mean? This is the year for me to take stock of where I am before beginning my second 60-year cycle of life. This is a time for transformation, the year for rebirth.

Japanese characters for kan reki

Yoshie sent me these Japanese characters for kan reki. On a 60th birthday a Japanese person often dresses in red for good luck, and the birthday celebration focuses on the theme of rebirth. The Japanese pulled this tradition from Chinese culture. The special kan reki celebration is also common in Korea and Hawaii.

Already this has been the year of the rebirth of my mystery series. Previously indie published, the books are being re-released from misterio press. The dazzling exteriors look professional. The interiors are more polished. Perhaps the books will prove a prophetic metaphor for my self—snappier exterior and smoother interior.

Even though my husband claims that I am mighty fine the way I am, I love the idea that now is the perfect time to create myself anew.

Vinnie and husband in front of Lennon Wall

The newly-minted 60-year-old me (wearing red pants!) with husband Daniel at the Lennon Wall in Prague.

This month, I’m also celebrating the re-release of Art, Wine and Bullets under the misterio press imprint. Please check it out below, and then talk to me in the comments. What was your last Big O birthday, and how did you deal with it?

book cover for Art, Wine and Bullets

An innocent visit to a premiere Santa Cruz gallery turns into a nightmare case for Private Investigator Carol Sabala. The strangled body of the gallery owner offers an opportunity to cement her reputation and to save her employer from insolvency. But precious time spent assisting her photographer boyfriend impedes her investigation while his sudden obsession with photographing her impedes their relationship.

When Carol plunges into an art world offering urban graffiti to paintings of polka-dotted cats, she confronts the age-old questions: What is art? What defines an artist? She also confronts what defines a successful private investigator as she unravels much more than a murder case.

Available on   AMAZON  and  BARNES & NOBLE

Posted by Vinnie Hansen. Vinnie is a retired English teacher who has received several awards for her stories and books. She is the author of the Carol Sabala mystery series.

We blog here at misterio press once (sometimes twice) a week,  usually on Tuesdays. Sometimes we talk about serious topics, and sometimes we just have some fun.

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  • Reply
    Patricia Denke
    June 10, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    For her birthday this year, I gave your oldest sister a Kindle..with the above mentioned book, among others… Now, in reality, it is my Kindle. It has access to all the books I read. It is possible I will have given her a heart attack: I tried to make sure that is not the case. As long as she doesn’t take it anywhere with an internet connection, it should be fine. The ranch is still basically internet free.
    For my fortieth birthday, the people I was working with actually had one of “those” parties, complete with black balloons. Now, i just don’t care. My husband brought me flowers, and cake, and a cover for my Kindle. And let me sleep in. That last is my favorite kind of present – NOT a thing, but an act.
    Love ya.

  • Reply
    Vinnie Hansen
    June 10, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    I know what you mean, Patty! By this time, I have all the junk I need. Kindnesses are much better gifts.

  • Reply
    K.B. Owen
    June 10, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    Vinnie, congrats on both your 6-0 milestone and your re-release! Love the cover. Here’s to 60 more years! 😉

  • Reply
    Vinnie Hansen
    June 10, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    Thanks, K.B. I expect to put in at least another 30. My mom is currently healthy and alert. She will turn 95 in 10 days. I have some good genes. . . .

  • Reply
    Kassandra Lamb
    June 10, 2014 at 8:10 pm

    Love this post, Vinnie. Great perspective on aging. Every birthday is the beginning of a new chapter!

    And you look quite fetching in red pants!

    • Reply
      Vinnie Hansen
      June 11, 2014 at 10:39 am

      I haven’t worn red pants since I was six. That pair had patches on the knees made from my brother’s flannel pajamas, featuring bucking broncos.

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