THERE COMES A time in everyone’s life when you know all the answers, but nobody asks you the questions. I pulled off my 70th birthday Dec. 1. The crossing of that milestone was almost effortless and went amazingly fast. And as many birthdays prior to this one, it was basically uneventful.

What do you consider milestone birthdays in your life? Was it 16, 21, 30, 50 or 65? Maybe it is one yet to come. As for 70, I’d guess 10,000 other baby boomers accomplish the fête every day. It seems like every week, the world marks a 50th anniversary of some historic event. We tell anyone who will listen “I remember that happening like it was yesterday.” We even remember events from 60 years ago.

John Gurda, a Milwaukee historian and columnist, said he has a new definition of aging. “It’s the process whereby your primary doctor hands you off to specialist after specialist until all that’s left to do is an autopsy.”

When we reached age 65, that was big because that told us it was about time to retire. Many of us had to face the realization that our bodies were beginning to wear out, part by part, often painfully and seldom with dignity. When you fall asleep unexpectedly, others worry that you’re dead.

When baby boomers get together to reminisce, they often share their medical adventures like recent knee and hip surgeries, maybe a heart procedure or they’ve had cataract surgery, just to name a few. When you start a conversation with “The other day,” you could be referring to any time between yesterday and 15 years ago.

We realize our memories are a cultural legacy shared by millions of other Americans born after World War II. We reshaped the landscape and it pains us to watch the new generations feel the need to tear it down because the future waits for no one.

Back in 1935, the Franklin Roosevelt era, age 65 became the age of eligibility for the new Social Security program. That kind of set a finish line and expiration date. At the time, the average American’s life expectancy at birth was less than 62. Based on that fact, I’d be dead by now, but medical breakthroughs and lifestyle changes have extended life expectancy for many to nearly 79 years and more than 75% of us who reach adulthood will live past 65.

For those of us who’ve reached age 70, it becomes increasingly clear that we’ve pretty much done what it was we were going to do and chances that you’ll get better at anything you attempt are pretty slim. We can, however, tell a pretty good story if facts aren’t important.=

We aren’t giving up. It’s still possible to learn new things, but there are so many old things that have to be dislodged to make room for them. We just set lower expectations. I remember being able to get up without making sound effects. I don’t mean to interrupt people. I just randomly remember things and get really excited.

Our family members are all much older now. I have aunts and uncles in their 80s and 90s. You see people who have traveled life with you and think “My god, they have gotten so old I hardly recognize them.” Their hair, if they still have it, is gray. Their skin sags. They have gained a few pounds. Then, you look into the mirror and you don’t even recognize yourself.

Your best friend is dating someone half his age and he isn’t breaking any laws. Relatives call at 9 p.m. and ask “Did I wake you?” You realize there’s nothing left to learn the hard way. Shopping is easier because things you buy now won’t wear out.

Your 40-year investment in health insurance is finally beginning to pay off. Your secrets are safe with your friends because they can’t remember them either. When you ask me what I am doing today and I say “nothing,” it doesn’t mean I am free, it means I am doing nothing.

Nothing says you’re getting old than when you’re standing in front of the post office and a 9-year-old Girl Scout asks if she can help you cross the street so she can earn a badge.