Monday, January 09, 2006


It's my BIRTHDAY! YAH! And for the first time in two years, I'm actually going to change ages on my birthday. What? Huh? Run that one by me again, you say?

Well, last year I was 48 the day before my birthday (or so I thought) and then I discovered that somehow I was turning 48 ON my birthday, so even though I had a birthday, I didn't get any older. Okay, so I did. I'm sort of magical, but not SO magical that I can warp time. To that degree anyway. The real story is that the year I was really 47, I THOUGHT I was 48. I know, I know. How could someone actually forget how old they were!? But I did. Really. It must be part of that getting old business.

So, anyhooooo, after two years of holding steady, I've finally jumped forward to .... drum roll..... 49.

It's funny. For a few years now it seems like I've been zooming towards becoming an antique (do you become antique at 50? Or a collectible? Maybe you have to be 100 to be an antique. Maybe I've just been zooming toward becoming "a collectible")... well, whatever I've been zooming towards, it seemed like it was happening fast. And yes, I know that appears to contradict my previous comments about staying the same age for two years. It doesn't though, contradict that is. In my mind at least, and that's what counts since I'm the one saying it. But now I have this birthday, and oh, I'm only 49? I'm still in my 40's? People all around me have been cresting that half century mark and for some reason I guess I figured if I ever got around to having a birthday, so would I. Maybe I thought since I was stalled at 48 for two years, I'd have to jump ahead two years when I finally did, to make up for it. Hmmmm. That does make sense. So how come that didn't happen? .....

Well, let's move on. So now, I'm 49. And that's fine. I'm not in a hurry to catch up with all those other old fogeys. I'll be there soon enough.

And since we're speaking of old age, or at the very least, we're speaking of aging, have you ever noticed that there are two ways to age? The first way is to have the age define you. I know people like that. In fact, a frightening number of people my age are like that. They are in their 40's now, or their 50's. They go "Oh, I'm this old. I must now start to act my age." So they start to wear sensible shoes and discuss their medicine chest and/or sagging chest, and frown on "kids these days" and say all the good music has already been written.

And then there are the folks who say "Oh, I'm a new age! I wonder what I'll do now?" They also change in some way, but not necessarily in a predictable direction. They branch out, move on, or forward, or even backwards (second childhoods aren't a BAD thing). They don't let the age define them, they decide how to define the age. Instead of treating middle/old age as a uniform cut out long ago and waiting for them, they treat it as an opportunity to dig through the dress up box and try on a new costume. They might even ignore all the old combinations of scarves and capes and hats and go out shopping for something entirely new. After all, it's an adventure they're planning for, a new twist in the road, or even a new path waiting to be cut from the wild woods.

Oh sure, hopefully we all MATURE. I mean, I don't really want to stay young in the sense of "If Frank jumps off the bridge, do I have to jump off the bridge?" I don't want to try sky diving to prove anything to anyone. I KNOW I'd much rather spend an afternoon sitting with friends around a round of lattes and laugh about why someone would jump out of a perfectly sound airplane. Call me a chicken? Go right ahead. I'd probably feel compelled to jump up and dance The Chicken Dance for you.

One of the benefits of getting older, to make up for things like gray hair and wrinkles (or as someone said to me recently, sparkles and crinkles), is that I'm much more comfortable (or resigned) with who I am. I'll never have more then a passable singing voice. I won't get any taller. I'm a great cook - when I feel like cooking. I'm an enigma of both selfishness and generosity. I'm messy. Opinionated but generally good with people.

I'm less hesitant to be me, all me, all the time. Yes, that's part of it, I feel the sense of time running out. I don't have time to second guess myself anymore. And I've had enough experience to know that, although there are important things in life, most of what we think of as important, really isn't. Really. So, although I've always worn funny hats and danced in public, I've stopped giving a damn if anyone sees me or doesn't see me or cares in any way. It's not about them. It's just about being me. If it bothers him or her or them, that's not my problem. If I'm embarrasing you, just go stand over there with the folks wearing sensible shoes, and give me more room to dance.


Blogger Lady Ellen said...

happy birthday you young spring chicken! hugs, Walkerlady

9:24 AM  

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