Thankful for birthdays

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birthday

I think it is important to be realistic about one’s own flaws. I, for example, am a hypocrite. This is evident in the fact that I am writing an essay where I express my belief that we should love ourselves at any age.

As I write this, however, I have anti-aging serum patches plastered under each eye. They’re bright pink. They feel really soothing. They are supposed to lessen the appearance of “fine lines and wrinkles.” Fine lines and wrinkles being the presumed arch nemesis of every woman.

I do like them. The serum patches, not fine lines and wrinkles. The patches feel cool and soothing. I wear them while I’m drinking my morning coffee. I just know I’m going to be walking around in public wearing them someday when I forget to peel them off.

Slipping

I suspect the kids are already keeping a “ways mom is slipping” list so they can just add that when it happens. They already have “Mom calls the dogs by our names — and vice versa” and “the time mom forgot to go to work.” True story.

BoyWonder was chatting on the phone with me one morning as I sipped my coffee. Around 8:05 a.m. he suddenly said “don’t you work today mom? At 8 a.m.?” Yes. Oops. I just know that went on the list.

It is sweetly common for people to wish most adult females over the age of 30 a happy “29th” birthday no matter our age. It’s sweet but for me, unnecessary. I wouldn’t redo my 20s for cash.

I say this as someone who absolutely adored my 20s. Most of the foundation for my current life was laid during that decade. I met my spouse, we married, we made many of the friends we still have today, set our careers, purchased our home and started our family all from the ages of 23-28. That’s a lot to process in five years. It was exhilarating. It was also a young woman’s game.

The main reason I don’t want to be 29 again is that at 29, we hadn’t met GirlWonder yet. She was still a year away. I would miss her too much. That’s the problem with even hypothetical time travel: something is going to be missing if you go back too far.

Since I’m the indoorsy, bookish sort, I like to imagine that life is like a good book. I’m really into this story and I want to see how it ends. I mean I hope it doesn’t end for a long time, but generally, no matter how much I’m enjoying a story, I rarely think to myself halfway through “hey, I wanna go back and read the first few chapters again right now so I’m just gonna start over from the beginning.”

No, that’s not how life works. I want to keep turning the page. I want to see where the story takes me. I love the character development. I feel like I know my character better now. The rest of the characters are dear to me as well. I want to be here for what I hope are many sequels.

Being an adult is like folding a fitted sheet perfectly. No one really knows how, but we all manage well enough to make it work.

Age is largely irrelevant. Time passes in sunsets and sunrises, in love and laughter, in making memories. There is a quote, often wrongly attributed to Winston Churchill that says: “When you’re 20, you care what everyone thinks. When you’re 40, you stop caring what everyone thinks. When you’re 60, you realize no one was ever thinking about you in the first place.” There is something very freeing in that.

Today as I write this, I am 55 years old. I embrace it. Frankly, I’m Gen X so I tend to suffer from high self-esteem. As a generation, we tend to have an abundance of confidence and think we are perpetually young.

Oprah told us years ago that 50 is the new 30, and no one’s gonna tell OPRAH she’s wrong. I’m going to surround myself with positive energy and embrace my double nickels. Great for a speed limit and also great for an age where I feel like there are no limits. Other than my strict 9:30 p.m. bedtime. I really need to stick with that.

The deeper reason I refuse to whine and carry on about aging is this: I have classmates and peers, who never got to turn 17 years old. They are forever 14 or 16. Not everyone is blessed with age and years. I am reminded often that they would’ve probably loved to worry about crow’s feet and gray hairs — or calling their kids by the dog’s name.

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