Today is my birthday. I'm 59. Sounds fake, doesn't it? It sounds like I'm really 60 and just can't own it. But it's the truth. I am 59!
When I was in my 20s, 30 was a death sentence. Seriously. I think there was even a movie about it--anyone over 30 was put down like an old dog. When I turned 30, I didn't feel--or look--any different than I had in my 20s, so it was no big deal.
I know most women fear 40. That's when everything starts to head south: boobs, butts, jowls, eyelids...the only thing headed upward is the number on the scale. But then, skinny women wrinkle faster, so a few extra pounds can be a blessing. In our 40s, we're inching closer and closer to (gasp!) menopause!
The 40s were a difficult time for me. I was approaching 40 when my father died. I was 45 when my mother died. My parents were mortal. That meant I was also mortal. I had to start taking this death business seriously.
At 46, I had a hysterectomy. I've heard that's a difficult thing for some women, much like a mastectomy would be. I felt liberated. At 46, having more children wasn't even a consideration. I barely managed childbirth at 24, for crying out loud! In my 40s, I would have been certain to screw it up.
I turned 50 in 2003. Wow...I'd made it into a new millenium! That was a big deal. I was feeling pretty good about that. People still mistook me for Collin's wife/girlfriend/sister. I must have been doing something right. Then one day, while tweezing my eyebrows, I put a hand mirror on the counter and leaned forward and...well, let's just say that experience is scarier than anything Stephen King has ever written.
A bit of advice to 50-something single women: only date men who are much taller than you are so that your head is always tilted back a bit.
Now, the years are catching up. My eyesight is really bad. I literally am blind in one eye and can't see with the other. At church, I never kneel at the altar anymore because if I did, they wouldn't hear praying--just screaming. (I'm still trying to figure out how to skip the up-and-down music portion of the service and slip in just in time for prayer and the sermon.) I take so many prescription meds, I'm on a first-name basis at the pharmacy. I've had so many ECGs, I'm thinking of using them as my Christmas card photos. I watch reruns of The Golden Girls and can relate.
But I am not complaining. Yesterday, I got an email from a very close friend whose nephew had just passed away the night before. The young man was only in his 20s, a victim of cancer so advanced by the time it was discovered, there was nothing doctors could do for him.
Why did I get more than twice as many years on this earth as he did? I don't have the answer to that one. I haven't done anything to deserve it. Instead of whining about getting old, I am grateful for every day, every minute I'm given....