Yesterday was my birthday, and I turned an age that ended in a “9.”
To celebrate carrying me this far, my body launched all sorts of surprises: my fingers are stiff, there’s a new wrinkle on my forehead, and my neck is starting to look like a party streamer.
My birthday included a bowl of soup and an afternoon nap on the couch, and I was totally cool with that.
One morning, not so long ago, I was getting my breakfast in the kitchen wearing only my nightgown. We were running late and I hadn’t done anything to myself other than get out of bed. My son looked at me and commented, “Your boobs hang pretty low. It’s like they’re really sad.”
This is the beginning of the end of my youth, isn’t it?
I have high blood pressure, and my last visit with the doctor (a doctor who is 6 years YOUNGER than me) included talk of support stockings and cholesterol testing. My hearing isn’t the greatest due to Nirvana, the 1990′s and something called a “Walkman.” I’ve even worn – completely by coincidence - the same outfit as my 88-year-old grandmother at least twice this year.
I understand that I am still “young” relatively speaking, but it’s not about the number, it’s about the feeling. I realized the other day that no clerks have called me “Hun” in quite some time. I’m now at the age my dad was when I no longer thought of him as “young.” Maybe I need to start hanging out at the senior’s centre, so I can be the youthful one again.
The other day a professor called me “Ma’am.”
I feel sad because both my kids can tie their own shoes, read, tell time, buckle their seatbelts, and wipe their own asses. It’s like all of those fun parenting duties are behind me.
I’m now officially a part of the pre-menopausal generation but I can’t stay up to watch the “Nightline” special about it because it’s on after 10pm. I’ve cut my hair to a “respectable” length and sometimes I have to ask people to speak s-l-o-w-e-r and more loudly.
The other day a professor called me “Ma’am.” Did I say that already?
I’m begging you, please- tell me this is a just a plateau and I’m really still just climbing the mountain. I can’t be at the halfway point because I still haven’t seen a Led Zeppelin reunion concert.
To put thing is perspective, I will close with this:
Recently I lingered at a clothing rack displaying polyester pull-on pants and considered.
It was my birthday on Sunday. Valentine’s Day.
I received many well wishes, cards and gifts from friends and family. My favorite was an email from a friend, telling me “Happy Birthday Aquarius!” It explained that based on my birthdate, I was known to be “creative, intellectual, friendly, open-minded and extroverted.” Sounds good, right?
It then went on to say that I was also “emotionally detached, contrary, perverse, unpredictable, stubborn, over-reactive, moody, sometimes mean and uncaring.”
I think my Christmas card list just got shorter.
So at 37 I am now officially free-falling towards 40. From there it’s just a base jump to 50, a sky dive to 60, a helmetless bull ride to 70.
My birthday began with waking up with a Post-It Note on my forehead, but that in itself is not unusual; I’ve woken up that way plenty of times before. Although usually I’m outdoors, missing a shoe and smelling like burnt hair. And the note usually says something like “You owe me $150 for bail. Sid.”
But on Valentine’s Day this year I woke up with a sticky note on my forehead, written in red sharpie and my daughter’s handwriting. The note read, “This is what 37 looks like.” The note was unnecessary. You can simply count the lines around my neck.
By my biggest indignation came when in order to even read the note I had to put on my glasses AND hold it at arm’s length to focus. I was so upset at this sudden and rapid symptom of aging that I had to double my blood pressure medication dose. Then I yelled at some kids to get off my lawn and took a nap.
We had a nice dinner out with the PM, and then home for cake. My daughter’s beloved hamster had died the day before and I was keeping her hopped up on sugar to dull the pain with all manner of baked goods, so we had leftover treats for my birthday celebration. You know, because nothing says “Sorry your hamster died” like a tray of double frosted rainbow chip mini cupcakes.