“Our true person is outside of time and space. I’m every age I’ve ever been and so are you.” Anne Lamott
If age is just a number, we should be able to pick one we like — and stick with it. I mean, in the techno age, why not a birthday lottery? Choose a scratch off number under 50 and hold on to it. Unfortunately, nothing is that easy. Eventually, though, your birthday barcode comes up on that big jumbo-tron called life, and bingo – the gig is up.
It’s then we enter that magic garden where we see the sagging jawline, thinning hairline, beginning of a wrinkle under one eye and your boobs are certainly not getting any perkier. We worry about stuff we never did or maybe never will. We have more time to think, which, depending on the day, can be a good or bad thing. When another birthday is about to be ticked off the calendar, there’s no telling where your mind can go. Here’s where mine rolls today, just thinking that:
- Despite the many late life Pollyanna slogans about getting older, my best dreams and aspirations are behind me (face palm) except of course, for my posterior, which now gets a lot fewer rave reviews.
- It’s now a whole lot harder to remember what I ate last night — as well as simple words that seem always stuck on the tip of my tongue.
- I once thought my elders’ morbid musings about how many more months and years were behind than ahead were a yawn, until today, when it’s all too obvious now how damn fast days go by.
- No matter how many mistakes I or my children made, they will always be the best things I’ve ever done and who I love most in this world. That is, except maybe for their own kidlets, who I’d slay every dragon for, even knowing I’ll only see their future from my rear view mirror.
- “Regrets, I’ve had (more than) a few” sang Frank Sinatra but pity parties and rant breakdowns can lead to the best breakthroughs. Actually, they are the true blessings of living in a grateful present.
- Life isn’t fair and no one promised it would be. Pain, uncertainty, grief — all part of the package. But, if you’re blessed with tribes of people who love you, you hit the life lottery.
- Sometimes the universe answers what your soul needs, though it’s not always a fun ride. But hard times can open our eyes, and expand our hearts allowing a comfort zone rebuild to help us find true north — inside ourselves.
- The only person I can change – is myself. Period. Like that old saw about leading a horse to water, we can’t change anyone’s beliefs, behavior or thoughts but, if we cherish the currency of the relationship, it’s a win-win for all.
- It’s okay to voice your values even if you surprise yourself. In these crazy, critical and game-changing times, standing up and speaking out for your beliefs isn’t just okay — it’s necessary. Go for it.
- Be true to yourself, even if it’s a tiny bit scary. Be ‘woke’. Be open to the world around you. Standing up for honesty, fairness and justice is what being a good human really means.
- It’s okay to be in the slow(er) lane. So what if it now takes two days to clean both floors of your house? Who cares? The first time I nodded off writing at my computer one afternoon, I imagined I’d be next in my father’s assisted living group, to nod upright in their chairs, at 10 am. But I’m not there . . . yet, so I ticked it off as just sleepy day.
- I may still be as professionally creative and imaginative as I was ever capable of being, but in my profession, creatives and writers are pretty much all my kids’ age, so there’s that. Still, talent doesn’t die; it just diversifies and so have I. That’s how I roll.
- We are all broken in one way or another. Sometimes acceptance, of ourselves and others, is the glue that pieces us together. Then again, what do I know? I’ll imagine I’ll always be obsessed with hair and makeup, even as they wheel me into assisted living.
- I’ll always love cheese more than chocolate, will never drive in the city, can’t stop the clock, the calendar or get a rewind of this life. Some things will never change though, one day, I’ll have to decide, not paper or plastic but casket or cremation. Yes, that does freaks me out but, more importantly, I’d want you to just make sure I’m really dead first.
- It’s difficult to pass birthdays my sweet husband never got to see or ever will. And, though it’s true cancer dealt us a lousy hand, I’ll always be grateful for the time, laughs and love we soaked up along the way.
- Some of the most important lessons are the ones learned the hard way. The years, the events that most pained and challenged me, the ones that left me lost and hurt, also allowed me to eventually find another piece of who I was meant to be.
Life can change in an instant — and it certainly has. This year has certainly been no exception. I’ll pass on the candles, wear a kick ass mask, stay socially distant and hope something with caramel (or pizza) will find me somewhere. Most of all, for as many birthdays as life allows, I’ll continue to love the hell out of those precious to me and cherish each plain vanilla day as well as the hell yeah, confetti ones.
We are each a star in the game of life. Unlike Candyland, we never go backwards on the board — only inexorably forward, one twist of the die at a time. As we progress, the squares we land on can kneecap us, bring us joy, challenge us and bestow both blessing and grief, often in equal measure. Nailing the next level of the game is never a given, so I think I’ll just take my turn as ‘Badass Ol’ Broad’ and just be super thankful I was allowed another birthday.