Growing Old GracefullyDawn Meehan
It was my birthday last Thursday. Do you remember telling people, “I’m eight and THREE QUARTERS,” lest they think you were only eight and a half, or worse yet, only eight? I don’t do that anymore. I’m much more secure than I was as a child. I have no problem telling people my real age without any embellishments. I have no reason to lie or pretend I’m a different age than I really am.
So, last week, I turned thirty-eleven.
I spent the day doing fun birthday-like activities. For example, I emptied the dishwasher, did 6 loads of laundry, and washed my kitchen floor. I don’t like to brag, but well, since it was my birthday, I guess it’s okay to admit that I also got to scrub the toilet. I know! I can see you’re green with envy.
I even took a little money and splurged on a present for myself. I bought a pair of used hockey skates in Jackson’s size. Okay, so maybe they weren’t exactly for me. But I got the skates from Play it Again and there are cute twenty-something year old guys who work there so it was sort of for me. It’s okay (and not at all creepy) because I’m still twenty-something in my mind.
In fact, the other day, I got in the checkout line at the grocery store with a bottle of wine. The cashier asked me for my ID. I said, all giddy-like, “Because I look under twenty-one!” The cashier was supposed to say, “Why yes, yes you do!” That is not, however, what he actually did say. He laughed. I don’t mean a good natured chuckle either. I mean a full-blown guffaw! He snorted, he laughed, he wrapped his arms around his sides and doubled over. His face turned red, tears streamed down his cheeks, and he made weird squeaky noises as he tried to breathe. Because his reaction wasn’t humiliating enough, my teenage daughter who was shopping with me, joined him in the hilarity. I left them clutching each other as they attempted to regain some semblance of control, grabbed my wine and walked to the door, their uproarious laughter trailing behind me. As far as I know, they’re still laughing.
I rounded out my birthday evening by taking a good hard look at myself and deciding to simply accept my age. After all, age is only a number, right? I intend to grow old gracefully. I’m not going to worry about the parentheses around my mouth or the crow’s feet under my eyes. I’m not going to get discouraged when I need help getting off the floor after playing a game with my little kids. Nope, I’m thankful for a reason to celebrate another birthday. I’m thankful for my health. I’m thankful for my six awesome kids who give me reasons to smile every day. I’m thankful for, oops, my timer just went off. Time to rinse the dye out of my hair.