It seems I should be used to this by now. It is, indeed the 5th time I’ve hung precariously by my fingernails, dangling dangerously over the cliff that is the next decade. I must say the first time I was excited to get to double digits, but from then on, the dread of the next decade felt like a tangible thing.
I have to hang here, dangling, for one whole year starting today — my birthday.
It certainly is true that my birthday has had quite the ebbs and flows of importance over these many, many…many. many. years.
Not having great bdays as a kid, I begged and demanded attention a bit much for the middle years. Now, I care not as much, but definitely enough that my sweet man grabs my hand and drags me along to the celebration of the thing despite myself. He invites all of the kids and grands to the beach, and they all bring me offerings of food-love — all the while I protest and mostly mean it.
It feels weird now to make it a big deal. Is it because I like my age less? No. And that’s the funny part. Older friends can tell you until they are blue in the face that there are advantages to getting older, but you really don’t believe them until you get here. So I’ll try to encourage you little whippersnappers that it’s not all bad.
Yeah, you aren’t ever going to be young, wrinkle-free, have your normal hair color, and I’m sorry to tell you, but your young body and mind are standing staunchly in the rearview position…
But, by this point, you’ve settled into this softer self. You’ve learned a million things. You have skills! You know how to handle conflict. By the almost fifth decade, you’ve come to terms with most of the things about which you spent five decades being scared. Think about that, we spend our whole lives worrying about aging and death and if we’ll be successful at whatever it was we invested ourselves into, and there comes a point where you just stop running, put your hands on your hips and face that crap down! It is what it is! You can buy your sports car or get your botox and pretend for a minute or you can just Que sera sera the whole dang thing.
I LOVE getting a gift. But I think the fun is now mostly about watching one of my precious people know they nailed it and made me feel loved that is my very favorite part. In all honesty, I used to want more stuff. I hadn’t acquired enough fun things in my thirties and before and I wanted them. Now, I have enjoyed so much that it’s the little things that get me.
- It’s the giggles with my grands from our collectively dumb jokes that trip my trigger.
- It’s the stolen moment with my sweet man in the CanAm with an ice cream cone that makes me smile all the way to my toes.
- It’s sweating like a piglet in a sauna while picking buckets full of cherries from my own trees in my own yard.
- It’s getting my friend in the healing water of Lake Superior for her first time the other day that brought me great joy!
- It’s when one of my kids takes a second to text me that they love or miss me.
- It’s in a song that comes on randomly that tells me my God knew exactly what I needed when I needed it.
That’s where I find myself. And approaching 50 is kinda like sitting down in your beach chair at the lake with your ice cold ginger ale on a perfectly warm summer’s evening looking at the sunset — taking a big, ol’ load off.
I guess I agree with Audrey on this one, and I feel very relieved and oh-so-thankful to have gotten to this part.