BIG Birthdays

People like to talk about “Big Birthdays.”  Many women like to be coy about Big Birthdays.  In fact, women like to be coy about most things age- related.  It’s expected of them.  It never quite fit for me.

On occasion, you'll find male coyness as well.
On occasion, you’ll find male coyness as well.

I never questioned revealing my age until I was about to turn sixty.   But 60 was different.  It was no longer a middle age number. In contemporary America, it marked the beginning of a downhill slide with all its accompanying negatives.

A few of the nasty shibboleths about aging that most U.S. women know by heart are:   “Men won’t find you attractive anymore.”  “Your face will be hidden by wrinkles and what’s worse, your complexion will turn pasty to match the color of your gray hair.” “You’re about to lose your waistline.”  That would be the ultimate insult for me.  My waist was a diminutive 22″ when I was 16. At 60, I was many inches away from that, but I still strongly and foolishly identified with a having small(ish) waist.

According to my own measurements, my waist was the same size as Scarlett O'Hara's.
According to my own measurements at age 16, my waist was the same size as Scarlett O’Hara’s.

My family kept asking if I wanted a party.  I kept refusing their offer, trying not to reveal my inner turmoil. I knew I’d be unhappy when January 15th came around and there was only my immediate family to celebrate with.

Counting myself as a feminist, I was uncomfortable with my attitude.  I became conflicted, which in retrospect, was just what I needed to go through this rite of passage. I began to question myself and my opinions.  Seriously.

One day, I found myself telling a younger, attractive male friend that I was about to have an important birthday . After a bit of light conversation,  I finally blurted out the whole shocking truth.

The world did not come to an end!  I was enormously relieved.  Pleased with myself too.

Mere days before my birthday, I quickly ordered my own birthday cake and invited a few friends over to help me eat it.  I bought a bad-ass  t-shirt that made me brave.

tshirt

Once I passed through that Gate of Truthiness, there was no going back.  I regard women who still won’t tell their age with curiosity and sadness.  Why hide?

By the time I was turning 70, I was “into it.”  I held a big bash, inviting everyone who had ever been important in my life to come to my party.  It was wonderful; a true celebration, if maybe, just a tiny bit excessive!

friends dancing OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Self – Awareness at 70+

IT’S INESCAPABLE!

there_s_no_escape_by_zombie__bite-d8cw6jv

The only setting, in which I’m not aware of being the far oldest person, is in the waiting room of my pulmonologist’s office.

waiting roomThe reflection of myself seen in the glass door of our microwave or the window of a car, can cause me to gasp.

self reflection cartoon

I cannot name one contemporary musical group since the 1980’s, the era I had teenagers living at home.

music group

It’s best to pretend it’s never warm enough to get into a bathing suit, and most definitely never with witnesses.

bathing suit

Restaurants are almost always too loud for me to attempt or desire to carry on a conversation with anyone.

noisy restaurant

I realize that seemingly random acts of kindness towards me are motivated by the fact that I must look needy.

Time’s carousel is moving far too quickly, as if being controlled by a madman on speed.

madmanThings I distinctly remember as having taken place 6 months ago, actually took place at least 18 months ago.

When I scroll down on an online site to find the year I was born, (1941) it seems as if the list will run out of years before it gets to my year of birth.  Always a shock.

I’ve lost two inches in height and added two inches onto my waist. I’m losing aka(lost) my jaw.

ON THE OTHER HAND,

I laugh at myself more easily.

laughing

I don’t sweat the small stuff as easily as in my younger days.

I’ve successfully avoided using the expression “in my day.”

I see children as miraculous beings. I see childhood as an instant in time.

kids

I take much less for granted.  Much, much, less.

I no longer fear speaking in front of people.

crowd

I’m coming to understand that change is the ultimate reality.

The beauty of nature thrills me more than ever.

peony