I don’t like birthdays. And one approaches. My friends and family know this and do a fair amount of torturing me about it.
“What do you want to do for your birthday?” “Mom, how old are you?” “Well, whatever we do, think you can stay awake past ten?” No.
It’s not necessarily that I mind getting older, though I did somehow miss a year last year. I was startled when hubby said a few weeks ago, “No Jen, you will be 43.”
I really honestly thought I was going to be 42. That’s how little I pay attention. It was not a particularly pleasant moment when I made him do the math.
I know some people love their birthdays. They have huge birthday celebrations every year. They have birthday “weeks” (I can’t even put into writing how much that horrifies me). They enjoy the presents (I already have what I need). They have special dinners at El Mezcal where the servers humiliate you publicly (I do that enough to myself, I don’t need help there).
I’m simply not one of those people.
After 21, why celebrate a birthday? That should be the end of the milestone birthdays.
The day I turned 30 I was still in the hospital after giving birth to my third child. My mother thoughtfully handed me a magnifying mirror and a good set of tweezers as I struggled to sit up with a nursing baby laying across me. “You are really going to need this now,” she said. She was right.
My thirties weren’t so bad, probably because of the fact that I had nursing babies and terrifying toddlers and a really good magnifying mirror and tweezers, so I didn’t focus too much.
My forties? Yay. A hysterectomy, terrible arthritis, a torn rotator cuff and a sudden influx of grey. And of course, the grey are right in the front, because, why not. I’m FEELING my forties. Forty and fabulous. Right?
There are things I’ve enjoyed about the forties: I don’t sweat the small stuff like I used to. I’m comfortable in my own skin in a way I never was before, even if that skin is covering up some relatively serious aches and pains. I enjoy my friendships immensely; especially since most of my best girlfriends are a little bit older than I am. I also figure this is mid-life and I’ve skipped over a mid-life crisis, though agreeing to write this column may have been the crisis itself.
When I thought about writing a birthday column, my intention was to come up with some things I’m looking forward to as I age gracefully (ha).
I only came up with two. I’m looking forward to being the grandma (in about 20 years) that wears band T-shirts. I hope my grand kids say, “Tell grandma she can’t wear that Nine Inch Nails T-shirt to my First Communion!”
I’m also kind of fascinated with the whole idea of women that get their hair done once a week, then wrap it in toilet paper every night (Did I make that up? People do that, right?) and just fluff it out in the morning. That seems like a significant time saver. Hubby won’t have to wait as long for me to get ready. I can just slowly, carefully, painfully put on my NIN T-shirt and black polyester grandma pants and unwrap my magic hair and be done.
I’m sure there will be tons more fun (yeah, sure) things to look forward to. Right? Baby boomers and ex-hippies, don’t answer this. Your eternal optimism is exhausting.