I wanted to start this post by announcing my birthday 🙂 Yes, happy birthday to me, with a hug and kiss from one of the stars of my favourite TV show White Collar, Tim DeKay 🙂 I have lost count of how many times I have played back this video now – and yes, if you have been reading my blog for at least a year, you will have noticed I got a birthday shout-out from Tim last year, too 🙂 What a lucky girl I am, thanks to two wonderful friends, Julie (in New York) and Carol (in California).
Age is a funny thing. It is just a number but it means different things to different people. Some embrace it. Some are afraid of it. Personally, I belong to the former category – for as long as I don’t look my age and people don’t expect me to act my age, of course 🙂
When you’re a kid, you can’t wait to celebrate a birthday. You want to know how old everyone is and you count your birthdays by the month (“I’m five years and four months old!”). You always want to be older than someone else and there is nothing worse than being “the baby”. As you hit those puberty blues, you just want to get to your “sweet 16” followed by 18 when you’ll be “legal” and considered an adult – you can drink (unless you live in the US, in which case, you can do just about anything else BUT drink – strange!) and vote. Then you turn 20 and suddenly you can say you’re not a teenager anymore but I’m not sure why no-one makes a big deal of that. When you turn 21, that’s another big milestone…a new decade though, strictly speaking, you kick-start a new decade once you turn 20, so again, why don’t we celebrate turning 20 as a big milestone instead of 21? Hmm…
I remember a conversation I had with some friends back in our early-to-mid-20s comparing our aging milestones to climbing Mount Everest. One of them said when you’re 21 it’s like being at Base Camp – you’ve spent a lot of lead-up time preparing for adulthood and being a grown-up. When you’re 25, it’s like being at Camp I and then you reach the summit at 30 and then everything after that is downhill. Ha! Oh how young we were then! I’m sure she would re-think that analogy if we were to have that same discussion today!
I know friends who don’t want to admit their age – in fact, one of them refuses to acknowledge that we went to school together whenever we meet someone new because she knows at some point I just might tell people my age 🙂 I’m not afraid of aging or getting older or admitting my age. Of course, I don’t want to look older. I have been complaining more often in the last few weeks of finding grey hair. When I am brushing my teeth and I look in the mirror, I would suddenly see a short grey hair standing on its end, protruding and mocking me! Against all advice, I cannot resist plucking it (so far I haven’t got a problem with thinning hair just yet…) in triumph. When the grey starts popping up more than one at a time, I will have to consider dyeing it 🙂
Unfortunately, our society does not embrace getting older as much as some cultures where the senior citizens and elders are treasured and respected. And I say this, not just as a woman who has hit “the big four-o”, but as someone who lost a friend to cancer earlier this year who will never reach this milestone. Strange, isn’t it, that when you’re alive and well, people think 39 is “old” but when you are battling a life-threatening or terminal illness, 39 is “too young to die”?
So, at the ripe young age of 40, all I want to say is count your blessings everyday. Age is just a number and today I acted like a 9 year-old, running around playing laser tag, mini golf and bumper cars. OK, so I have some bruises and maybe falling over flat on my face is not as much fun at 40 as it might have been at 30, but I had a blast (no doubt my body will be complaining to me for the next few days but who cares?)
Look after yourself . Live long and prosper!
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a lot of candles to blow out on the cake and I might replay that birthday video message again 🙂