Today I turned 57 years old. I’ve been thinking about my life tonight, and pondering a few things. Mostly I’m grateful for the life I have, though I never give up a dais and a chance to pontificate.
When am I going to become a morning person? When I was a child, my parents told me I would become a morning person when I got older. Hasn’t happened yet. I used to justify it by declaring that since I wasn’t a morning person, I was a night person. That argument doesn’t hold water when I fall asleep right after “Two and a Half Men.” Not exactly after. How about after I put in my glaucoma drops, use my asthma inhaler, arrange the pillows just so for my bad knees, and get up multiple times to use the bathroom?
I’ve given up the belief — pounded into me by generations of my family — that there is a moral high ground for those who rise to greet the morning at five or six a.m. I’m not buying it.
Who am I? Am I an old person? Of course not, but I’m not 24 anymore. I don’t see myself as someone nearing her seventh decade of life. In my mind’s eye I’m in my early-t0-mid thirties, and I can still — imagine — ride a bike without falling down.
When I go somewhere I don’t see myself as a part of the older group; I see myself as a part of the group that drove the older people there.
This is not often the case anymore. I don’t see retirement, assisted living, and Geritol any time soon, but I also have kissed the term middle-aged goodbye. My ex-sister-in-law referred to herself as middle-aged recently. Am I planning on living to 114? Probably not. That ship has sailed.
The fact that I actually wrote the word Geritol dates me, and makes me old as among the 12 people who read this blog, there may be eight or nine who have no clue as to what Geritol is. Repeat after me. Iron. Poor. Blood.
What have I learned? I’m supposed to be a grown-up. I don’t have the knowledge of someone who is — say — eighty. However, I am often stumped by new things. I held an iPad for a good thirty minutes this year before I figured out where the on button was. Until five months ago, my cell phone was a Jitterbug, and then circumstances pushed me into this century. Now I have my own personal electronic tether to the Mother Ship. Damn, it offends me when they call so often.
I’ve learned that you really should not sweat the small stuff, and I work on that every day. Lots of stuff is small stuff. If your husband turns left on the way to Cracker Barrel instead of turning right, who cares? So you get there a different way. Does it matter in the end?
I’ve learned you cannot take it with you. From the time of my birthday last July to today, people have left the building. And not much goes on that journey. At 57, if you haven’t figured that out by now, you really need to learn it. You can’t take it with you — money, time, your grandparent’s china, none of it.
I’ve learned that nothing much matters but love. Nothing. And that you CAN take with you.
So what’s the point? I am mostly grateful. No, I am seriously grateful. This week I had a dead battery. What that means is that I have a decent car, new enough to have come with one of those cheapie batteries now put in new cars.
This week, after multiple visits from a plumber and the air conditioner people, we identified the source of a continuing small leak in our basement. I am grateful because this means I have a lovely home, large enough to have a basement, and the funds to afford three plumber and two air conditioner repair visits.
Not being a morning person is a huge problem for me, for which I’m grateful because it means I have a decent job to go to five days a week which assists in paying for the plumbers and air conditioning repair people of the world.
What good is being 57? Tonight at the Japanese steakhouse, I impressed our hibachi table mates with my proficiency in using chopsticks. So I can pick up a piece of broccoli with chopsticks. When I dip the veggie into the Yum-Yum sauce, I have to put on glasses to see where it went. This is the conundrum of aging gracefully. You are always losing things in the Yum-Yum sauce.
’57 classics always look good in a room full of ’57 classics. I’m grateful for the other person in this house Who is Not A Morning Person. He also arrived in 1957.
Dr. Phil says the first thing you say to your partner in the morning sets the tone for the entire day.
I’m grateful my spouse thinks Dr. Phil is an idiot and doesn’t bother to speak to me for at least an hour every day.
I’m grateful that when my car battery was dead, my partner-in-crime didn’t say anything, rather he got his wallet and put it in the pocket of his Tony-the-Tiger pajama pants and drove me to work. Then he bought me a new car battery.
I’m also grateful that our adult child has a wonderful life and friends and likes baseball and still calls his Grandpa about once a week.
Are you going to make a point or just continue this rambling?
The rambling thing, thank you. The great thing about being this age is that you often no longer give a rat’s patootie about what other people think. For example, I don’t really know how to spell rat’s patootie, but I just don’t care. Spell check thinks it is “patriotic.” It is not. It’s the behind of a rat. Let me clarify, I do not give a rat’s behind about some things. At this point in life, I want to focus on what IS, and not on what IS NOT. Bucket list be damned, I’m probably not going to be the third Mrs. Paul McCartney (or it is fourth now?)
But I am grateful for my family, my friends, the shoe that has not dropped for now, the light in the sky, furry gray cats, artists who can put color on canvas, writers who pen songs, poetry and prose, and grace in the present tense. Happy birthday, to me. And many more.