Depending on how long it takes me to complete this missive, I will either be 55 in a few days
or last week. Unlike most people, who get sick and then after a few days, recover, I feel the need to prolong the process to wring every bit of attention out of looking and feeling like hell with the added bonus that I don’t have to work or cook dinner. So, I may be writing this between naps, which take up most of my time these days.
So. 55. If you’re under 30, you’re thinking, Wow! That’s really old! What century were you born in?
Well, kids. I was born before The Beatles invented color. I was born before the previous statement could be countered by the annual showing of The Wizard of Oz on our televisions. You know, when Dorothy steps into Munchkin Land? Aside from the height challenged population, and the large, plastic vegetation Munchkin Land could be Downtown USA if DT, USA decorated itself in shades of grey (Not that kind. No one behaved like that before color was invented.) and determined it’s leadership by dropping houses on the opposition, which might be, in some cases, a model worth considering.
So, 55. If you’re over 40, and not yet 50, you’re probably thinking, good thing I’m not that old. You may also think 15 years is a long time. Keep telling yourself that, no need to become despondent as the sands in the hour-glass race past before you can even turn the damn thing over again.
Once you have a child, of course, time goes by in triple speed. Enough has been said about this phenomenon and I don’t need to delve into it here, but suffice to say, Sunrise, Sunset is a terrible song to play at your wedding. If you hate your parents and hope that they remember your wedding day as the day they wept into the rental tablecloths, gagging on tears, go ahead, be that person. Otherwise, have a heart. Karma is a bitch and all that. Also, if you have any aged child, do not click on the above link; not unless you have hours to throw down the weeping uncontrollably well.
It’s not that my life at 54 is a living hell. The problem, as Doris Day (ask your grandparents) put it is, you grow out of it. Hence, 55.
At this point I have a husband whom I love and respect, who has put up with me for 35 years and that’s nothing to sneeze at. (Has anyone ever sneezed at less than impressive facts? Does anyone still use this expression besides Doris Day and me?) Putting up with me is quite an accomplishment because I am, after all, me, which is something no one else has even tried to be and for good reason.
I have the best son possible and made him myself from materials I had around the house, which, as anyone can tell you, is quite unique. Despite the fact that he has cruelly abandoned me to attend college and have a life of his own which doesn’t revolve around being available for movies and lunch dates, I love and respect him as well. (Next time he comes home I’m going to perform some sort of evil deed which will make it impossible for him to leave my home of his own volition. Please, don’t tell him this.)
I have lovely friends, some of which knew me before I met my husband and son and still like me, or so they say when their birthdays roll around. Most of them are older than me so, I like them too. Those that are younger, make up for it by speaking up when we’re talking so I don’t have to say, Eh?
There are many members of my family that I don’t want to shoot and who feel less than violent toward me, which anyone with a family knows, is quite an accomplishment.
Yet, 55. 55? That means in less than a decade, I will be 60 and then who knows what will happen next? (I do. I’m just hoping someone will come up with a time travel device before I hit the sixes. It could happen.)
And while, we’re at it, 25. That’s how old my son will be the day after I weep into my hands until I need them to eat cake. How can I be 32 if my son is 25? It defies logic.
Something tells me that my grandparents were happy to see 55 as their fore bearers considered 40 a ripe, old, age and thereby spent very little time wondering if wearing Spanx under your jeans will cut off the circulation to your legs. When my darling Mother-in-Law was 55, by golly, she looked how I feel and, I can only guess by what I know about her now, spent very little time wondering how to meet the lead singer of her favorite band.
So, 55 is on the horizon and I can live by their example and attempt to act my age or I can avoid mirrors and get slapped with a restraining order by Chris Martin (and wouldn’t that be a nice birthday present since he lives in Santa Monica these days?)
It occurs to me, as I became well enough to this project, on the final day of my 54…ism, that it might be about balance; the inner me and the outer me, but anyone who had seen a my dinner menu since I’ve been ill knows balance is not always my forte.
But, I can have a go. Inner me, which has seen enough life to know what is and isn’t important, meet outer me, who doesn’t recognize the surface me and fears the long-term process of disappearing until nothing about the outer me is recognizable. Shake hands. Make peace. Work together. Happy Birthday.