Skip to main content

Turning Seventy



 On my fortieth birthday, the “morale” committee at the middle school where I worked decked the teachers’ lounge with black crepe paper, black balloons, and black cardboard cutouts of head stones announcing I was “over the hill” and “older than dirt.” I realized I shouldn’t have been so forthcoming about my age. As I slunk away to the teachers’ parking lot at the end of the day, I found my silver convertible covered in more birthday graffiti. They left a bull’s eye open on the front windshield so I could drive it home, but I stopped at the first car wash and erased all of it.
That was thirty years ago.
I don’t remember my fiftieth birthday nor my sixtieth. My birthday amnesia stems partly from a divorce when I turned fifty, and I was wiser when I turned sixty and kept my age a secret from everyone but a close few, but this one is big. It’s real. I can no longer pretend to be “young.” I may never be older than dirt but I am definitely “over the hill.”  
I don’t feel old nor do I have regrets. I have survived all my trials and am fortunate to be seventy years old.
I have a sweet grandson who packed a lot of laughter and mischief into twenty-two months of life. We remember him on his birthday and on the anniversary of the accident that claimed his life. We think about him each time his older brother or his younger cousins invite us to school plays or concerts, baseball games or birthday parties – all moments we never got to enjoy with him.  Only God knows what he would have accomplished had he lived to be my age or older.
I also recently lost a dear, sweet daughter-in-law. Our last conversation was about getting older. I groused about turning seventy and she confessed she hated turning thirty-eight. One month later she was gone, having died suddenly of liver failure. I helped my stepson pick up their house. Her things were everywhere, her plans interrupted like she intended to walk back into the room at any minute.  
So, I won’t complain.  I’m turning seventy. Parts of me are aging well, some aren’t, but I am in pretty good condition for being “over the hill,” so don’t feel sorry for me. Age is just one number that defines us and I am so blessed to reach this age.  I intend to skip all the way down that hill. Want to join me?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Happy Breastday to Me!

I gave myself a very special birthday present this year – I had surgery. Before you think it was to increase, decrease, or “lift” something, let me tell you it was not cosmetic (though I could probably use a few nips and tucks at my age; the infinite number of creams I buy OTC are not working their promised magic). About four or five months ago, I discovered a hard lump about the size of a large marble in my left armpit.  I had been feeling small pangs of pain in my left chest for several months, but I figured it was just my turn to dance with heart disease.  Everyone in my immediate family is diabetic and suffers from strokes or heart attacks, so I thought – here we go; my turn. I was going to tell my internist about the pangs during my next visit, so imagine my surprise when I discovered the lump. The Drama Queen in me immediately manifested herself – cancer, I thought.  I have cancer. I searched some more and found that the texture on the left side of my left breast felt diffe

Dating Challenged

I stink at dating – always have.   I sputter.   I hyperventilate.   I fail miserably every time. I blame a pathetically underdeveloped gene that got little use before I married in my early twenties, then atrophied, gathering dust and rust, until I became single again in my fifties.   I decided to use this defect to my advantage when I needed to do some investigative reporting a few years back.   While on a newspaper writing assignment on Boomer-aged dating, I sacrificed my dignity and my vanity for the sake of the story (and I got several). Thank goodness, HoneyBunch saved me from all this when we married.  (He comes up with the best dates.) I’ve decided I will “show you mine if you show me yours.”   I will swap dating horror stories with you, but you have to promise to play along. The trick here is to tell about your worst date in 25 words or less.   You must keep it clean and you cannot name names. Our little contest will run only this week and before my next blogger posting.   Me

The Girl Who Eats Canned Spinach

I went to a Catholic elementary school run by strict Belgian nuns, and we could not leave the cafeteria until we ate everything served on our food tray. Once a week, they served warmed, canned spinach with our meal. The spinach tasted nothing like the way my grandmother made it, but I ate it. I gulped it down in three or four bites and it amazed my table mates. I told them we ate it at home so I was used to the taste. Now, my real problem began the day I ate the spinach off my friends’ trays so we could go play outside. As soon as the nun monitoring the cafeteria turned her back, my friends ate something off my tray I didn’t want, and I ate their serving of spinach. I only did it for two of my table mates, but the word spread.   On the next Spinach Day, kids followed me to my table.   I was suddenly very popular, and as soon as the nun marched off to the other end of the cafeteria, my friends and an army of others who only knew me as The Girl Who Eats Spinach, begged me to take