Usually we determine our age by the obvious signs: wrinkles, gray hairs, our tendency to find America’s Funniest Videos funny
(those shots to the crotch are a hoot!) But nothing indicates you’re getting on in years than when you open the cupboard searching for a tupperware container and find last Saturday night’s spaghetti and meatballs inside one of them. Great. I’m senile and out leftovers.
I’m only in my early 40s, so this doesn’t bode well for my 60s (or mid-40s for that matter). Thank god my husband is the same age as me. We can combine our individual feeble minds together to form one super powerhouse of a feeble mind. Between the two of us, we might be okay.
“Honey? Have you seen my socks?”
“Did ya check your sock drawer?”
“Um…okay. Nope, no socks! But I found your hairbrush, the car keys and a half-eaten doughnut.”
“Oh, cool! Bonus. I’ve been looking for those!”
“But where are my–what was I looking for again?”
“Who the hell are you and what are you doing in my house eating my doughnut?”
See? We’ve got it covered.
This growing old thing is so relentless. My birthday is coming up. Again. It seems no matter what I do, how much I denial I steep myself in or how many times I beg Superman to fly around the Earth backward, it continues to show up, year after year. Okay! I get it! I was born. Yes, I think we can all agree that I did in fact happen to come into existence in this dimension on that very day some 40-something years ago. But it’s the reminder that I am also one year closer to death that tends to bring the party down.
I try to devert attention every year. I pray that my birthday will be lost in the shuffle of all the other hundreds of birthdays in the same month. People insist on bringing it up nonetheless.
Husband: Good morning, honey! Happy birthday!
Me: Huh? What? Oh, no. That’s not until next week. Yeah.
Husband: I could’ve sworn today was Monday (checks calendar) Yup, it’s Monday! Happy birth-
Me: No, it’s Raquel Welch’s birthday. And Bob Newhart’s! Remember that killer ending in Newhart when he was in bed with his old TV show’s wife? Hoo-boy! That was hysterical! And-
Husband: Happy birthday!
Me: (runs off in tears)
I can hear you, dear older-than-me reader, now. But you’re still so young! Why, I’m 135 and I’d love to be your age again! Besides, you’re only as old as you feel! Age is just a number! You’re really 41 years young!
Ask anyone over 35 and they will tell you they don’t “feel” their actual age. My mom is 77 and she still feels like she’s the same 35 year old woman. Most days I feel like I’m 19. Granted I’m not still living in my parent’s basement with a futon and a milk crate for a nightstand, but I can convince myself that I still have that inner youthful glow (mostly inner). I suppose the number doesn’t matter. Which leads me to my earlier point, why celebrate my birthday? Nothing’s changed. I’m still me on the inside. The only difference worth noting is the older I get, the more senile I am and the less I give a crap about anything or what anyone else thinks. Best birthday present ever.
My daughter, bless her little heart, still thinks birthdays are a great thing. She’s been telling me my birthday is coming up for about four months now. She informed me that we should celebrate it at Chuck E. Cheese. “C’mon, Mommy! Ya wanna? Please, let’s have your party at Chuck E. Cheeeese! Pleeeease! Ya wanna?” I just pat her on the head and whisper, “Why, no, sweetie. Mommy pretty much wants the exact opposite of Chuck E. Cheese, but thanks for the suggestion.” Gone are the days when balloons, bad pizza and a mutant mouse did it for me.
What would be my ideal birthday? Sitting on the couch alone, curled up in a blanket, sipping wine and watching a Mad Men marathon. And no one ever mentions I’m another year older. But if you must, just yell out, “Happy You’re Still Alive Day!” That is worth celebrating.