Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Birthdays


I had a birthday recently. I’m fifty-two years old.

Gradually, over the years, I’ve gotten to a place where I will declare my age to any and everybody; not because I didn’t like my age before - more so, because I didn’t want a reaction or an opinion.

So why at age forty-nine, did I begin to volunteer my age and smile as I said it.

I call it “menopausal confidence.” Why not?

Although comfortable with my age, I’m not a big, “celebrate my birthday” person. I know a birthday is coming, but as it gets nearer, I’m actually oblivious to the date. Hard to believe, but I really don’t feel different on my birthday, except when I turned fifty. I planned an outing for the five of us at Great Wolf Lodge, an indoor water park - to do something memorable. Turning fifty meant I’d grown up. I was free to pick, choose, deny… whenever and whatever; to be honest about who I am and what I feel.

You might “get” what I’m talking about, or you might not. Some things in life, we can’t decide – it happens when it’s supposed to. We have to go through things. It’s a process.

I digress.

I played like a child at Great Wolf Lodge. It was a metaphor for how I want to live the next half of my life (yes, I plan to see one hundred years old). I want more fun, knowledge, and adventure added to the beautiful stillness of life that is blended in with the chaos; to absorb life, internalize it – not just have things happen around me.

At fifty two, things are good. Physically, I’m in good shape - relatively speaking. I take no meds, unless you count the allergy shots for grass, pollen, mold, etc. But, I do feel the joints and muscles not working as well as they used to. Sudden twinges and sensations come from out of the blue, a sign of things to come, I guess. My mother says she “broke down” at sixty. I’m holding out for longer.

Mentally, well…hmmmm…I’ll just attribute the lapses in the flow of verbal output to a brain that is so full of “great” thoughts and ideas, that it gets overwhelmed sometimes. How’s that for an explanation.

While some people love big parties and lots of attention on their birthday, others will not “confess” their age. I went through a period of conveniently forgetting my age when I was forty-two (which seems so young now) and had three kids, ages four and under. At the time, my stay-at-home mom peers (ages 30-35) would shout in the middle of the playground, “You’re 42! Wow! I’d have never guessed.”

Translation: Those three “babies” of yours threw me off. You’re old.

This used to happen two or three times a year, but recently, it’s lessened. Guess I’m beginning to look my age. Now, I welcome it when someone says: “Anita, you look gooood!”

“Oh, thank you!” as I smile.

I’ll take what I can get.

Do you keep your age a secret? Do you hate to see your birthday come around, or do you celebrate it?
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My post titled "Passion" received heartfelt comments and was said to be one of the most thought provoking. Read it (the comments, too) to see what comes to your mind. Add it to the post if you'd like.
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26 comments:

Tabor said...

I turned 63 and I have never seen birthdays and age as anything but a number. There are old farts at 40 and fantastic figures at 90! I am not a big party person, but perhaps like you I will take things in hand myself at 65 and do something neat.

Menopausal New Mom said...

Great Post Anita! And a belated Happy Birthday to you!! For me, I have always told my true age, I don't understand these women who subtract 5 - 10 years off their ages and then wonder why people think they look like hell. If I was telling people I was going to be 39 instead of 49 in 2010, people would say "God she looks terrible for 39 whereas if I say an accurate 49, they may say, not bad for 49!"

I think the biggest influence on my being truthful about my age happened when my younger brother died at the age of 32. I feel every year I get is a victory to be claimed and celebrated. You just never know.

Sharon said...

I'm embracing 48, although I must say I relate to the "brain" issue...thanks for reminding me it must be all the great thoughts I have crammed in there! :)

Happy birthday!!! 52 years YOUNG! I hope you make it another 48 without you breaking down...:)

A Mom With A View said...

Happy B-day...and Hoooooray for you..!!I couldnt have said it better myself..!! I can totally relate...to all of it.Im 48, getting better, feelin stronger and i dont have to hide nothing..It is what it is...Thanks for this and keep it up Girl...Happiness Joy and Laughter..forever..!!

Abby said...

I'm like you. Don't make a big fuss about the birthday, nor the number. Probably because I'm not getting any younger!

But really, I think you're just confident and satisfied with who you are, and what better thing to be?!

newmumover40 said...

Happy Birthday, Anita! Good post!
I loved what you did for your 50th.

I love it when my birthday comes around. I love the date! But I don't care two hoots for a party. I didn't have one for my 40th at all.

What has been special for me is just having D in my life to share my birthdays with. Him and my parents. They are the people that are most special to me and as long as I am with them, I am happy as larry!

gayle said...

I tell my age when I remember it but honestly I usually don't ...I am always off a year or two.

Chocolate Covered Daydreams said...

Happy Birthday to you, Anita! I hope it was spent doing exactly what you wanted to do.

I don't mind letting folks know that I'm 46. I figure, what's the big deal about lying? I'd rather act my age than to lie about my age. Besides, there really are times when I do feel like I'm 46 although people tell me that I don't look it.

On days when Baby Boo is here, trust me, I feel my age and then some!

The Nakamuras on Saipan said...

Great post Anita!Happy Belated Birthday! I turned 48 this past September and I was thinking similar thoughts a few days before my birthday approached. August had faded away in a blur of back to school frenzy. I had taught summer school and had not had a break. the other teacher's came back to school all refreshed, I looked and felt as if I'd just been wrung out and dried several times over. I remember turning the page on the calendar and thinking "humm, it's September already" I remember the word "birthday" floating around somewhere too..and that's the last I thought of it until my family started whispering around me and immediately shut up if I walked into the room where they were talking. I knew they were up to something but....yet..it didn't matter, I would have been content with nothing. It turned out a very special day-because my family made it so and that's when I realized that now birthdays were for family. I could honestly not care if the came and went and I did absolutely nothing. But, what is wonderful is that my family uses the day to show their love and appreciation in special and unique ways. I do the same for them-not because I'm obligated...but because I love them and ...well..really want to. And I'm actually enjoying getting "older"....now I can really be myself and not make excuses! I've developed courage and confidence to be "me" and that is something that has really set me free in so many ways. Again, great post!

The Nakamuras on Saipan said...

well..ok...there is one thing that has gone downhill as my age has risen...being able to type properly without making mistakes! I'll have to admit, my fingers are just not as fast as they used to be and ..ahem...neither is my eyesight...too lazy to put my reading glasses on half the time and can't see my typos...oh well...!

Anita said...

THANKS EVERYONE FOR THE BIRTHDAY GREETINGS AND WELL WISHES!

TABOR - I sense from your blog that you are living peacefully and well at 63. I suggest that you do plan something special for 65 - you have time! :)

MENOMOM-DEB - thanks for the laugh.
I'm also in agreement with you about life and death. I had a very good friend that died almost a year ago. It makes me think about how precious life is, regardless of ones age. I miss her, as I'm sure you miss your brother.

SHARON - Yes, we're in this together!

MOM WITH A VIEW - Thanks for adding excitement to being another year older!

ABBY - Thanks for the compliment. :)
If I recall, you're a December "girl" too. :)

NEWMUM - "Happy as larry" - that's a new one for me. :)
I'm glad you enjoy and love your birthday, and having your partner in your life.
Even though I don't celebrate "big," I think its great when others do. any celebration is a sign of happiness.

Anita said...

GAYLE - I can relate. I have forgotten how old I am too now and then. I have to think for a second or two.

CHOCOLATE - thanks for the birthday greeting. I felt appreciation for another year, which means it was a good birthday!

Baby Boo may make you feel a little rough sometimes, but in the long run, she will keep young and active, and still looking good! :)

NAKAMURAS- I had a surprise birthday party years ago, and it was fun. You're right - when people love you, they want to make you happy.
I'm glad you like the post.
Typos - If only I could retract some of the ones I've made before slapping that enter key! :)

Dorraine said...

Happy birthday, Anita! I'm sorry I'm late, but I just got here.

Like you, I could care less if people know my age. I hear you regarding being proud of who you are and who you're becoming. Yay, you go girl!

My birthday was yesterday and I certainly don't feel 49. Okay, some days I do, but not usually. I happen to believe I'm growing much sexier as I age! Please, nobody say a word!

I once asked my doctor if there was anything positive about aging and he paused. Scratched his chin. A wise comment was coming on, I thought. Then he looked at me and said, "No. I can't think of one thing."

But I never believed him. If we're lucky we finally get comfortable in our own skin. Now that is worth waiting for!

jiturajgor said...

Happy birthday Anita. I learn one new term from you today, 'menopausal confidence' and I found it perfectly fitted to your personality.

kys said...

Happy Birthday!

I don't like to tell my age (39) because I'm not too happy about it. I know it's better than the alternative but I'm not at "that place", yet. I'm glad you are!

A Mom With A View said...

..Hey I've got an award for you...!!

Laura said...

Hi Anita!

Happy belated Birthday! I'm only 39 and I don't have any problem telling people my real age. Both my parents have died prematurely due to disease, so I know how short our lives can be. I try to make the most out of life and enjoy the journey!! It's so nice to meet you. Thanks for stopping by today. It's not often that I find a mom of three daughters spaced close together like mine. I look forward to hearing from you again!

The Things We Carried said...

I always tell my age. Why not? I am glad to be alive :)!

Happy Birthday to you!

My name is PJ. said...

I never kept my age a secret, although when I was in my 30's, I would tell people I was 45 and ask them, "Don't I look great?"

Age is just a number, trite but true.
I don't understand many things about people; lying about their ages is one of them.

Menopausal New Mom said...

Hey Anita, just wanted to invite you to my New Year's Party today, I have a little something for you there!

Marla at Always Nesting said...

I don't lie about my age and I'm sure never will. Why not be content with who we are at each age and each new season of life. I have a friend that just had a tummy tuck at 62 and she now has the tummy of a 10 year old. She looks wonderful but she got a blood clot and was hospitalized for a few days from complications. Scary.

Aging happens and I hope I am always healthy and happy. The only part that I hate about aging is that my eyesight has changed so much. When I have in my contacts, I can't read print in front of me but if I take them out, I can't see anything at a distance. I had to get a Bible with a super duper large font.

Anita said...

Hey Anita....I also just had a birthday, and I am 50.......and I'm not yet really that happy about it. I don't shy away from my age, or sharing it, but it has given me pause this year.

I'm not a big party on my day person either.
So happy Belated Birthday........and thanks for making me smile.

Pink said...

i stumbled to your blog.. *glad i did*
well... happy belated birthday for u anita! and happy new year too!! :))

i love your "menopausal confidence" thing, love how u perspective your age and journey!!

ModernMom said...

Oh Happy Birthday to you!
I love the menopausal confidence:)
Here's to a great year!

Anita said...

DORRAINE, JITURAJGOR, KYS, LAURA, THINGS WE CARRIED, PJ, MARLA, ANITA, PINK, MODERN MOM - Thanks for the birthday greetings and well wishes!
And thank you, as always, for the personal stories that add to my motivation to keep writing this blog. I love the honesty from you and the things you say to make me laugh.

So a couple of you like my "menopausal confidence" huh? :)

ANITA-Happy belated birthday to you too, and Happy Birthday to all THE REST OF YOU, when your birthday comes around.

DORRAINE - We're going to do our best to prove that doctor wrong! :)

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL MY FOLLOWERS AND READERS!

KEEP COMMENTING! :)

yonca said...

What a great post! Happy birthday Anita and Happy New Year! I'm 42 and always tell my real age. I used to like big parties but i don't anymore.
What is change. I haven't noticed. If my hubby and my son with me it is my happiest birthday party.My family and a few friends call and they really make me happy.