Birthdays. Even though my business is named Aging Schmaging, and even though I honestly know and believe aging is a gift, I still feel, well, doggedly resistant to the years adding up. And up. Annnnnd up.
I see the changes to my body. My night vision is different. Knee joints are a little more vocal, and my back throws regular temper tantrums.
When out and about I wonder how strangers view me…do they see the woman I feel I am (playful and happy), do they see a woman with milage, or do they see me at all?
These are hardly unique ponderings, but there they are.
And yet this year was different.
As I tip-toed closer to “the date,” I amazed myself by letting go of those pesky perceptions.
Maybe it is because we’re in a time of COVID-crazy. Despite the 24/7 news accounts, I refuse to fall into the general theme of fear and loss. Why? Because I believe we get more of what we think about, and I sure as heck do not want more illness and accusations of where and how we are falling short.
Instead, I choose to focus on the countless beautiful things all around…the return of spring, for example…and thus, my feelings of appreciation outweigh the negative energy onslaught.
At any given time, you will find me humming favorite tunes, slapping my hubby on the butt, and going into spontaneous dance mode. (It looks like I am having a seizure, but I’m fine.)
It was during one of those dances that I had a couple of epiphanies.
- I am not a good dancer. But since I am mostly by myself, who cares?
- Cats are judgemental about my dancing, but I am judgemental about their hairballs on the carpet, so we are even. Or ARE we?
- I was viewing aging with the wrong lens.
Aging is not about loss. It is about change, but what phase of life is devoid of change? Nada. Zero.
We learn, we adapt. Rinse and repeat.
For example, when we come to the end of a road, we usually do not sit down and moan that we are stuck or doomed. No, we curse our GPS for bringing us there and then move on.
And you know what?
The scenery discovered on a new road, or path, or life, are gifts of change…if we choose to see.
I create the life I am living. Me.
No more chapters where I am the victim of society’s preference for youth. No more chapters where I am the victim of my past. In fact, let’s just delete the word victim.
So this year on my birthday I smiled a lot. I delighted in the snarky age-ist cards from my family and celebrated their warped senses of humor. I wore an age-inappropriate red thong under my jeans. I ate birthday cake with zero guilt, and thanked, thanked, thanked people for wishing me well.
When I blew out the candles I made my wish for the future.
You had better believe it’s a good one.
I needed this today, Gail! Loved it! Happy Birthday and you are always beautiful 👍
Aww. Thank you. I catch myself noticing changes going on with my body, and then reframe what matters. I think how lucky I am to have another day on this earth along with love, happiness, and countless blessings. I hope it is the same for you. Thank you for commenting, Laura.
carrie miller says
Gayle – wishing you a belated Happy Birthday! I loved this piece, and i always enjoy reading your creations. You are super talented in all of your creative pursuits. As an observer, I am certain that what people see when you are out and about is an incredibly beautiful woman – and if they know you, then they know you are equally beautiful inside…and truly that is the most important beauty! You are so blessed to embody both types my former classmate.
Geez. I’m blushing. Thank you, Carrie. I guess what I want people to see is a happy person. Life is short, and I want to savor as much as possible. I hope you know you are beautiful, too!