Growing old ain’t for wimps. You’ve heard that phrase said a cajillion times, almost always from someone over the age of 65 whose knees have starting aching every time they leave their recliner or who wouldn’t take a bet on the next time their bowels will move. The word depends has taken on a whole new meaning for them.
I think every adult — particularly a, um, let’s say more mature adult — has a birthday that they dread. It’s almost always a landmark birthday of some sort. Mine was when I was turning what now seems a youthful 30. I reckon I dreaded that birthday mostly because I was in the midst of a divorce coupled with a bad case of strep throat. Forty didn’t bother me. Fifty was easy peezy because I informed all of my coworkers and friends that if I saw even one black balloon on my birthday, all hell would break loose. They apparently believed me, because my birthday cake was decorated in pastel colors and their was nary a balloon to be seen.
Bill turns 80 in October, and it is definitely his dreaded birthday. He keeps saying, “I can’t believe I’m turning 80. How in the hell did that happen?” Eighty is a large number, but Bill is about the most youthful 80-year-old that I know. Not only because he looks considerably younger than 80, but also because, despite being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease 13 years ago, he has a youthful outlook on life. Who else would decide to take up golf at his age and with his PD diagnosis? He happily plays the game with self confidence and a great attitude. Bill has fun with life.
The other night, we had dinner with my brother, his daughters Brooke and Jessie, and Jessie’s boyfriend Rob. We began talking about movie star crushes. (You never quite know what topics my family with tackle.) Brooke said that her husband Alexx has a movie-star crush on Reese Witherspoon. I admitted that my crush has always been Rob Lowe. Bill said his crush was Meg Ryan, put only before plastic surgery turned her into looking more like Bozo the Clown than Annie Reed from Sleepless in Seattle.
I always wonder if I had endless amounts of money, would I pay to attempt to look 40 years old for my entire life. I will confide in you all that I have wished I could have my eyelids tweaked once they began closing in on me. But I think at the end of the day, I would leave my face well enough alone. Perhaps had I been smarter, I wouldn’t have spent all those years in the sun with no hat and slathered in nothing but baby oil. But to try and look 40 when everything else about my person SCREAMS You Are 68 Years Old is foolhardy. God meant for us to age with grace. At least that’s what I tell myself.
Watch out. Before you know it, when I’m asked how I am, I will start saying, “Well, I woke up on the right side of the dirt this morning, so I reckon I’m doing just fine.”