A few years ago, I suffered the trauma of changing decades … again.
My husband and I first experienced this phenomenon on my twentieth birthday. I told my then-boyfriend, “Someday, I might even turn 30.”
He looked deep into my eyes. “Let’s grow old together.”
I reveled in our romantic moment—until he, who would not change decades for another six months, said, “Of course, you’ll always be older than me.”
He almost didn’t make it past his teens.
Facing this recent age shift, however, proved harder than facing 20, even if “60 is the new 40.” Yet, who am I to buck mathematical progress? Not only would I like those “60 is the new 40” folks to track my age, I wish they would check my weight. And work for the IRS.
I went further, embracing “60 is the new 30.” Changing decades this last time reminded me of pregnancy. The same gradual belly expansion, losing sight of feet. Wearing the same two waistless outfits, despite a full closet.
Still, changing decades again proved more positive than I anticipated.
Years ago, I read in a women’s magazine about an hour make-up regimen for joggers. Seriously.
Today, no one expects me to wear three kinds of lip gloss when I exercise. And run? Spectators applaud if I walk, displaying only mild cardiac symptoms.
Turning 60 also provided peace and quiet. Phone surveyors demanding input from the 35-to-59-year-old crowd suddenly lost interest in my views on Daylight Savings Time, potholes, sock replacement and the Theory of Relativity. I miss sharing my opinions. But what are relatives for?
Travel presents positives, too. When I was younger, flight attendants glared while I heaved my fat carry-on into a compartment. Now — especially if I clutch my back — they heave it for me and later extract it like a wisdom tooth.
That courtesy can’t compare, though, with my first-ever school lunch with my granddaughter. We ate in a claustrophobic room vibrating with jet-engine-decibel noise. Yet that dining experience rated five stars.
Na-na-na-boo-boo! I received the senior discount, and he didn’t.
How do you celebrate changing decades? Cruises? Trips to Paris? Extra prune juice?
Oh, my God, tomorrow this 1953 model turns 63. Like its creaky Chevy counterpart, some parts don’t work so well. Still, me and the Chevy get around. But no car’s chassis spreads with each passing year, whereas mine . . . OMG, You are the Designer. Maybe You might fix that?
Not that those who celebrate December birthdays have it so great. Do children born in June receive gifts with tags that state “This is for D-Day and your birthday”?
Still, in December, the whole world puts on its festive best. You share your birthday month with Jesus, and that’s a cool thing.
January birthdays don’t generate similar enthusiasm, as the whole world diets. No matter how you decorate it, a birthday veggie tray with fat-free dip doesn’t attract the same crowds.
At Christmas, people mortgage their organs to be with kin. By January 2, however, even close relatives develop allergies to the cold – and each other. An important safety principle: the cosmos will crash if we see relatives more than once a year.
Even those willing to risk life and limb to attend January celebrations face gift challenges that would daunt Santa. As of December 25, Birthday Boy already owns a robot that makes his bed, does homework and gargles for him. He has stashed his excess Christmas cash in T-bills, since the stock market is down.
Mom and Dad could use a nice little check, which makes gift-giving easy if the birthday person is a grown-up. But many adults don’t feel like blowing out birthday candles in January. Their years have risen like heating bills. Nice little birthday check? They need gold bars to shrink January Visa bills.
I even sympathize with my brothers, born this month. I didn’t when we were children, however. Only weeks after Christmas, they received another gift, whereas I waited until March to collect birthday booty.
Two of our grandchildren celebrate January birthdays. My husband notes that they enjoy the old-fashioned games we give them more than electronic versions: when they lose, they can throw game pieces at their siblings.
But if January birthdays bug them as they grow older, we will point out that even January birthdays haven’t stopped Martin Luther King, Jr., Carl Sandburg, or the painter Cezanne. Or Benjamin Franklin, Mary Lou Retton or George Burns. Or Edith Wharton, Mozart or Jackie Robinson. No birthday veggie trays have kept them from leaving unique footprints in their worlds’ snowy paths.
God Himself decorates for January birthdays. Plus, He gives hills to sled, snow forts to build, and hot chocolate with gooey marshmallows to guzzle.
Best of all, He has made January the premium snuggle and huggle month for all ages. Hugs never show up on a Visa statement, and they leave love imprints no raging snowstorms can erase.
Actually, a January birthday is pretty special. Just like our grandkids.
Are you a lucky January birthday girl or boy?