‘What happened to “You sure don’t look it!”?’
I’ve whined (er, written) about birthdays before. (Thank you, Loyal Readers, for your patience with my elderly musings: “Sixteen Candles. Plus Another Sixteen. Or So.” “All Saints’ (Birth)Day.” “Skirting the Issue.” There are way too many — kind of like the number of candles on my cake.)
I’m actually grateful for reaching the astounding age that I have reached — especially when I consider the alternative. One of our friends, even older than I, has a motto: “Every day above ground is a good day,” with which I heartily concur.
Last year I celebrated a Landmark Birthday — seventy, it was, for heaven’s sakes — with a fancy party and all the glam trimmings. I was riding high on birthday glory when — about a week later, it felt like — I turned seventy-one.
See, that’s the trouble with birthdays. If they keep on coming — which, thank goodness, they have been, like clockwork every November — they keep on coming faster and faster. Golly. It seems like I just finished writing my thank-you notes when I’ve gotta dust off that Dempsey & Carroll all over again.
Well, I’ve already written about turning seventy and how it means that you start doing the math. (See “Doing the Math.” Duh.) Here’s a summary for those who hate clicking links in posts: After 70, you start making decisions based on numbers. Like, I’m not getting a New Kitty to replace the Late Lamented Wombat since a kitty could live to be twenty and…well, you do the math.
I’ve also already written about birthdays flying by waay too fast. (See any of the above-mentioned birthday posts.) Repeating one’s self, is, after all, a privilege of Getting Older.
But here’s a new Birthday Wrinkle. So to speak. At my birthday party last week, when people asked how old I was — which, by the way, only gets asked of children and the very old — when I responded, “Seventy-one,” I was met with a chorus of “Congratulations!” and “Happy Birthday!” I think there was even a “Best wishes!” in there somewhere.
But no one — repeat, no one — said, “Omigosh! You certainly don’t look seventy-one!” Nope. Not one single person. No “How can that possibly be?!” Or even a “What’s your secret?!” Just, “Happy Birthday” or its non-surprised equivalent.
This is kind of an adjustment for a person who used to round up the numbers in an effort to appear older. Oh well. I’ll get used to it. I guess.
The thing I’m having a harder time getting used to now that I am Post-Seventy is getting mistaken for my mother’s sister.
Granted, Mom and I do resemble one another. (A lot.) And, no, it’s not that I don’t think my mother is a good-looking person. (I do. She is.) But, well, she is my mother — and 22 years older than me. Though she doesn’t look it, darn her young-looking hide.
Oh well. So much for the Birthday Whine. In a little while I’ll switch to the other kind. Cheers!
Amagansett, New York. November 2022