What brought me here today:
Many years ago, I had a late night conversation with my maternal grandmother Wilma. We were standing at the kitchen sink in the house I grew-up in. She was taking some pills before bed. I think that she was in her early 90’s. I asked her what it was like to have lived a life that encompassed so much of the 21st century. So much had happened in the world since she’d been born in 1907. I thought for sure she’d have some thoughts on the subject.
Wilma looked out of the kitchen windows for a few seconds and then laughed and said, “I guess I never thought I’d get to be this old!” And with that statement, she was off to bed. This seemed like a typical answer from my grandmother. Not a lot of detail, and ending in laughing a little at the apparent absurdity she saw around her at any given moment.
The older that I get, the more I know that a fair bit of my personality is much like my grandmother Wilma’s. And tomorrow is my 51st birthday. I can say, with a chuckle, “I do and don’t feel like I’m 51.” Then the Gen X part of my chronosphere kicks in and makes me wonder if there’s some commonality between my grandmother’s generation and mine. HA!
I’ve always looked a little younger than I actually am. There are a couple reasons for that. Or at least that’s what I think. First, I’ve never been a smoker. It’s a revolting habit and I was vehimently anti-smoking from a young age. Second, I’m not a big drinker. There was a time, when I was younger, when I drank more than I should have. I come from a family that has addiction problems. And feel fortunate that I was able to halt my alcohol drinking before it became abuse.
The third reason I feel as though I appear younger than my age is because I’m fat. I remember Rosie O’Donnell saying something about how the fat “poofs-out” the wrinkles. Or something to that effect. While my face is chubby, it’s not overly fat. I still keep looking for crows-feet and other wrinkles. The ones that I find are kind of small. The biggest wrinkle I have is between my eyebrows. A vertical ‘thinking’ or ‘paying attention’ looking wrinkle.
I am getting some age spots. Mostly on my hands and arms. And I do notice that the skin on my hands looks a bit ‘crepe-y’ too. My skin is so fair that I sunburn easily. Most of my time is spent indoors creating art. Not outside in direct sun. When I do go outside for long periods of time in the summer, SPF 50 is my best friend! I know I have some sun damage. It just doesn’t look as bad as it could I suppose.
I won’t lie. I’m beginning to feel my age. It takes me a little longer to recover from physical stresses and strains nowadays. Older injuries from surgeries and broken bones are beginning to I guess flare-up, you might say. My eyesight continues it’s inevitable decline. I have to use readers now to do most of my embroidery and hand sewing work. My husband bought me a lanyard for my readers because I kept dropping or misplacing them.
Menopause is right around the corner. Okay, maybe not quite ALL the way around the corner. I can maybe see it in my peripheral vision a bit. Some ‘items’ have shifted around a bit in transit as well. And some new and interesting occurances have made an appearance here and there. All of them are perfectly normal too. Which is another reason why I need to have that Bette Davis quote, “Getting old ain’t for sissies” embroidered onto something soon.
My husband has been ordered. Yes, ORDERED. To let me know when the mood swings arrive. There is no way in hell that I’m subjecting him to those. Been there. Seen that. So HRT is in my future. I just don’t know exactly when though.
Appearances can be deceiving:
I don’t exactly act my age. At my age, most of the people I went to high school with are grandparents. This kind of blows my mind a little. My husband and I don’t have any children. Which I suppose could be interpreted by some people to mean that we’re frozen in some adolescent stage of development. I don’t see it that way. But sometimes the way that I interact with the people and world around me could make people think I’m not an adult.
I spend the greater part of each day creating my personal artwork. All of my time and energies are put into creating my artwork and growing my small business. My days are largely up to me to schedule. When and how I work is up to me. I sometimes wonder if people my age see the life that I’m living and assume that I’m forever stuck at being sixteen years old?
Truthfully, I know that I don’t sound or act like I’m 51. I lose my shit when I see someone walking a dog down the street. (I had to stop writing because my neighbor was coming back from a walk with her two pups and I had to look.)Every flower I see while walking needs to be looked at, talked to, and a picture taken. I mutter strange things to myself like “What’s molentum?” and sing/hum little made-up songs to myself all the time.
Earlier in this post, I said that I do and don’t feel like I’m the age that I am. The curiosity and creativity that I seem to ooze out of every pore marks me as different from some people my age. But I don’t have the same stresses and responsibilities that some people my age have either! We don’t have a mortgage, kids, credit card debt, cars or tuition payments. None of the stereotypical ‘American Dream’ sorts of stuff. (I’m Gen X! I was jaded by the age of 10!)
Do I wonder what my life would have been like with a mortgage and kids and two cars, and the life that comes with it? Yeah. Sometimes. But I know I’ve chosen the life that I want to live. And the way that I want to live it. This birthday, in the badly paraphrased words of Henry Rollins, marks me as “crossing the 50 yard line marker of life” and now I’m “running towards life’s goal posts of death“.
Would I change anything if I could. Hell yes! But not the things you think I might. But that’s fodder for another type of blog post.
So now what?
I have plans for my birthay. The second holiday pop-up sale is tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll make some more money for my new (and more expensive) cell phone. Today, Berin and I are headed to our favourite local deli (Rosenfeld’s) for a ruben and to pick-up some cake for my birthday. If my new business cards are finished, we’ll pick those up too. The back to my Midden to finish-up a few angel doll ornaments for tomorrow.
Berin already bought me my birthday present. A Met Museum book, Surrealism Beyong Borders. Dada and Surrealism are my favourite art movements. We aren’t sure if we’ll get up to NY to see the exhibit though. The book is HUGE and has so many artists from around the world that I didn’t know about! The perfect gift for me!
Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you again next Friday.