So Who’s Counting? Thoughts On An Approaching Birthday

Reaction to a mile stone birthday (whether it’s 30, 40 or 50) can be handled in several ways. Serious denial and the contemplation of plastic surgery are, of course, one option. Total acceptance and a full speed ahead, damn the wrinkles attitude is another. Age shock usually sets in when we reach that point in our birthday parade where our teens are history and we’ve been out of school longer than we were in it. It’s also when we start worrying more about “Mr. Gravity” and “Oil of Olay” and less about whom Jennifer Aniston or Ryan Renolds  is dating.

       Some of us even start seeing someone else’s face staring back when we look in the mirror. Oh, it’s us all right. Only the face we see has a few wrinkles, a little gray hair and it some how vaguely resembles our mothers. However, most of us charging toward or tripping past a birthday with a 0 at the end it fall somewhere in between with a “well, I guess there’s not really too much I can do about it, I’m sort of depressed, this is not funny, what did you get me?” attitude.
   Personally I’m just a little over 50 and handling it pretty well (I thought). However, my birthday is on the horizon and I’d been feeling just a tad bit “middle aged”.
   It was in this contemplative pre birthday state of mind that I drove to work yesterday. I’d reached the point in my travels where construction had two lanes narrowing into one. There, beside me was a “hot” new truck being driven by what I can only describe as the Diet Coke guy with his shirt on. As I checked him out he turned his head towards me and smiled. Why, what a nice guy, I thought. Here we are stuck in rush hour traffic and he’s smiling. Then he waved. At this point my pulses actually started to race a little. I, of course, made the quantum leap from the rational train of thought of he was waving to: he’s flirting. Yes, folks, I convinced myself he was flirting. To be technical, he was car flirting and it’s been YEARS since anyone car flirted with me. Oh, I TRIED not to look again but wouldn’t you know it, I “accidentally” caught a glimpse. Then, he did it again. That little wave. Well, I was beside myself with joy. Here it was, that sign I’d been looking for that said “you’ve still got it”, you’re not over the hill, you’re not AN ADULT, you’re still flirt worthy! I couldn’t wait to tell my husband.
       I was ecstatic. I was beyond ecstatic. But, before I could check out my Mr. Handsome again fate deemed it was time for my lane to move. I gave a little wave back (I couldn’t resist) and drove on. As I move ahead, I heard a horn. It was a long, sort of sad sounding horn and I thought, “how charming, he’s saying good bye to a love that was never meant to be”. I felt 20 pounds lighter and 20 years younger. This was going to be a great day! Over 40 birthdays could indeed be marvelous. All was right in my world.
    It was two blocks later when my dream died. The construction ended and my “boyfriend” raced in front of me, cut me off and drove on without so much as a glance. This Adonis hadn’t wanted to flirt; he’d only wanted to merge, traffic wise, that is. My first reaction was to look around and see if anyone had noticed me making a fool of myself. Then I started laughing. The fantasy was great while it lasted.
    My mystery man, well, he’s long gone but he gave me an invaluable birthday present. Through our brief encounter I came to realize that every age is fabulous no matter who’s looking back at me in the mirror. I’d been set free of my age expectations. I am what I perceive myself to be at any given moment. I’m not 55. I’m 25 with 30 years experience. I can hardly wait until I’m 60.

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