I turn forty-three this week and am not certain how to feel about this. Forty-three is a prime number which means absolutely nothing to me. It’s an odd number that I feel odd becoming. It feels obscure. If you asked me what I think is the most obscure time of the day, I’d say 4:33 a.m. in the dark of the morning. I thought maybe I should consider choosing a perspective on this subject. Possibilities include the negative, the positive, and the gracious point of views.
With the negative perspective, I could see my life as half over and obsess on the recent signs that my youth and beauty are waning. Let me tell you, those fits I threw when I turned twenty-five and twenty-nine would have nothing on the one I could be having right now. Except, I don’t even have the stamina to cry until the tears dripping into my ears give me an ear infection like I did then. Since then, I’ve realized every choice smacks of effort. I now choose to conserve that energy. I hate when we act like sore losers. That’s what I would be if I spazzed out over this inevitability we all get to experience? Like I’m too good for it or something … so fit-throwing and griping are out.
What’s my positive point of view? The fact that I actually have a positive outlook is 180 degree turn around from my past. I have made remarkable strides and accomplished a lot in the last ten years. I divorced the wrong guy and I married the right guy. I bought a house. I moved out of my comfort city. I had a little boy. I opened a shop. I quit smoking and started running. And I started writing regularly and for public consumption, risking the judgment of others all the way. Oh, and it would seem I developed a disgustingly happy outlook on life. Go figure. Happiness is all it’s cracked up to be.
Prior to this week, I was mentally just coasting on the b-day subject. As if the birthday wouldn’t happen if I didn’t think about it. But people won’t let you get away with that. They pester you for present ideas. Then they don’t think your suggestions will cost enough money to show their love and they buy you something else anyway. They send you cards and presents and then want to know if you’ve gotten them or opened them yet. Miss Manners would suggest you smile and say thank you and it will all be over soon. But if you are really lucky, while you’re waiting tables during lunch hour, you could receive a Gorilla-gram and have to smile graciously as the entire restaurant sings you Happy Birthday. At least it wasn’t a strip-o-gram.
I have settled on a gratitude themed birthday and I will don my rose colored glasses. I had nothing whatsoever to do with my own conception. I am humbled by and grateful to my Irish ancestors who persevered through their traumatic experiences. And I am grateful for the sense of humor that was passed along, too. I am happy to be seeing my forty-third birthday because the alternative is not seeing it. That was always possible. So on my day, I will be graciously accepting my gifts and thanking the appropriate sources. And then I’m going shopping like there’s no tomorrow.