...still celebrate birthdays. Yes, I mean my own.
I know. Some of you are shocked. It'll be okay. Take a deep breath, then read on.
I know some of you are probably shaking your head and wondering what is wrong with me. Birthdays are for children. What grown woman WANTS to celebrate being another year older? (What grown woman answers the question, "How old are you?" with the truth?).
And maybe that's the answer. Vertically speaking, I didn't grow much. Childhood doesn't seem like some distant, mythical place. Those memories are easily accessed, so childhood is just around the mental corner if I want a quick visit. My curiosity didn't get swallowed up by the reality of adulthood...it grew.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not mentally stuck in Kiddie La-La-Land. I'm a college educated, sensible female person who is organized and on time...usually even a little early. I have adult responsibilities, which I take seriously, and I tackle tasks given to me until completed. (That would be the family curse, tucked into my psyche by the little ditty, "If a job is first begun, never leave it til it's done. Be the labor great or small, do it well or not at all). Needless to say, I finish what I start...and on occasion, I've thought long and hard about starting something knowing I will be cursed to finish. Being organized means I have a job, do bookkeeping for Hubby's business and all the grunt work for our wounded soldier charity. I know what it means to be an adult. The problem is sometimes other people can't see that I am one.
There's a line in a Prince song which goes, "Act your age Mama, not your shoe size." For the record, my shoe size is 6.
However, since I'm not that tall, I've discovered over the years that people often treat me as if I am 6 years old. There's something about being short which makes some people treat you as if your I.Q. is related to your height. There is the occasional pat on the head...which is entirely different than a pat on the back. I get hugged a lot by strangers.
But you know what? For the most part, I don't mind. It just means I'm not getting old. There is a vast difference between the act of aging, gracefully or otherwise, and only having a passing interest in life because your birthdays are piling up. My curiosity hasn't aged, it's just gotten more intense! I still want to know "Why?", even if there isn't always a concrete answer. I want to know both sides of the story before making a choice...not always possible, I know. And as long as my sense of humor is fully intact, I will be able to find the funny in situations that may not be funny at the moment, but on reflection they probably will be.
I once worked as a Paralegal at a law office for folks who received services based on income. The two secretaries, the receptionist and I would go out to lunch about twice a year. The waitress would always address each of these women with, "And what can I get for you Ma'am?" Until they got to me. I always got a sunny smile and a, "And what can I get for you Sugar/Honey/Sweetie?" The receptionist once became incensed, demanding to know why I always got "sweet talk" when she was the youngest at the table. And therein was the answer: the other three were demanding from the start, complaining about the menu or the choice of side orders. I just politely answered the question and always said, "Thank you" when my meal arrived. A little kindness goes a long way. Or maybe the waitress thought one of them was my Mom. At least she didn't offer me a booster seat. (Though on occasion I probably could've used one).
And so today I will celebrate the me I have become, even if everything I've ever crammed into my head and life is still only a little over five feet off the ground. The answer to the question someone wants to ask is, "57". You see to me, each birthday is a victory...another year survived and a new one to look forward to. Then again, it probably is another little ditty I heard when I was a kid.
"Age is mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter."
I believed it then. And I still do. Now excuse me while I go see where Hubby hid my chocolate cake.