“That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet.” Emily Dickinson
Remember when you were a kid? It was important to be very exact when telling your age: “I’m 7 ½” or “I’m going to be 10 in a few months,” or even “I’m almost 16,” from a 14 year old. The milestones toward adulthood—turning 16, then 18, then finally 21—are eagerly noted and celebrated with great fanfare. When did all that stop?
George Carlin muses about this same phenomenon, and then looks at the language we use to mark growing older once we celebrate our more adult years. As he says, “You BECOME 21, TURN 30, PUSH 40, REACH 50, and MAKE it to 60. You have built up so much speed that you HIT 70! After that, it’s a day-by-day thing.” Somewhere in there middle age sets in!
But even though I am now middle-aged, I have decided that I am not going to get old! I plan to stay young at heart as long as possible. To play games, eat ice cream, and celebrate the passing of each day. I am going to make plans and mark off accomplishments. I am going to decorate with balloons. I am going to blow out candles so all my wishes come true. I might even hug a gorilla. No matter what your age—8, 18, 42, 83, 91 and holding—taking action to note your birthdays is important! It alerts the world, you have hopes and plans for tomorrow. As Walt Disney says, “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”
I am making this announcement today, because I am officially 56 ½ years old. Today! Happy Almost Birthday to me!
I am also taking the time today to report a few updates on the goals I have set for myself by the time I officially reach 57 years young. In an earlier posting, I reported on seven goals I am working on in no particular order. I have not started on everything, but I have made some progress. I am eating healthier, sorting and scanning my old photos, reading a book off my to-read list, and making plans to advertise my educational consulting business once the new fiscal year gets started next month. In the next six months, I vow to get a lot done—but not before I celebrate today—and maybe even tomorrow.
Of course, just because I am counting birthdays and refusing to grow old does not mean that I do not have aches and pains, repeat myself way too often, say things that sound just like my mother, and have more senior moments than I can remember. But those things are part of life, so I guess they are not so bad. And laughing over them, at myself, with others, makes everything better. As Michael Pritchard says, “You don’t stop laughing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop laughing.”
As my gift to myself and to each of you on my 56 ½ birthday, I share this video rendition of the song “Memories.” It makes me laugh every time I watch it—and I don’t think it is just because I forget what’s coming next.