So nobody can actually escape having a birthday, now can they? Well, it was my turn this last week. Remember the excitement of turning 16 and no longer having to impatiently wait for your parents to arrive late to pick you up? Then there was the thrill of turning 18 so you could be labeled an adult and finally, turning 21 to officially be legal. (I’m sure that mattered more to you than to me!) Heck, even 25 meant your insurance rates would go down. Not such a bad gig.
So why aren’t there any perks to getting old? How come you don’t get a permanent 20% off at Home Depot once you turn 35 since you wouldn’t have set foot in the place 10 years before? Or what about an automatic upgrade to first class each year that ends in 1 like 41, 51, etc? Perhaps you should get free cake at any restaurant the entire year you are 37 in honor of Marie Antoinette who thankfully declared “Let them eat cake!” (I’d just be doing as I was told.) And what about free online dating for all employed dateless singles between 27 and 30 years old? Plus, limo service to family dinners should be free once you turn 90 because there better be some pretty damn good perks if I make it there! Or are you just supposed to be old and wise enough to realize that aging doesn’t really suck that much?
Sure, people break out the black candles and balloons when you get old, but then again, I was always kinda partial to the color black anyway. How can’t you like a “color” that makes you look less fat?? And yeah, this won’t be the year you go to prom, but really, was it worth the pressure of finding a date, getting the exact right outfits, and buying freaking flowers? No doubt that this won’t be my year of shot glasses, spring break in Daytona, or pictures of me in a bikini. Oh, but then again, that didn’t happen when I was in college either! I was too poor for spring break. A jigger put me outta commission for 3 days, and bikinis were for skinny, tan bitches and of the 3 descriptors I only qualified as a bitch. But on the flip side, this might be the year you get new windows for your house. You might compete in a “Biggest Loser” contest (weight or general personality, you can decide which), go on a vacation to the coast just you and your camera, or get that big promotion at work that means you get 4 day work weeks or make enough money to get a housekeeper. For me, it might be the year I construct a tower of my husband’s socks, call it art, and become the next America’s Got Talent winner. Each year, even when you’re old, is open to new possibilities and the unknown. And isn’t it an even greater feeling to know that you won’t have to take Government class again or ask permission to go to your locker?
So what’s my point to all of this? Well, here’s what I think: I think that my being a year older isn’t as bad the gray hair makes you think it is. I’m gonna celebrate. You’re welcome to join me, but I’m definitely blowin’ the candles out again!
The reasons to celebrate are endless. First one: the student loans are gone. That’s right, we’re old enough that those days of subsisting on macaroni and cheese while the good money rolls out to Mr. U.S. Dept. of Ed. are over. I can actually pay my bills without the fear of the Visa police calling to say, “you have gone over your limit” with a Mawahhaha! sound after it. Nor do I have to sleep on somebody’s couch when I travel. Thankfully, I do not own a futon or a flip ‘n fuck, or dry off with sandpaper-like, old dead bath towels unless I’m just too lazy to purchase more. And I’m guessing you’re no different. You probably have a big screen TV in your house so even though you’re getting old and blind, you can still see it, although you’re more likely to be falling asleep in the recliner when you’re watching it. That’s how good it’s gotten in our worlds.
Life is now about comfort. You can sleep when you want for however long you want and nobody’s gonna freeze your bra or wake you up to go to the bar. Now, we wear shoes with arches that don’t hurt our feet and a winter parka when it’s cold, instead of a to-die-for-cutest-vest ever that flatters your curves even though your arms are numb and your lips are turning blue.
It’s the greatest thing! All those things my mom said would matter in the real world really do matter and all those things we sucked at or didn’t have or couldn’t figure out in high school really don’t. People actually care more about work ethic, timeliness, and your empathic heart than they do about your ghetto booty ass size, the Gap insignia on your left boob pocket, or whether or not you married the captain of the cheerleading squad.
I, personally, have also realized that I no longer obsess about the zit on my forehead, the misappropriated amount of thigh I have, or if it’s okay to wear white after Labor Day (p.s. – it is if done so properly – i.e. a white trench coat over a gorgeous sweater, not a white thong whale-tailing above low-rider Guess jeans especially if you’re a guy, or tight, white stirrup pants circa 1983). Nobody really gives a crap what we look like as long as we are deodorized, showered, and properly covered.
In the adult world, I am married and clothed so no one cares whether my hair is cut, my eyeshadow highlights my eyes, or if my socks are sooo 2003. All that really matters is how I treat everyone. Who knew that would actually matter in the real world? But strangely enough, it does! Sure, there are probably people who still judge me on what I weigh and how bad my arm fat sags, but the important people in my world only care that I remember their birthdays, I show up on time, I pay my own way, I share my ice cream, and I listen when their dog dies.
So maybe we’re ma’ams and sirs and sing Chesney instead of Bieber, and we’re old enough to know who Josie Grossy is and couldn’t be paid enough to take our turns at high school again. But I think I’m finally okay with that. Feel free to join me over at the Cheesecake Factory. I’ll be the one just getting old and taking my 37th year of cake instead!