This is a good week for our “Birthday ” theme, as I had two fellow bloggers refer to their birthdays with in the last week or so, and both affected me very humorously… although that is not what they intended.
One writer-blogger, a wife and mother, was depressed over how slow her life was and her lack of solid accomplishments…as she turned 27. A foodblogger wrote a discourse on her aged-found insights and feelings on “getting older”…on her 23rd birthday!
Kids; go figure.
Six days before my 23rd birthday, my sister turned 30. She was a beautiful, clever, vivacious young widow,(may I add, she had a nice figure). She had two darling daughters, a steady income, a job she liked and a nice male companion, (she had the pick of many). There was every reason for her to have a long and bright future, but I made her an ‘over-the-hill’ cake….stark white icing with a black car going over a hump in the cake. I wrote in no uncertain terms,(also in black), that she was indeed ‘over-the-hill’. Imagine how silly my point of view was about age and my even worse perception of how fast those next seven years were going to pass for me.
Fast forward fifteen years: A close acquaintance confided that a mutual friend was depressed about her upcoming 50th birthday. The ‘birthday girl’ was a well-educated and accomplished nurse. Unless you knew how old her beautiful oldest children were, you would never have guessed her age. She had a seriously cute, youthful face and could easily pass for a dozen years younger. Her continual good humor and kindness was legendary among us, so to hear that her birthday was getting her down was mind-boggling to me. I related the story of how I perceived age in my youth and the cake I had made for my sister. Pat-the-acquaintance said, “That’s what Gerri keeps saying, ‘I’m over-the-hill’!” She said that she’d like to throw a party for Gerri to cheer her up. I asked if she’d like for me to make a cake and she said yes; she’d recruit another friend to call everyone, we’d set up a phony ‘meeting’ and spring a surprise party.
When Gerri walked in with her all-knowing husband, she was greeted with black balloons and many ’50-year-old’ party props. I let those nearer her age cajole her by singing songs and reading jokes about getting older from a book also found at the party store. Finally Gerri laughed until she cried and said that she realized that she was being silly…and then we had the cake.
I made of of my fanciest cake recipes for her. On the icing I made a hill with a road of multi-colored sprinkles going over it and put a cute little old car barely on the far side of the hump.
I put little wildflowers around and in one corner I wrote in pastels:
“Gerri may be over-the-hill, but she’s a classic”.
I had not been so kind to my sister.
Age is more than a state of mind. (If we’re as old as we feel, some of us are in trouble before we get out of bed in the morning.) We need to grow and learn. We miss opportunities; we go after the wrong ones. We have what we think is bad luck and it becomes a blessing; we think we have good luck and ,boy, we later know that we would have been better off without it.
Am I surprised when I look in the mirror and see the older me? Yep, every time. Would I go back and relive the past? Not a chance. I have 20/20 hindsight, and I know life is a series of birthdays which become new beginnings that are one step ahead of the last…and, luckily for us, we get one every year!