Monday, October 20, 2008

When I’m 64…

My thirty-something birthday was last week, and I had a marvelous time. My husband made his famous (and my favorite) Eggs Benedict for breakfast, I shopped all day with my mother, and then went to eat dinner (sans children) at a fancy restaurant in Boston that does not serve mac n’ cheese or chicken strips. I was able to order what I wanted without thinking about what child I would share with, and didn’t have to say, “please sit down and stop kicking the seat,” once. I threw back two French martini’s and didn’t worry about who was going to put the kids to bed. It was a great day.

But, you know you’ve reached a new age plateau when the gifts you request for your birthday (or even Christmas for that matter) go from a want to a need. In fact, I think I reached that Grown Up Place, because this year my gifts were practical and needed. I opened up my new slippers and socks with the same joy my daughter opened her Hanna Montana wig last Christmas. I put on those slippers and haven’t taken them off since. I oohed and ahhed at the two kitchen whisks I received from my sister-in-law, to replace the one that my son decided to use for a modern sculpture of a banana. Now I can effectively beat eggs and whisk gravy using more than one whisk loop at a time. I got a gift card from my parents-in-law, and purchased two shirts that do not have oil stains or bleach marks; shirts that have only belonged to me and did not come from my Mother’s Closet—the only other place I really get clothes. My husband got me sleep wear, but before you go thinking it’s something remotely sexy, it was a pair of black spandex capris and two cotton tank tops. I asked for these because my old 80’s spandex shorts are now to worn to be worn, and I’m sick of turquoise. I also really need new underwear, but I have to save something for my Christmas list.

I realize that I’m starting to sound pathetic. I fight and fight to keep that youthful attitude, appearance and desires going, but honestly, that kind of mentality takes excessive energy. There aren’t many things these days that sound as good as laying in a warm bed with a good book. When I shop (much to the dismay of my sisters and close friends) I am drawn to things described as “cozy,” “cotton,” or “machine-wash-tumble-dry,” and not “trendy,” “sexy,” and definitely not “dry-clean-only.” I would rather wear something comfortable, that does not prevent me from taking deep breaths, show my mid-riff when I raise my arms, or pinch my crotch when I sit or bend over. If the care instructions require anything more than washing and drying, I leave it on the rack in the store. Hang dry? Nope. Hand wash? Hell no. Dry clean only? I can guarantee it will remain dirty.

Perhaps I’m an old soul, as they say, for my desire for comfort goes way back. My mother used to incase all the seams of my nightgowns in flannel because they itched me. I refused to wear overalls because they pinched my crotch when I bent over to play. I wore my socks inside out until—well okay I still do—because the seams bother my toes. I even made sure my wedding dress had enough room so I could eat without feeling all gassy. My mother calls me a high-maintenance princess. I think I’m really a 65 year-old trapped in a young woman’s body. In fact, my two favorite articles of clothing happen to be two cozy cardigans I wear around the house.

Many people grumble about getting older. I think it’s been kinda neat so far. I admit I haven’t been hit with any huge health issues, failing joints, or memory problems lasting more than 24 hours. Here are three things I am still looking forward to when I “grow up:”

The ability to sleep wherever and whenever I want.
This has to be one of the biggest benefits I see of being old. How great to sit in a chair, chin resting on your neck, mouth agape, blaring TV on, and be completely asleep! Sound sleep always eludes me, even with four pillows, a feather comforter, a lavender eye mask and a Tylenol PM. I am such a light sleeper I wake up to water dripping, creaking loft ladders, and whimpering children. I deal with a snoring husband, an alarm clock that is too bright, and blinking phone lights. I cannot wait to be older and be able to fall asleep sitting up, or better yet, in mid sentence. How awesome to sleep so soundly that the sound of my own breath does not wake me, or drool startle me. I can’t wait!!

To unabashedly wear comfortable things.
I’m not quite at the elastic waist band phase yet, but I look forward to it. Not that I’m a big eater, but I love the thought of being able to eat, say, Thanksgiving dinner, and not have to lay down or unbutton my pants to breathe afterwards. The idea of buying shoes because they feel like walking on marshmallows, not because they accentuate my pedicure, is enticing. Imagine how much happier women would be if their feet didn’t hurt all the time. I also wouldn’t need to be concerned with dry heels, and worry and fret that people are talking about how I should really use some lotion.

Okay, so I had to mention it. In fact, if I could catalog-order menopause, I would have done it yesterday. How great not to have to worry and fret over birth control! No more periods! No more marks on the calendar! Gone is the apprehension that you’ll be caught off-guard and without a panty liner to your name. Oh sure, I know there are side effects and problems associated with menopause. But I figure it can’t be any worse than my current mood swings, migraine marathons and general bitchy-ness, right? Just ask my husband. He’s campaigning for my menopausal age too. In fact, in another lifetime, on another planet, it would be neat if you could check out a uterus like a library book. Want children? Go to the Uterus-ary. Done? “I’d like to return my uterus now. It was great! Gave me three perfect kids. I’d recommend this one for sure, but I’m all finished with it, thanks.” No late fees apply.

There are many great benefits to getting older, I think we all just spend a lot of time focusing on the negative. The pain. The inability to see or hear well. But there are good points too. What about you? What are you looking forward to when you Grow Up?

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