The two things I miss most about San Diego are the weather. It is perfect. . . well as perfect as it gets on this planet. . .and The European Cake Bakery. http://www.europeancakegallery.com/
Today, on my 54th birthday, if I were in San Diego I would be eating one of these:
If there is a perfect cake on earth, then it is found at the European Cake Bakery. If only there were a cure for Southern-Californian-Lifestyle Syndrome. Then again, not. Everyone would live there and the planet would be totally out of balance. Balance, not cake, is my real topic for today. I’d rather talk about cake but balance lasts longer.
For years, I’ve really hated my birthday. It had lost it’s magic. Birthday’s marked another year in the rapid passage of time that is my life. I suffered from ” OH-No-Not-Another-Birthday syndrome. This year is different. Maybe I’ve regained my balance. Age is a tightrope over time. . .and time. . . time is a human construct. It a means of stringing together a life made of individual moments. It gives us a sense of before and after. It creates history, continuity, legacy. Time isn’t some thing you can touch. You can’t capture it and give it to anyone else. You can’t control it. You can’t even really sell it even though lots of people try. We use time to make sense out of the present moment, to tell us where we are in relation to where we have been and where we might be.
At least that is what I use time for. Chronologically, I am 54 years of age. Since my birth 54 human years of time has passed. If I lived on another planet my age would be completely different. At 54 or 534, I have no desire for interplanetary travel unless, I could be 29 and a communications officer on a star fleet ship flying under the protection of the Federation of Planets. That remains for another life time. In this life, the nerd in me is as alive as she ever was. She doesn’t know time. (I really love her.)
Being 54 is actually a lot more fun than I expected. I actually saw the original Star Trek as a child. My mom was afraid that it would give me nightmares but I think she just said that because she didn’t like science fiction and wanted to watch something else. Being 54 gives me a life time of experience and the pay off of a life time of experience is really beginning to blossom.
And, while I most likely have already passed my half way point, the end doesn’t loom as large as it will 20 years from now. A lot can happen in 20 years. A lot already has.
In honor of my special day, I’m going to create a list of the great things about being 54!
1.) Forgetting things isn’t as bad as it first seemed. It’s great to forget what you were worrying about several minutes before.
2.) Senior discounts start kicking in at 55. . . at some places. The other day some youngster asked me if I was part of the “super-duper-exalted-princess club” (or something like that. I can’t remember.) Since I didn’t know what that was, I didn’t get the senior discount. I thought about being offended for a second or two and then forgot about getting upset. He was about 18 and all of us vintage people know that you can’t easily guess some one’s age unless they are near your own.
3.) Men hold open doors for me with greater frequency. Apparently, I’m starting to conduct myself like a member of the super-duper-exalted-princess club. I like it, especially if my shoulder is acting up with a bit of the “rheumatiz.” Having that door held open and men give a slight bow of the head makes me feel like a Queen. Feeling like a Queen at 54 is fabulous.
4.) The trivia knowledge I can draw upon about classic rock bands, tv shows and pop culture over the years grows with each passing year, provided that my memory is working well that day.
5.) I can let the word, “honey” slip when I’m talking to younger people and they are more apt to forgive me. Calling people honey sometimes feels really good and I just want to hug them but since that might be creepy, honey will have to do.
6.) I can look at my gray hair and fine lines and wrinkles and know that I earned them. Yes, I did! I earned every last one of them!
7.) Fewer and fewer things really upset me.
8.) I’m a lot more patient than I used to be.
9.) My social anxiety is easy to manage. I often forget about it.
10.) Finally, and most importantly, I am so much happier being me. There are a lot of challenges in my life. I get tired faster. Parts of my body don’t work as well as I would like. Cute is a ship that might have sailed (I’m still a Queen though and I cling to that). . .but it doesn’t really matter, underneath it all, I am learning how to accept myself, how to rise to the occasion, how to face adversity with grace and to respond to fear with courage. Growth isn’t a straight line and the years although chronological haven’t marked a linear growth. I still have “miles to go before I sleep and promises to keep.” That would once have overwhelmed me but now. . . in those quiet moments when the only voice I hear is the one inside my head, it often speaks with a calm reassurance and genuine love and affection.
Happy 54th birthday world! It’s been a good ride. I’ve got my helmet and my seat belt on. I’m ready for more!