I celebrated a birthday recently. I didn’t celebrate it very well, mind you. I don’t celebrate anything well anymore. I don’t know how to, primarily because the only time I stay up past midnight is with sick kids.
This was not your run of the mill, once a year, sort of birthday. No, it was more your “SOB! Not me! I can’t have lived this long and still not paid off my charge cards” kind of torture.
The thing is, nobody needs birthday parties in order to feel older. Our Drivers License photos do it perfectly well on their own. Besides, you know you’re getting older because the cops keep getting younger and younger. Soon they’ll be putting little cub scouts in uniforms and sending them out with toy guns to man the speed traps.
Getting older is particularly discouraging when you realize what other people have accomplished by the age of 40. Attila the Hun had conquered most of Europe before he was old enough to vote. Cleopatra had vamped the entire Mediterranean coastline while tossing Caesar Salad on the side, and Beethoven managed to write all sort of world class symphonies and go deaf by the time he was my age. Actually, he was dead by the time he was my age.
The worst thing about growing older is not the weight you gain, but the dreams you lose. For instance, I’m having trouble coming to terms with the fact that I will never be a major Vogue model. For one thing, we older broads can’t walk in high heels anymore without toppling over sideways. Something to do with the weight distribution further up. For another, we can’t see five inches ahead without our glasses. So unless Vogue wants a model crawling along the catwalk on her hands and knees, modeling is out.
No question, this birthday signals in new stage in life: when your furniture is much too nice to have another baby.
On the bright side, one of the minor irritants of aging is you tend to forget things. This has certain advantages. I forgot to phone my inlaws last week. I haven’t weighed myself in weeks. Any day now, I might forget I am married… oops, I forgot: this is a family column.