Well here goes…a column about age. Not aging. Why? Because this month I’m having one of those decade-changing birthdays and admittedly, I’m not feeling anywhere near this new number with a goose egg behind it. Recently I mentioned to someone that the first number of my soon-to-be “new age” is my favorite and luckiest. However, it’s the zero behind it that had me pondering. I loved the lighthearted response telling me to just put the zero first. Now, that’s my kind of problem solving!
If age is “just a number” then why all the comebacks and comments about it such as claiming that “sixty is the new forty”? If that’s true, then is “seventy the new fifty”? And what about the people who celebrate their fortieth or fiftieth birthday? Are they still claiming to be twenty-nine years old like Jack Benny was eternally thirty-nine?
Seriously, I don’t take my age seriously. If anything, I am in awe of the number of years I’ve lived. With this birthday on approach, I’ve been reflecting on the wisdom gained and the experiences that gave it to me. Enough to fill a book or two. For now, I prefer to make a couple of top ten lists—one for the challenges that taught me life-changing insight and the other for life-changing memories.
To commemorate this birthday, I’m creating a unique artistic display for my wall. It’s prompted by a gift given to me by a thoughtful neighbor ten years ago. I loved the idea of how she sewed a button on a strip of fabric for each year of my life. This year for my sister’s sixtieth I made a similar gift like the one I had received using buttons from our mother’s collection. As I sewed each one on a tapestry cord, I reflected on each year of her life. It was one of the most special gifts I’ve given. Decided to make one for myself to commemorate my birthday as well. Time is ticking so I need to get started because I have a feeling it’ll take longer to reflect on the memories of each year than it will to sew on the button it represents.
Because I do believe that age is just a number, I will continue to dream big and keep going for the gusto. Research confirms that when we stay engaged in our lives, always feeding the pipeline of potential, we continue to thrive in them. Guess that fits right in with the belief that staying active keeps us young at heart.
Originally published–The Orange County Register, October 10, 2019