One day over lunch my friend was lamenting about her upcoming birthday. She was turning thirty nine. She couldn’t believe that she was so old and lamented about how it was going to feel when she got older. “My god! How hard is it going to be to turn fifty?! What am I going to look like?! Am I going to be all dried up and wrinkled?!”
My birthday is coming up soon, but my own birthday has never been something I have ever made a big deal over. To me, it’s just another day. In all my life I only remember one party and perhaps a cake or two, but even when I was a child, birthdays just weren’t treated like a holiday. I can only guess that this was something with family traditions and customs, but the only birthday I can remember celebrating every year was my grandmother’s. I’m pretty sure the only reason we celebrated hers was because it was also their wedding anniversary, and that was definitely celebrated in our home.
It should come as no surprise that because I never really celebrate my birthday with all the trimmings, that I also rarely talk about my age. In fact, when I’m asked about it I have to stop and do some mental math. One year I kept telling people I was actually a year or two older than I actually was. When someone finally brought this to my attention, I turned to my husband and asked him why he didn’t tell me I was giving out the wrong age. He replied that he thought the age I was telling people was the age I truly wanted to be, so he just never corrected me.
That day at lunch I leaned over the table and smiled at my friend. I was hoping to set her mind at ease over aging, so I said to her, “There’s no reason to stress about getting older. If you want to know what fifty looks like, this is it right here. This is what fifty looks like.” My friend’s expression of shock was priceless when she told me, “Oh my gosh! All this time I thought we were the same age!” and then she grinned. It wasn’t going to be so bad after all.
I had just turned fifty that year and honestly, it felt like any other day or any other year. I don’t look fifty. I don’t even look forty. Age is just a number folks. It’s not something to ever lose sleep over.