I turn 60 this week. I don’t understand how this happened in the same way that I don’t understand how the sun makes its way up into the sky every day and shines its magical beams in my face, how you can actually make a whole new person out of a couple of cells you carry with you your whole life, how bread is so fucking delicious.
People tell me that age is just a number (they are generally under 60). They say that I look great for my age (I wear stylish clothes, am not grossly overweight). Some of them say, “Really? Wow,” like I just blew their minds that someone they know could be so old.
I want this birthday to be about gratitude and how older women are having a moment, how women, in general, are having a moment, in fact. But here in the days leading up to the fire hazard which will be my birthday cake, I am not feeling like having a moment, I’m feeling like having a nap.
I think it’s the shock. I think it’s the stereotype I have in my mind of my mom (although extremely fashionable ) in pink curlers and a kerchief heading to the market, a vision of what 60 used to mean to me. Read: old.
Aging is so unoriginal. You have to do it, or you have to wear a casket. I always thought I could avoid it, like somehow being the youngest in a large extended family made me impervious. But when you’re 60, nobody is confusing you with being young anymore. I mean, if I got hit by a car and died at 59, people would say, “Oh, and she was only 59.” But if I was hit by a car and died at 60, they would say, “Well…..she was 60.”
I freaked out before 30. I freaked out before 40. I freaked out before 50. And now I am freaking out before 60. But what I have to remember is that the very day after each of those big birthdays, I felt just great. So I’m hoping the lead up is worse than the reality and you will get an empowering post about aging very soon.
Because what I want to feel about this birthday is that I am lucky as hell to have stacked up so many years, that I’m grateful about all that I have in my life, that I will gracefully go kicking ass and taking names, raising hell and having fun into my golden years. But today? Today I see pink curlers in my hair when I look in the mirror.