I just had a birthday.
At my age, this is a big deal.
I mean, I’m not ready to pull the dirt over my head quite yet, but I’m not exactly dancing around and celebrating my “double digits” either, if you know what I mean.
I’m getting on in years. Getting long in the tooth. No longer a spring chicken.
If you think about the average life span in the US, I’m past halfway to home base. Way past halfway in fact.
So birthdays are definitely a time for reflection.
Last weekend, I reflected.
“Yay, me!”, I reflected. “I am still active and working and learning and enjoying my food and drink. I still have fun at the beach and I can still dance at weddings. Yay, me!”
“On the other hand,” I reflected, “I can’t hula hoop any more. I can’t eat too many beans. And I don’t know any of the songs on the radio.”
So I’m in that funny space in life. The one where everyone who sees you thinks you’re on the downhill slope, but you still feel like you’re new to the game.
And as I have reflected and thought and sipped on a few refreshing beverages, I have come to some conclusions that can only be reached by wise old owls like me.
And I’m willing to share my wisdom with you. Lucky, lucky you.
I have realized that its time to let go of some things. I’m ready to let go of beauty. I had some, once. But I don’t have to worry about it any more. The hair is silver, the jowls are jowly, the boobs are heading south. Let it go. I am happy to hand off the gift of beauty to my daughter and my young colleagues. I will celebrate your glowing skin, your silky hair, your tiny waists. I will raise a cup of hot mocha with whipped cream, and happily cede the joy of beauty to you.
I am willing to let go of fashion trends, too. I have never actually understood the whole “spring colors” thing anyway, so what the hell. I am willing to admit that I still buy Levis when I can get them. I wear Dansko clogs because they stop my knees/hips/back from aching all night. I do not understand leggings and I never will.
And I am so so happy to never again have to think about this year’s eye shadow tones! Let it go, let it go.
I am happy to let go of the pressure to say “yes” to every request. “No”, I am happy to respond, “I cannot volunteer at the local food coop. I’m old. I’m tired. I’m resting.”
“No,” I can now respond. “I won’t be available to work for two weeks this summer on the newest version of a reading program. I will be lying on my back on a beach. I won’t be awake enough to help.” Let it go, let it go, let it go.
But even as I am letting go of the frivolous, the superfluous, the unnecessary, I am happy to embrace a whole new world of joy.
I am ready to embrace my free time. I’ve earned it, dammit, its mine. I am not going to gum it up by writing elaborate lesson plans on how to add fractions.
I am ready to embrace my sick days, too. I’ve saved them up for 22 years now; when I wake up with a terrible headache or a burning sore throat, I am no longer going to make some tea, swallow some ibuprofin and hope for the best. Nope. Now I am going to log onto the sub folder, click on “sick day” and go back to bed. And maybe I’ll watch a marathon of “Dog Whisperer” while I eat my chicken soup. Who cares? I am embracing my mortality.
Time has gone on. I had a birthday.
I will let go of my frustration over changing educational fads. I will embrace my joy as I talk with my sweet students. I will let go of my sadness at no longer being relevant, and will embrace the freedom that comes from being ignored and left alone. I will let go of my “mommy” days, and will embrace my new role as the funny, happy relaxed “Nonni” who makes the awesome cookies.
Time to Let It Go.