Thursday, August 19, 2010

How I Turned Fifty

The actual day – my Friday the 13th birthday – was spent exactly as I had hoped, quietly, under the radar, no pomp whatsoever.

I woke up early and cleaned our beach house for our mandatory 11 a.m. departure. Laundry, sweeping, throwing food down the drain. Activities that were comfortable and familiar – and that I didn’t need to dress for.

I drove half our posse home, my brother drove the other half. Then, a few hours later, I drove him and my niece and nephew to the airport. On the way home I stopped at a bike shop to pick up a gel-filled seat-cover that I can put on the bikes that I ride during my spin classes. I’ve been going for about 9 months without, but I tried one once and it really did make the experience (and my keister) a whole lot happier. I brought the seat cover to the register and, on a lark, told the young man at the register it was my birthday.

“It’s my birthday today. Do I get a birthday discount?” This is exactly the sort of ballsy, obnoxious thing I used to do in my twenties and I was a little surprised to hear the words come out of my mouth these many decades later.

“Sure,” he said. “I’ll give you a birthday discount.” (Ten percent.)

The guy standing next to him said, “Would you like us to sing to you?”

“Why not?” They asked my name. Then they serenaded me.

When I got home, I sat down to read and one of my besties showed up with a big pink shopping bag. “It’s silly and frivolous,” she said (which is always a good choice for me). Inside was a Barbie – a new-fangled, B-cup, little-black-dressed Barbie with a bit too much smoky eye shadow and a Jennifer Anniston hair-do. Her hips are smaller than I ever remembered them being. Ditto her breasts. Finally, at 50, I can relate to her.

I really love Barbies, in a way I can’t explain and don’t even care to try. This one came with a lot of very fashionable shoes and accessories and now sits next to my computer to keep me company.

I took a long walk. I ate healthy food. I took a hot shower. And I gave a big boatload of thanks that I have been able to come this far with the good fortune I have been given.

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