Thursday, August 14, 2008

This Is What 45 Feels Like

Today is my birthday. I am 45. Is that officially mid-life? Can I realistically live to be 90? I suppose so.

The funny thing about turning 45 is that I don’t “feel” 45, even though I have no idea what it feels like to be 45. When I was a kid, 45 seemed really old. My grandmother, who lived to be 94, was getting perms and having her hair “set” every Saturday when she was 45. She wore cotton dresses and sensible shoes, glasses on a chain, drank Phillips Milk Of Magnesia, and drowned herself in Avon powder every morning. For nearly 50 years, she was “old.” At least old to a little kid. I’m sure she enjoyed her life the way it was. It just didn’t, and still doesn’t, seem like much fun.

Despite the arthritis, I’m the healthiest I’ve ever been as an adult. In my 20s, I went up and down the scale, drank like a fish, partied, smoked sometimes, had unprotected sex…I was not the healthiest person around. But then, I didn’t care. I was going to live forever. In my 30s, I settled down a little bit, although I got a tattoo on my 30th birthday after drinking too many Yuenglings and was dating someone 7 years younger than me (go me!), and toward the end of that decade, I was nearly 300 pounds and definitely not healthy.

My 40s, though…they’re alright. Sure, I color my hair to keep the gray at bay. I get a little more tired and I like a routine. But I’ve learned so much about myself and other people and how we all move and grow within this world that I wouldn’t trade this age for anything younger.

So on this, my 45th birthday, I’m officially welcoming the second half of my life. My husband is out of town so I’ll be celebrating alone, but alone is good. I need some alone time in my house to catch up from my trip last week. Here’s my day’s plan: I had a veggie egg-white omelet for breakfast and I’m about to have some yogurt with a nectarine; I’ll haul my bike to the bike trail this morning and ride 16 miles; when I get home I’ll put a Moroccan stew together in the crock pot for dinner; I’ll catch up on some writing and talk to my kids and probably my parents; and I’ll meditate on where my life has been, where it is now, and where I hope it will be in the next 10 years. No Milk of Magnesia or Avon powder; I’ll wear spandex bike shorts and Avia tennis shoes rather than a cotton dress and sensible shoes; and my hair will be free to blow in the wind instead of shellacked to my head with hair spray. I love you, Grandma, but this is what 45 should feel like.

Yes, this will be a good birth day.

17 comments:

  1. Happy Birthday, Lynn!!

    I enjoy my birthday more and more each year.

    I hope you will enjoy each of yours more and more too.

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  2. May your 90th birthday be all that turning 45 was and more! That's what I'm hoping for myself! HAPPY BIRTHDAY you amazing phenomenal woman! from Allyson in Olive Branch MS

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  3. And just remember -- you'll always be younger than me (but not by much).
    Happy Birthday!
    (I sent you a really annoying e-card with a singing elephant -- enjoy!)

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  4. Happy Birthday! How fun to have a birthday and look (and feel) so fabulous!

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  5. A very happy birthday to you!

    My mom and I were just talking about how old my greatgrandma (my mom's paternal grandmother) looked at 36 (we were sorting pictures).
    Anyone (not knowing) would guess her age to be 63 (not 36).

    This woman lived to be 98. But from 40 on - she just looked different shades of old. She was heavy and inactive - maybe that was part of it.

    I am 47 and look NOTHING like the "old" that she looked at 36.

    I wonder how much it had to do with the style of dress and hair then - it all looks like "old lady" to my mom and I as we sort pictures of groups of women - all different ages - but sort of in the same dresses and "set" hair.

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  6. Happy Birthday! Enjoy your day and congrats on all of your success and I cannot wait to see what you do next.

    Mara
    http://24stepstogo.blogspot.com/

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  7. Happy Birthday!! Enjoy your day and all the successes that have brought you this far :)

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  8. Happy Birthday Lynn! Here's to 45 more happy healthy lively years! :) I have to tell you I was reading your blog and my husband came in and asked who you were....I said, Oh that's Lynn. He asked Lynn who? I explained how I found you from the People magazine article. I had to chuckle because it sounded as if we were old friends. I know it's strange, but that's how you seem...like a dear old friend. And by old, I mean familiar because you are soooooo not old. :)

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  9. Happy Birthday, Lynn! Here's to another year of taking care of yourself and putting your health first - the best gift you can give or receive!

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  10. Happy Birthday, Lynn! What a great way to spend a birthday!

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  11. Happy! Happy! Joy! Joy!

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  12. Happy Birthday, Lynn! The world is a better place because you are in it!

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  13. Thank you so much for the birthday wishes!! I had a great day by myself, although saying goodbye to my friend as she moved an hour away was NOT a highlight.

    I'd love to know how you all celebrate your own birthdays. I need to ask that in a future blog, but if you want to tell me now, feel free.

    Thanks again for the good vibes. I really do appreciate it.

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  14. Thank you so much for the birthday wishes!! I had a great day by myself, although saying goodbye to my friend as she moved an hour away was NOT a highlight.

    I'd love to know how you all celebrate your own birthdays. I need to ask that in a future blog, but if you want to tell me now, feel free.

    Thanks again for the good vibes. I really do appreciate it.

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  15. Happy Birthday, Lynn, and here's to many more happy ones! And thanks for sharing your story, it has inspired me tremendously!

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  16. ahhh sounds like life is treating you well. or more like you are treating life well :) happy happyyy birthday to you! :)

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  17. Actually, I don't mind being 45. I expected to feel a lot older ... halfway to 90, should I start calling myself middle-aged? ... then I thought, the hell with that. Much better to focus on how much I'm enjoying life.

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