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.