Published 4/17/2009
by Eddy Robey M.A.
  Issue: 10.04
Birthday Bliss
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"How are you two doing today?" My neighbor enquired of Wagsy and me, as we met on our morning stroll.
"We're in a most excellent mood, both of us have birthdays next week," was my cheery reply.
"Gee, I wish I were as smiley as you are about birthdays," she said looking down at the ground.
Thus began one of several rather similar conversations I've had of late. Being a baby boomer, many of my friends seem to be having some difficulty as we all approach retirement age. The woman in the above exchange is fifty-one, and I am turning fifty-nine. This last weekend, the forum was a garden party with other members of my junior high alumni group.
It's noteworthy that most of us are pretty spry. Indeed, there's even a subset who go hiking every few weeks. However, there certainly is a lot of grouching about getting older. Okay, we do have our wrinkles and various infirmities, yet I sure wouldn't want to be young again.
You know what? After a bit of thought, neither would they. All it takes is a look back twenty or thirty years to show how much better off we are now.
The most important thing we've learned is that, if we are alive, nothing can ruin our lives without our consent. Whatever disasters befall, we'll get by, and there are always more pleasures to come. I don't do the stroll all night on a dance floor, but can still stroll through gardens and galleries to enjoy the beauty all around, even if it's in a wheelchair.
Some of the beauty of any setting is on me. As a young woman, my clothing had to be discreet, lest anyone receive a mistaken impression as to my respectability or lack thereof. Now, my dresses are in bright colors, there are gold shoes to wear when the mood strikes, and plenty of costume jewelry. Of course, the lot is topped with a red hat, the now universal emblem of a gal who is aging happily. Don't I worry about looking disreputable? Heck no; I am the only person who must be pleased with my attire. This holds equally true for men who are fond of loud shirts, big belt buckles, and hand painted neckties.
Do we worry about our children? In a word, no. We are concerned, and do our best to be helpful, but they are now old enough to take care of themselves, and would resent any active interference.  We know that, "Worry is the interest paid on a loan which never comes due." If action is required, we'll do whatever is possible, but fretting is pointless.
Allowing for practicalities, we can do as we like. Younger folks feel pressure to see the latest films, and listen to top 40 music. My latest Netflix video is the La Scala performance of Rossini's La Donna del Lago, and the CD to which I shuffle around this apartment might be Los Panchos or Smokey Robinson.
Our relationships are comfortable, or they don't exist. We know that people only change in their own good time, if they so choose. There is no reason for us to exert or accept pressure from anyone, with the possible exception of medical personnel trying to limit our cholesterol intake. It sure is nice to just relax and know that the people in our company enjoy us, or they wouldn't be there.
After I ran down some of the things above, my neighbor decided that some crinkles and creakiness were a small price to pay for such freedom. So, how will I celebrate my birthday?  You'll find me at Disneyland, probably on Mr. Toad's Wild Ride or sailing with Peter Pan. I've been there every year since it opened. You see, some things just keep getting better every year.
Copyright 2009 Eddy Robey

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