My poor calendar is wrought with hen scratches and marks of things to do, things that have been done and things that I should have done but the window for doing them slammed shut before I got the tasks done. I only use a pencil because just as sure as the moon rises in the East my plans will change and the eraser on the end of my pencil helps me to go with the flow of a forever changing schedule. For example; I was to go to a conference in Las Vegas in April but the plans went down the drain when I got the last opening to get into see my doctor, who is retiring this summer, to get that infamous annual physical. Let’s see, Las Vegas or physical? Well I didn’t go to Vegas—erase, erase.
In June I will change both the numbers in my age that mark my years here on Mother Earth. I have desires for my big day that I am not telling anyone because as soon as I say them out loud the fates will step in and squash them. Yes a new decade is about to befall me and it is still to be determined if my plans will come to be. I just love birthdays.
We, as humans, usually aarrgh about adding another year. But when it comes to entering into a new decade we same humans seem to take a bit of pride in making that milestone. There seems to be a nest of about ten or so of us in our little town that will move into that next decade this year. Some will do it with flare and some will do it quietly. Either way we all move with grace and anxiety. Grace to glide into an age that says we have been there and done that, a lot more than we probably should have. And anxious breaths that say to ourselves, “What is next to come?”
A scary sobering thought is that we are about to become the older generation we have talked about for years. Most of us have lived through the loss of grandparents, some parents and aunts and uncles. You know what that means? That was then, and now it is our time up to the plate. Now we don’t really aarrgh loudly about our number. Rather we make noise regarding the fact that there used to be loads of people in front of us that would meet their end long, long before us. We could watch life dance on thinking that we had forever to do whatever we wanted to do. But suddenly, in the blink of a crow footed eye, we are next in line for the bus to the next level of existence or nonexistence. Now don’t let me scare you. We are not going to go soon, but we are getting closer to the head of the line.
Even though our number will soon be headed by a new number we should take to heart that as we age so grows the number our government statisticians say is the “normal” life expectancy. When I was born women were told they would live to the ripe old age of about 70 and men, because they are not as hardy as women, would keel over anytime around 65. Well as the world got smarter and we found things like French fries, deep fried Twinkies and extreme thumb workouts while playing pong we can now say that women are thought to live well into their 90’s. While men, well, still they are not as hardy as women but their life expectancy jumped up to their mid-80’s.
So what does this mean for this group of new decade-ers in my community, including me? Fear not my blabbity blabbity year old friends, I just heard on the news that since the life expectancy has grown, not only is 30 the new 20 but as it goes 40 is the new 30 and then a jump occurs to say that 60 is the new 40. I guess if you are fifty you are just cruising through until you can be 40—again.
So put your best crow foot forward, dip you best varicose veined leg in the water at the pool, gather that shiny new grey hair up on your head and get out there and celebrate whatever age you are or whatever age the government says you are supposed to feel you are. As an e-mail note recently related to me, today is as young as you will ever be, tomorrow is the day you will be the oldest you have ever been and yesterday is just a memory. Uh I think that is what it said–as far as I remember.
Trina Machacek lives in Eureka. Her book ITY BITS can be found on Kindle. Share your thoughts and opinions with her at firstname.lastname@example.org.