Thursday, December 13, 2007

Fifty and On Fire?

I turned fifty on December 12th and it hasn't grown on me yet.

A lot of people I know who are fifty plus have tried to relieve my angst by telling me that it's nothing, just another birthday but they're lying. I asked my friend Sandy what it was like turning half-century and with the luxury of time behind him he said, "Don't worry, it only took me four years to stop worrying about Death tapping me on the shoulder." How comforting.

In anticipation of tapping into the "elderly" buyer's market AARP starting soliciting me three years ago when I turned forty seven. It reminded me of when I was a kid and my mother would take me shopping at a department store and there in blatant bold letters hanging from a banner the store's advertising read "Back to School Specials." It was only July! We were just freed one month prior. Couldn't they let us enjoy our unscheduled time for just a couple of months?

AARP claims that members are required to be at least fifty years old. They had no problem cashing my check when I was a wee forrty nine. (I joined for the discounts although, I'm finding that I can get better prices on rental cars directly from the rental company's website.)

My apprehension turning the Big Five-O didn't affect my going ice skating with my wife at Bryant Park or continuing my marathon training or all the other activities that I'm engaged in. Still, there's now a certain race to get to I don't know where by the time my time has expired. I believe that it's now or never to be, do, become whatever is left for me to be, do and become. It's time to always be straight forward with everyone - not at their expense of course, only to be honest. No means no and yes means yes. I'd like to continue to say yes more than no when opportunity comes knocking at my door. The more I say "yes" the more I expand and grow.

Yesterday, my wife took me to a wonderful high tea at Lady Mendels at the Inn at Irving Place. I was the only male patron in the beautiful renovated brownstone complete with fireplace, antique furnishings and Christmas decorations. I brought along the recent AARP Newsletter to show my wife and it quickly caught fire when the waiter brought out a surprise birthday cake with way too many candles ablaze the white icing. How apropos: fifty and on fire!

Ensconced on a plush velvet settee behind our table, two experienced (formerly known as "senior") citizens sipped tea and were as cute and well dressed as the lace covered table settings. Although they asked each other "what did you say?" often, these two ladies were something to behold. Graceful and beautiful, strong and intelligent. They were probably as old as the brownstone hotel that held the elegant tearoom we sat in but I thought that if I live to be as old as these two, I hope that I can still get out of bed, dressed and exit the old age home to enjoy a cup of scintillating tea.

It's true that I don't want to lose my hair, hearing and eyesight. It's also true that I've been blessed beyond all imagination. I know that what's important is paying attention to all life's little details and to enjoy each and every moment. Still, I'd prefer that my body would stay young while my spirit grows wiser.
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