Today is my birthday.
I can hardly believe it, but I’m just three years shy of 60—an age I’ve always associated with grandmothers, polyester outfits in pastels and flower patterns, scented bath powder, support hose and thick, blocky, sensible shoes.
But I’m not a grandma, have no polyester in my wardrobe, no bath powder in my bathroom cabinet, and I’ve never worn support hose in my life. I guess there’s still time…
I do have thick, blocky, sensible shoes—but not because I’m elderly, but because I have rheumatoid disease and pretty, thin, narrow shoes with elevated heels cause me pain. I’ve been wearing ugly shoes since I was 31 years old. They look OK to me now.
When I turned 50 a friend said, “Hey, don’t worry! Fifty is the new 30.” I laughed. “Yeah, right.” Talk about a boomer cliché! We’re the Peter Pan generation. We’ll never grow up. I rolled my eyes and blew out the candles.
But now that I’m closing in on 60, I’m beginning to change my mind. If “50 is the new 30,” then isn’t 60 the new 40? Because while I didn’t feel a bit like I was 30 years old when I turned 50, I do feel about like I did when I turned 40.
Well, minus the active RA. When I was 40, my ol’ rheuma-dragon was dozing.
And that’s the point of this silly post. I don’t feel like I’m 57, even though my re-awakened rheumatoid arthritis often makes my joints feel stiff and achy, my daughter is now in her 30s and my husband has gone almost completely gray. No, I feel like the 40-ish woman who went backpacking in the Desolation Wilderness and hiked the California foothills back-country, photographing firefighters battling wildfires.
But most of all, I just feel like myself—the same self I was at 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 years old, that same curious, knowledge-hungry child I’ve always been, still gazing at this wild, wonderful world from the same big blue eyes.
Maybe I’m Peter Pan after all.