When you get OLD

1970 1 yr oldToday ends my series on birthdays.  I’ve covered birthdays for Wild Things (aka 11-year-old boys) and birthdays for giggly 14-year-old girls…and now will conclude with what happens when you get OLD and are three feet away from the grave.  (Since it’s “Plan your Epitaph Day”…it’s fitting).

From your 1st birthday on…you’re on your way to getting OLD.  When you’re YOUNG, birthdays are magical.  The world cares that you have grown another year older and nice people (like your Mom) honor you with a beautiful cake and presents and a bunch of other hullabaloo.  My mom made the coolest cakes for me as I toiled to grow OLDER each year.

1975 bday2Even when I was only 1, and wouldn’t have known if she skipped my special day or not, Mom celebrated.  She decorated that cute pink cake above and let me have at it!

As the years passed, my mom marked each of my milestones (or yearstones) with another cake just for ME!  I was the awesome superhero of the day, because I had somehow managed to be born on the one day of the year that is most miraculous.

1980 bday2When you’re young, the world bows to your wishes on your day.  Candles mean something—flames symbolizing hope and wisdom–and you MUST have the EXACT number representing your age, or the world will disintegrate into dust or something horrible like that.

And then you get OLD.

I don’t know when it happens.  Age creeps up on you (you notice it when you look back through pictures), and before you know it…your birthday is just another day.  No one bows to your wishes; they just holler out their breakfast order and tell you that you don’t match.  Candles come to symbolize forest fires, and the only Superhero you resemble is the saggy Mermaid Man or Barnacle Boy from Sponge Bob Square Pants.

When you get OLD, your friends might pat you on the back and say, “Happy Birthday;” you’ll get dozens of “Happy Birthday” messages on Facebook; and your family might be nice enough to make you breakfast, but there isn’t any excitement or superhero quality to it like when you were YOUNG.

P1020723When you get OLD, people figure you’re not going to be around for too much longer (under 60 years), so they don’t waste gift wrap on you anymore (conserve the Earth; it will be here longer).

Your family might throw your presents in whatever they can find—a trumpet case, the dog’s hairy blanket, boxes without any paper (but hey, in my defense, it would have cost a lot of money to wrap those big boxes; the gift was hidden—that’s all that mattered, right?)

When you get OLD, candles don’t matter anymore either.  Who cares what age you really are—you’re OLD!  Someone looks in the cupboard and finds 17 candles, and Wa-Lah—you are 17 again, as your family sings off-key to you, and your daughter laughs that her dad is the same age as her.

P1020732When you get old, you have to even do lame things like pretend you are blowing out your candles because your wife isn’t so quick anymore with the camera (I don’t know that I ever was).

But even though you lose Super-Hero status and people don’t bow to your wishes anymore, you have a great sense of humor about it…because you’re OLD…and have had years to get over yourself!

It’s fun to be 17 again and revel in all your terribly wrapped gifts.  It’s fun wondering whether you’re 42 or 43 this year, and being too lazy to do the math to figure it out?  It’s fun to revel in memory loss and weather-watching.  It’s HEAPS better than being in junior high waiting for the magical 13th birthday to solve all your problems.

bdayI like being OLD!  I miss the fancy birthday cakes and magical birthdays of my youth a little, but I’ve got all these memories now to keep me laughing…and I’ll take OLD with a ton of memories any day to those insecure, memory lacking days of my youth.

If you’re YOUNG, enjoy your birthdays now…because someday, you’ll get OLD too.  But that’s when life gets fun…because you are okay with being a bit nerdy, and think it’s fun to plan your epitaph for your gravestone.  You might even write it in your cake if you’re talented!

Here Lies Char…who died eating coconut cake.  Now she’s awaiting her chocolate milkshake.  RIP

Now I’m hungry.


P.S.  Happy Birthday, Cindy!  This post is dedicated to YOU!  You’re my superhero today.

20 thoughts on “When you get OLD

  1. My epitaph: Non som qualis eram – I am not what I use to be. Found this in a dictionary while working on a crossword puzzle. My co-worker and I found this quote hysterical. Yes, we did the daily crossword puzzle at work. We had to do something because business was slow.

  2. I’m old and I’ve had years to get over myself, too! Loved the old pictures. Made me want to run to my photo album and dig up my old pictures. I have one of me by a chocolate train cake my mother made for me. One year I thought I was 47. Turned out I was 46. So I got to be 46 for two years! Woohoo! I agree. I love being middle-aged! This was a really fun post to read! Thanks!

  3. Whenever I complain about having another birthday, I remind myself of what my step-father always says: “It’s better than the alternative.” That it is.

    It is weird to forget how old you are, isn’t it? I find myself having to do the math more often now. Too bad I’m quite good at math. Otherwise, who could blame me for my subtraction errors? 🙂

  4. Hahah – so true! I must be old now because all of this sounds very familiar, even though I do keep forgetting how old I am. And yes, at least we’ve gained years of knowledge. 🙂

    • I watch my teenagers with their ‘problems’ and am very glad I’m OLD and don’t care about the same things they do anymore (acne, boys/girls, style, school tests, etc). I love my memories of being a teenagers, but don’t long for the reality of that period of my life again.

  5. Yeah, I am in that rut of not loving birthdays but knowing I better figure out a way to enjoy them more. KIds make them fun, but gone are the day when you have it “off”. It is only special for about an hour and then back to the grindstone you go. I want the whole 24 hours of just what I want to do, no work whatsoever. Somehow I still end up being the one doing the dishes or clearing the table, etc.

    Maybe for my next birthday I’ll just run away for the day 😉

  6. I have to admit that I did 2 years of “47” too. Hmmm…47 must be a reeeealy good age.

    Thanks for the birthday wish, Charissa. I LOVE my new age! Wooohooo– and I get to be this age for a whole year!!!

  7. For some time now I’ve often found myself embarrassed when asked my age in some official context and I have to stop and figure it out. (It can’t be that much already, can it?) I’m glad I’m not the only one! And yes, it’s also true that I’m wiser now, and that is good. Great post!

    • Thanks, Carol. I’m trying to think of when I’ve been asked my age in an official context. Hmmm? DMV, maybe. Anyone else that asks my age will just get a made up answer. I’m 17. I look a little old for my age.

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