This morning my son pointed out that the calendar needed to be changed to October. I flipped away September and started randomly singing "It's my birthday month. I'm gonna be thirty-eight" to no tune in particular.
Sometimes I like to sing sentences instead of say them. It's so much more fun.
John looked at me like I'd gone crazy, put his hands on his hips and said matter-of-factly "thirty-eight is old Mom!" He held the 'o' in old a little longer than necessary.
"I'm not getting old," I said. "I'm getting experienced." I love old people, don't get me wrong. I just don't ever want to be one.
When we lived in Kansas City, my kids and I adopted a couple "grandmas" at the nearby nursing home. I loved visiting them and making them smile, but it also tore at my heart to walk to their rooms and see the old people lining the hallways passing the time just sitting there with blank faces like they were forgotten. "I hope I don't live to be this old," I thought.
Since February I've been working at a women's clothing boutique in downtown Rochester. One of the things that I've enjoyed about the job is meeting new people and visiting with them. Most of the customers are, well, let's just say that they are older than me. Many are either patients or relatives of patients at the Mayo Clinic. The ones who have inspired me are the ones who have faced death and embraced life. Age and disease have not limited their outlook. I want to live long enough to be that inspirational.
I expect that my skin will get wrinkly, and my hair will get gray. But as old as my body gets, I hope my attitude never does. I want to be young at heart as long as possible. I want to try new things as long as I can. I want to experience life as long as I have it.
For the record, I do not agree with my son. Thirty-eight is not old, it's experienced. And eighty-eight doesn't have to be old either, it's just much more experienced.