21 August, 2014

Can You Spell A.A.R.P.?

Yes, I can.

There is only one more day left to my astrological Leonine birthday month.  Being the proud Leo that I am, I make each day count.

Normally, I do not count up my age numbers because I am too busy bouncing around looking at cards, prettily wrapped prezzies and drinking my free birthday latte from Starbucks.

Yet, this birthday, I did count and decided to count up the advantages of being eligible for AARP.  I am now an official member for the next three years (Does that mean that after those three years, I might be sent back a grade or two and suddenly be too young?).

For my birthday this year, a very dear friend, we lovingly still call Squeaky, convinced her husband to literally go fishing and she invited Kelly, Teri, Denise and me--all of us who have been friends since sixth grade --up to her home in Eugene, Oregon for a slumber party!   All that was missing were rollers in our hair and those funny little baby-doll nighties that stuck out like an inflated tutu.

The first night, our hostess made a delicious meal for us to share out on her deck. Squeaky had even pre-ordered a gluten-free, dairy-free chocolate cake for my birthday. Total yum.

We ate, drank, laughed, sang, danced and laughed a lot more.  It was a great night. Except for one tiny thing...

Or should I say, several tiny things.

We turned on the lights in the backyard so we could take a movie of me blowing out the birthday cake candles.  No one thought twice about that until about an hour later when I started to turn red, itch and swell up. Yes, much like most of my childhood, my sensitivity reactions were flaring up again and I turned out to be the cake for mosquitoes and more.

I am quite allergic to bug bites and swell up two-three times the size of typical bites nd can have complications like a fever, heart pains and shortness of breath.  It is disconcerting to say the least and can look as scary as it feels.  Fortunately, I had an anti-histamine with me and we later went to the drug store to get some anti-itch salve. Although,the next day, my fever and redness kept me from joining the afternoon activities and when I did venture back outside, I wore long-sleeves and a hat despite the heat.

 I was ready to party again that night when we went to see a local production of the musical, "Leader of the Pack". Although, that era was slightly before us, we knew all the songs from the oldies radio station and it inspired us to do our own singing and dancing to the oldies later that night--until 2:30 in the morning, I might add.

I shan't make this a 'blow by blow' account of all the zany things five girlfriends did, but I bet some of you want to know, don't you (Rob Bleck?), or the other ways in which I celebrated my special day?

The real thrust of this essay is more about the interesting and delicate view I now have on being young.

Oscar Wilde was quoted as saying:  Youth is wasted on the young.” In some ways, I must agree with him.  I imagine that most young people --who don't consider themselves young because they are too busy wanting to be old(er)-- rarely appreciate the delicious perspective and opportunities they have merely by being young and cocksure even within their insecurities.

That's the beauty of evolution. Each generation does indeed improve with age.  And although my generation could look upon our predecessors with a certain disdain because we were so much smarter and cooler, I watch current generations and muse at what they must think about my fellow Baby Boomers.

Last night, we were watching my new favorite television show, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver where he shared a news piece on a young woman, Mo'Ne Davis, a 13-year-old Little League pitcher,  who threw a complete shutout Sunday to advance her team, the Taney Dragons of Philadelphia, to the Little League World Series. Wow! And John Oliver showed a clip of an interview of this young girl, who as he noted, was strikingly confident and clear for her age.  'For her age'. Doesn't that sound like a grown-up type sentence used to describe behavior that didn't match our own at that age?


I marvel at her athletic prowess--none of which I had. Or maybe, I could have if I wasn't one of those fair-skinned, allergic, over-protected kids who wasn't allowed outside to play because she could get sunburned or hurt.  Not much has changed about all that-- I still wear SPF +++ and prefer to stay indoors rather than fight the heat or the elements.

This week, school is back in session after summer break.  As I was leaving the local high school track, where I go to walk my laps in the early hours of the morning to avoid heat and crowds, I could feel the different energies.  Not just younger energies but the atmosphere of what it is like to be that age and returning to school and social interaction and all the emotions that it encompasses. Even though I am officially closer to grandparent age than student age, the flashback of awareness and emotions from that time had not dimmed.  The difference is that I see it from both sides now (wait,
let me dig out my Joni Mitchell album) and I can deeply appreciate the web of life.

That evolution of which I spoke fortunately works in my favor now, too.  The cliche is that being in your 50's is really the new thirties; and then in your 60's is the new forties; and then I hope it continues that type of math as my age climbs up the spiral. Because right now, I am in a wonderful place where I can indeed see both sides of life--one side being the Emily Webb of "Our Town" purview but not yet into the other side of the Lady Grantham of Downton Abbey perspective. 

Yes, things are different. Yes, my body has changed but so has the world. I shall always be the 'young at heart' type even if the body may feel like Beta instead of a Blu-Ray HD.
So, where was I?  Oh yes, AARP.  I can spell that.
A = always
A = anticipating
R = remarkable
P = possibilities

(Thanks girls! Love ya.)

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