Okay, everyone. Gather close. Listen carefully.
I was born half a century ago. Five decades. So long ago that I can remember when you had to dial a rotary phone, often WHILE STANDING IN THE KITCHEN, to call someone. And then, for privacy, you could hide in the laundry room and try to talk while other people in the house kept picking up the phone the master bedroom extension saying, “Oh. Sorry. Are you almost done?”
It was a time before the Internet. Before DVRs and way, way before Taylor Swift. When I was a kid, our parents shooed us out of the house in the morning and we wandered through our neighborhoods and undeveloped acres of land surrounding our neighborhoods and played in the creek and often rode our banana-seat bicycles without helmets. Or shoes. We came home when it was dark or when we were really hungry.
I can remember watching the moon landing on a black and white television. I remember television back when there were only five channels: ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS and channel “11” which is where all the magic happened (aka “Gilligan’s Island”). Okay, maybe it was channel 13. Maybe I can’t remember, but you’ll have to understand because I am old.
My dad only lived to be 47, so I’ve lived three years longer than he did. But my grandmother lived to be 102, so I’m not even halfway there. Sometimes I wonder if it’s a design flaw, this inability to know exactly how many days we each get.
Some people say you should live each day as if it were your last, but that’s kind of impractical. Am I right? If you only had tomorrow to live, wouldn’t you make it count? (Or maybe you’d just eat cookies all day and burn your diaries so no one would discover your deepest, darkest thoughts.) But if you had another 18,980 days you might be forgiven for slacking off a little and wasting time. (I hate to waste time but I have Instagram. So, I’m a hypocrite, basically. An old hypocrite.)
I don’t know. I’m figuring things out as I go along.
Tonight, I just read another blogger’s list of things she’s learned in forty years of living and I thought, hmmm. Maybe I should create my own list of things I’ve learned. Also, I thought, “Forty? Humph. Forty is so ten years ago.”
While the idea of writing a list of things I’ve learned in fifty years contains promise, I’m too tired (read: old) to come up with something tonight. I have all year anyway. (I hope. If I don’t, wouldn’t that be ironic? And tragic?)
For now, all that matters is that it’s my birthday.
I will celebrate and eat cake and postpone all chores and duties. I may also mourn my lost youth and wonder why I’m losing pigment even though my essential self–the me inside my brain–feels as vibrant as I was when I was twenty-two.
I will not remind myself that in ten years, I’ll be sixty or that in twenty years, I’ll be seventy or that it’s possible (WHY AM I EVEN THINKING THESE THOUGHTS?) I’ll be dead in thirty years. I remember thirty years ago. Thirty years isn’t really all that long. I’ll try not to be bitter that all of this ends for all of us with being dead.
Wait. Okay. Focus. Reframe. Stop with the morbid. Birthday! Cake! Presents!
Getting older is a gift you receive that you did not order and which you cannot return or exchange.
(If I were younger, I’d get that tattooed on my ribs or my collarbone or my scapula.) (Just kidding. I would not.)
I can’t seem to stop rambling. You know why? Old age.
Seriously. I’m going to bed now.
When I wake up . . . I will be fifty. When you read this, I will be at least fifty.
Fifty. Fifty. Fifty.
(If you are thirty or younger, you think I sound ancient. If you are seventy or older, you think I’m a whining whippersnapper. I’m just a rambling middle-aged woman who can’t quite find the punctuation mark to end this treatise.)
T H E E N D (of an era)
13 thoughts on “Nifty”
I can remember no TV and when we got a tv getting only one station. We were behind the times in Canada.
Nice post all in alll as I read in the early hours because old people can’t always sleep. It’s 5:30, and I’ve been up more than an hour already.
Happy Birthday, Melodee!
I’m not far behind you. I remember TV when there were only a handful of stations and it was a dial you had to walk over to and turn. I also remember being yelled at (many times) to not turn it so fast or I’d break it. I remember those phones, the rotary dialing (how cool touch tone seemed at first) and the long, long curly cords that we’d stretch so we could close ourselves into a closet or bathroom.
It’s nice being nostalgic. Happy Birthday & Enjoy!
Happy Birthday! Enjoy your day.. Eat cake and celebrate!
You literally had me laughing out loud. I’m not just saying that.
Hope your birthday is wonderful. A celebration of amazing you! Many many happy returns of the day!
“I have enjoyed greatly the second blooming… suddenly you find – at the age of 50, say – that a whole new life has opened before you.” – Agatha Christie
Happy Birthday Mel…your not old till you have children almost your age … my oldest will be 49 this year.
really old age isn’t that bad. i would never go back…time to relax and enjoy life.
Eat more cake!!
Happy Birthday! I love your post. Standing in the kitchen to make a phone call… i remember it well 🙂
Happy birthday Melodee!!! You’re rockin’ life at 50! God is so good. Keep up the good work! You’re a blessing. (((HUGE HUG!)))
Happy birthday! 50, 30, 80? Just a number. I enjoy hearing about your exploits, seeing your sunsets and laughing along with things that might make your cry otherwise.
Keep on writing – you are a joy!
Happy, happy birthday.
SO what you’re saying is that just about when I finally feel like I have some things about life figured out I’ll be old and no one young will listen to me, and that soon after that I’ll die? Alrighty then. I think I’ll try to enjoy the last 2 years of my 30s then. 😉
“if you’re thirty or under”…good gracious I’m not!
Happiest of Birthdays to you! Welcome to my decade, and I can relate to each and everything you mentioned, for the most part. I hope you had a marvelously wonderful day today!
Happy Birthday. I remember all the same things…..
how I wish we were still able to listen in on your kids calls…..
A belated Happy Birthday, I will be walking in your shoes in less than 5 years so I remember many of the same things . .there are things I love about being older and then other things I’m not so much liking. It’s a strange place to be, older than your parent but it really makes you grateful for every day and all the little things that fill up those days. I hope 50 is your best year yet. . .