Why bother with birthdays?

October 14, 2009

We don’t stop playing because we grow old; We grow old because we stop playing!

-George Bernard Shaw

My girlfriends and I caught the birthday badness bug today. We woke up a friend who turned fifty, at 5:50 a.m.. Why not 5:50 in the p.m. you ask? We’re all asking the same question.

It’s darn hard to be novel as we get older. We’ve had birthday bashes at bars, restaurants, and around a few barbecues. But waking up someone in bed when the sky won’t shine? Not been done.

Turning fifty is a milestone. At a half a century, we begin a slow decline. Or do we? Sure our skin shrivels and our bones snap a little louder, but who, besides Glamour magazine, says that’s so bad?

Call it denial, but I’d rather be nearing 50 than 12 almost any day. By fifty we know who we are, live with people we love, and eat Fruitloops with marshmallows when we feel like it. Who’d trade that for a future of acne medicine and driving classes?

By now I’ve seen people tackle age with downright defiance. Walking into Sephora’s is a bit like walking into M&M headquarters with a two-year-old. Racks of wrinkle cream and soothing serums line the walls. But we buy into the marketing mania anyway and rub gel on our faces and highlight our hair.

Sadly, some folks begin to settle into slow boredom as they age. They live out their days like Eeyore, when nothing goes quite right. However, there are a few lucky souls who live like little kids at a carnival around birthday time. Although purple princess balloons may be replaced with black, “you’re old as shit” posters, a birthday has the potential to let us laugh. And eat icing before the sun rises. The people who play, who embrace the higher double digits with grace and joy find the secret to maturity.

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