I know I’m making far too big a deal of this. My fiftieth birthday is one month from yesterday. Most of my friends have already been there, done that and most likely can’t get too worked up yet again about another person’s 50th. For those who’ve passed the mark, it’s simply their reality. It’s history, old news. Some like to tell you to ‘get over it’ or admonish ‘it’s just a number’… But it’s not so easy for me. I’m getting sentimental about it; I’m missing an era in my life that is quite definitely over.
To be more specific, there are two main reasons I’m ticking away the moments of my final forty-something year with a mild sense of ill ease: one is, of course the obvious; the irrefutable evidence that my body has passed its aesthetic prime. It’s a for-sure thing now. There’s no going back. Like Nora Ephron, I too have begun to hate my neck. I pinch the skin under my chin and rather than see it spring back to its resting form, it stays pinched. This is quite shocking to me. This is the crepe-y sort of skin that belongs to an ‘older woman’ – my mother, or one of her peers… but certainly not me. This new discovery isn’t making me feel very good ‘in my skin’ as they say. It feels like someone else’s neck is on my body. It’s a new phenomenon, it’s disturbing, and I don’t see it getting any better with time. That’s sadly the truth.
The second reason for my ill ease: I’m not in Chicago at the time of this event. Rather, I’m here in Greenfield, where I simply haven’t got a whole lot of friends with whom to mark the day. I’d like to throw out a post on Facebook and have my Chicago peeps meet me at Dave’s Italian Kitchen and call it a day. The way I did when Fareed and I had our rehearsal dinner. The way we did when our son was born. The way we did for my fortieth. And so many other celebrations throughout our lives… Yeah. I wish I felt that I was home for this big one. But I suppose in a way, I am.
It is of course because of my parents that I’m even here to celebrate. And they’re just next door. So maybe I’ll just call the few friends I do have here and have em over to my parents. My dad never gets out, he might enjoy it. Mom’s a natural host with few opportunities to do so these days… It’s worth considering I suppose. I just feel like the date’s coming closer and closer and I have made no preparations – none mental, emotional nor logistic. (It’s my son’s 10th birthday on April 28th which takes priority!)
I just finished watching a movie called “Melancholia” in which a planet collides with Earth and ends everything. It was stunning how the film created that reality… one moment the planet looks like a benign second moon lighting the sky, the next day it’s a huge orb taking up half the horizon… And it sorta feels like my fiftieth birthday is that rogue planet, looming closer… nothing much one can do to prepare. But at least it might be worth having a really good party. Right?