Saturday, April 15, 2017

It's Only A Number

Why are we often obsessed with the number we get when subtracting the year of our birth from the current year?  Age is just a number, right?  So what if you're 50, 54, 62, 67, 74, 100?

I've been writing (whining) about age since the beginning of my blogging. I'm pretty damn comfortable with my age (it's one of the numbers in the first paragraph) but I'm not comfortable admitting the number to all but a select few friends, relatives and drinking buddies. Why? Because of stereotypes attached to certain age numbers.

Facebook friends frequently flaunt their age on their birthdays while others claim to be "officially old" as they turn 35 or 40. If you think you're old at 40, wait till you hit the next decade marker. Or the one after that.

I'm certain I celebrated my 40th live on the radio station where I was a DJ at the time. It felt good. I did not celebrate 50 outside of my house. It was memorable, however, because those were better times in my now defunct marriage and my ex's sense of humor was still intact then. She brought a mid-sized cake down to our rec room with fifty lit candles on it.  Her out of tune rendition of "Happy Birthday" was backed up by the melodious smoke detector.

My birthday is an important day for me but I only began to enjoy celebrating it again during the past few years, mostly because of who I celebrate it with.

I fully expect to have a 100th birthday. I've already invited some people to the party, although it's more than thirty years away. I hope I make it, enjoy the party and recognize the attendees. Don't ask me to blow out a hundred candles.

I hope to retire from full time work shortly after I hit the next zero number mile marker, but I'm struggling with the specific vision of what happens after that. I'd love to be a writer but I could probably make more money as a Walmart greeter. I'd love to be a DJ again, part time, but the sad reality is that most DJs are put out to pasture long before my current age, much less 70. Don't get me started on the topic of 'subtle age discrimination'.

Music and photography are my other two passions. Reality check: I'll never be a good enough guitarist to make money with it. Photography? Everybody with a smart phone thinks they're a photographer now, so there isn't much of a market for well paid photographers.

I'm a stubborn optimist, however, and I know I'll figure all of this out at some point. I'll be a good role model for creative aging. Maybe I already am. If only I really believed that age is just a number.

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