Some of you may have noticed that this installment is coming out late. It’s the thirteenth one. Superstition suggests that this would be the self-imposed deadline that I would miss. But I have Superstition’s back. I can explain.
Writing had been a fruitless effort all week. Motivation, inspiration, and concentration called about as often as that friend you meet on vacation, and they never called at the same time. It wasn’t until Sunday night, when I was driving back to Connecticut from my grandfather’s 85th birthday party in Pennsylvania, that the topic became clear, and there was quite a bit of driving left to do. I was going to miss my deadline.
As I mentioned, The Fiancé and I made a trip back to Pennsylvania for my grandfather’s 85th birthday party. What I have not yet mentioned is that I, like many women (and men too-don’t let them fool you), have an issue with aging. Of course there are the vanity issues; wrinkles, gray hair, the inability to eat half a box of cookies and not think twice about it. But there is also that question of what I’m going to be like when I’m “old.” How long will my mind remain sharp? Will my charming eccentricity morph into something less charming? If the scenes in Grandpa’s house this weekend were any indication, I have nothing to worry about. Perhaps aging truly is precisely what you make it.
We’ll start with my generation. Although all of us are adults and have been for some time, it’s amazing how quickly my cousins and I become kids again. At family gatherings of this size, there is always a question of where everyone is going to sleep, and the answer from “the kids” has been the same since we truly were kids. Slumber party downstairs! What’s funny about this is that when we were kids, we never seemed to get to do this because the adults were afraid that we would spend the whole night giggling rather than sleeping. I’ll hand it to those adults. They’re smart. That’s precisely what we would have done. But now we’re adults and no one can tell us that we can’t have the slumber party. Well, guess what we did once camp was set up. We fell asleep. Adulthood takes that toll on you. But we did raid the kitchen and giggle while cramming potato chips in our midnight sandwiches, and that has to count for something.
My mother opted to stay downstairs with us kids. I would love to say that it was because she had some involuntary nostalgic reaction, a need to stay with the kids to make sure that they actually went to sleep. This is not the case. While her sleeping arrangement did make good sense given the number of people, I think Mom would have opted to stay with “the kids” anyway. She hates to miss a giggle-fest.
My aunts really aren’t that different. My mother and her sisters seem to share a refusal to become “little old ladies.” Gray hair does not mean that you can’t wear a stylish skirt, a sparkly scarf, or fabulous shoes. The women in the generation before me live this truth to the fullest. All armed with sharp wit and senses of humor as impeccable as their styles, their laughter puts my generation’s giggle-fests to shame.
And then there’s Grandpa. I’d made a comment to one of my aunts about how I didn’t want to grow up and that I’m pretty sure I hadn’t signed up for this adulthood thing. Grandpa’s face lit up as he referenced Peter Pan and exclaimed that he didn’t want to grow up either. And let me tell you, there is nothing “old” about this 85-year-old man. From debating Philosophy and talking Chemistry and Physics to taking the stairs with more agility than I do, he proves that age is just a number and that stereotypes are often foolish.
So I started rethinking this whole aging thing. I certainly do not intend to rush this stage of my life. I’m happy here. But aging is just plain cool! If I get to be anything like Mom and her sisters at their age, bring it on! And if Grandpa is what 85 looks like, then I hope I make it that far.
Hmm…I should probably stop loading potato chips into my sandwiches.