... the journal

The Guest
Refrigerator Door

Now we have some magnets from Bob, who is an internet-friend I've never met, but who sent this series...

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Becoming a Man:
Half a Life Story

Paul Monette

My Amazon wish list


The Last Session
(yes, AGAIN)

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That's it for today!



18 November 2001

It was quite a shock to read Rob's journal this morning to see: I turn thirty-four on the 26th; I suddenly find that I have a lot of "younger days". Then later, after a truly gross story about exploding squirrels (which I recommend reading, if you have a macabre sense of humor. Diane and Peggy might want to skip it), he ends with It definitely ties in with that "old guy" theme that I keep bumping into as my birthday approaches.

This "old guy" is younger than my oldest child, and only slightly older than my youngest child would have been.

If he's an "old guy," what does that make ME???

I'm about to enter the last year of my "fifties," and with the big 6-0 staring me in the face, I suddenly realize that I really am no longer "middle-aged," as I don't intend to live to 120. So if I'm no longer young and no longer middle-aged, that means I can only be one thing: old.

I've never been one of those people who have major traumas around adding a new number to the front of a "zero" in their age.

Ten, of course, is big stuff. Finally into double digits. Almost a teenager. The whole world ahead of you. Is there anything more exciting than that?

Twenty is also big stuff. You're old enough to vote, and almost old enough to drink (legally ... cough-cough). You are possibly experiencing the exhilaration of living on your own for the first time, have some sort of an idea of where you want to go with your life, and adulthood is very bright and shining. At twenty, I had just parted company with academia and was working at my first adult job. I had my own office and I was the secretary to three physicists. I loved that job. I'd probably still be there, if I hadn't wanted to be a mother.

Thirty is supposed to be very traumatic, but thirty was a good time for me. At thirty, I had already given birth to five children, and I was too busy to be depressed about turning thirty. I was exactly where I wanted to be, doing exactly what I wanted to be doing, and what more can one ask of life?

Forty is another biggie. They say that people go through depression on turning forty because they realize that their lives didn't turn out the way they'd planned and it's too late to make significant changes. But forty was also a good time for me. The kids didn't need me as much and I'd started working for The Lamplighters in San Francisco one day a week. I adored that job. I loved commuting to the city each week. I celebrated the day of my 40th birthday with the office staff of The Lamplighters at a hauf brau in downtown San Francisco. I was very happy, and "age" was the least of my worries.

It also helps that since college, most of my best friends to that point were older than I, so no matter how old I got, I was still the youngest of the group. Several years in a row, I believe, I sent my friend Jeri (daughter Jeri's godmother) a card which said "No matter how old you get, I'll always be younger." She's 2 months older than I am and I never let her forget it. (Just as Walt's brother is 2 months younger than I am and never lets me forget it!)

I wondered if I'd mind turning 50. Fifty starts to be heavy duty "age." Turning fifty and realizing that I still didn't know what I wanted to be when I grew up was a bit of a shock, but it wasn't enough to set me into a tailspin bemoaning my advancing age. When I turned 50, it was still two years before the death of our first child. I was working at a job I loved, even if it wasn't exactly a "career." There didn't seem to be any major traumas in my life and I proudly told people that I intended to keep my grey hairs because I'd earned every one of them.

The decade of "the fifties" has probably been one of the most eventful in my life. Some of the highest highs and lowest lows. But as I see the end of this decade approaching (even if it is a year and a couple of months away), I think of myself as a survivor. That's not such a bad thing to be. I have the feeling I've finally started to learn a few difficult lessons, and maybe to get a hint of what I want to be when I grow up, if I live that long.

Will "60" be a big adjustment for me? I don't know. I find I am no longer the youngest in a lot of groups. I'm frequently the oldest (just look at the journaling community, for example--a few wonderful folks in "Autumn Leaves" notwithstanding). But still as I look back over the past 50+ years of my life, there are experiences I'd rather not repeat, and some I'd repeat in a minute, but would I want to go back to 10? 20? 30? 40? even 50? and repeat the whole thing again? Not on your life.

When I turn 60, I will continue to wear my grey hair (there is obviously more of it now than there was at 50) proudly. I'll concentrate on the good things in my life--and there are so many good things. And I will try not to think of that far-off "70."

After all, my mother is in her 80s and still going strong (often stronger than I), and her mother-in-law is barely slowing down now at 104. Heck, that makes me feel like just a kid! Age is all a state of mind. And if that's the case, I don't think I'll ever be truly "old."

Even if Rob DOES feel he's one of the "old guys."

One Year Ago:
Travel and Tourism

(Club Photo has started deleting
photo albums after 90 days,
so the photos which were once there,
have been removed now)

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Created 11/9/01 by Bev Sykes