Half of 72
For some strange reason that I cannot fully explain, my birthday this year has been something of a rattling experience. Last year I turned 35 and sailed right through it. Today, 36 seems ominously close to 40, an age that I associate with high school memories of my totally uncool parents. And, with all due respect Mom and Dad, I must insist: that cannot be me! Never!
My private fits of anxiety over this crisis came to the surface tonight when a dear friend of mine helpfully pointed out that I am now officially half of 72. 72! In true Christian spirit I quickly pointed out that, while this might very well be true (I’ve never been very good at math . . . even when I was young . . . uh, younger) he is half of 80 and that it looks like very soon we’ll be burning up the halls in some nursing home together.
Hahahahahahahah . .a . . h . . a . . aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.
I feel like I’m skidding toward the edge of a cliff with my heels dug in. Or have just taken the bite that puts me over the halfway line in the last Snicker’s bar in my Halloween bag.
And I can’t be at the halfway mark yet!
I haven’t done everything I want to do . . . been all the places I must go, met all the people, had all the experiences. It can’t be half over . . . !
Perhaps some of my musings come from sitting for awhile tonight with a family who has just lost a husband and father. While I listened they talked about the knowledge that the end was inevitable, about relief that his suffering is over, about surprise that the parting hurt so much– even when it was anticipated. Hearing them talk about losing their dad and husband I was reminded again that while it’s true that life is made up of little moments one right after another when you view them as a whole they strangely seem so precious and elusive.
Knowing myself as I do I can say (with age comes wisdom, you know) that my birthday angst is not something over which to be unduly alarmed; I always need some kind of crisis because life (and I’ve learned this even in the short . . . very short . . . amount I’ve experienced thus far) wouldn’t be the same without one. However, I don’t think it is completely unreasonable to pause once a year to take a deep breath and realize how fast it’s all going by . . . and then to resolve again to try to squeeze every bit of life out of the moments I’m living, to love as lavishly as my limited heart will allow, to hold hands, to cry tears and to savor every single bite . . . all the way down to the very last one.
So . . . watch out second half, here I come . . . !