Monday, March 3, 2008

Fabulous? I'll take it

Tomorrow I will be 40 years old. It doesn't seem possible to me; I feel like I'm sixteen on the inside, and I've just been playing grown-up. My mom says the same thing when her birthday rolls around each year. But tomorrow, older people will say I'm still a kid, and younger folks will be amazed that I can still feed myself. (What? You're not on MySpace or FaceBook? Duuude.)

But reaching the big 4-0 means I have officially earned the right to wax poetically about 8-track tapes, record players, television with only three stations, safety-free playgrounds, and school handouts with smudged purple printing from the mimeograph machine. It means telling whippersnappers about being five years old, and my mother sitting me down in front of the television to watch Nixon's resignation speech, saying, 'This is history. Remember this.' And I do. I also remember watching President Carter deal with the hostage situation, and wondering if the world was coming to an end. Or staying up late on a Saturday night to watch an Elvis movie, and always falling asleep before the credits rolled. Or when Pong was the next big thing, but it couldn't compare to a sunny day outside during summer vacation. Writing that first poem. Winning that first contest. Getting that first clip. Roller rinks, disco queens, parachute pants, poodle perms, my off-the-shoulder Flashdance-style sweatshirt that had to be left on the shoulder during school hours, freezing during the winter in my first apartment, having a Buddhist nun come along and pay the heating bill when we couldn't--so many memories for such a short span of time. And a few questions along the way, such as:

When did the music of my teen years start turning up on classic radio?

Why am I now afraid of sneezing or belly-laughing in public when I'm not close to a bathroom?

Why did I hate my body so much when I was a size 6? Why am I more confident now looking like the Goddess of Willendorf?

When did booties and thongs quit relating to the feet, moving higher up?

Isn't there more between the life stages of getting caught without undies and wearing purple?

As for that last one, I intend to find out.


Ann (bunnygirl) said...

I just turned 41 in January. Stay healthy and you'll love your 40s! :-)

Unknown said...

The healthy part is what I'm working on now. Glad to know that things can look up! Thanks, bunnygirl!

Kappa no He said...

I adore you! I just turned forty a few days ago myself and have been going through and kind of surreal cheerful-funk. What a trip down memory lane. I still rattle on about eight track cassets, thongs on the FEET, and Pong. I do. I watch That 70's Show and point out the mistakes. I WAS the Dancing Queen. Haha.

Happy Birthday!! I hear its a good decade.

Melanie Hooyenga said...

Happy belated birthday! Mine's this coming Monday.

You know, if you want to relive some of those things, especially safety-free playgrounds and tv with 3 stations, come to Mexico! We technically only have 2.5 stations because the third is REALLY fuzzy.

Great post!

the Bag Lady said...

What a terrific post! The Bag Lady remembers most of those things, except Pong...but she has 10 years on you, so perhaps it was for children when she was no longer a child...?
A Belated Happy Birthday to you (the Bag Lady has been having 'issues' with her computer, so she's trying to get caught up!) - the 40's are great, and the 50's are better! (at least, that's what the Bag Lady is hoping...her 30's are getting kinda blurry - she must have really, really enjoyed them...)

Rebecca Laffar-Smith said...

Congratulations on your 40th! Here's to 40 more great years and wonderful memories.

I keep noticing that I'm getting older too. I might still be young in years but when I go into a fast food joint there are KIDS behind the counter. My oldest will be 8 next month. Paying the bills and feeding my children is more important then going out to see a great movie. When did this change happen? I'm sure I'm still just a carefree 25 year old. 25 is supposed to be YOUNG! *sighs*

I know, I shouldn't complain, especially when you're reflecting at 40. I think life is what happens when we're not really paying much attention. I'd never have thought at 17 that I was really too young to leap ahead and start a family. In the earlier years you really don't plan to take life slowly, to enjoy all it has to offer through every stage.

We look back with all that passed, all that could have. It's better to look ahead at all that WILL be in the years to come.

Unknown said...

Thanks, everyone, for hitting Memory Lane with me, and keeping me thinking positive! :)