Yesterday, I turned... hang on, I can get this out. I turned... just give me a minute.
I. Turned. . . . . 49.
Whew, I said it.
I went through something similar when I turned 39. I suppose there was as many tears, hiding my head under the pillow in denial, and storming around biting everyone's head off who dared to wish me a Happy Birthday. I mean, what's so happy, happy, happy about ending another decade? Crossing another mile-stone. Edging closer to... old age???
Okay, so maybe I'm being a little dramatic, but 49? Forty...nine. The almost big FIVE-O. From this day forward, the count-down begins.
Not to mention in all the so-called merry-making my kids call and say they're bringing by the new grand-baby for me to see on my birthday. Grand. Baby.
Have I mentioned I got one of those recently, too?
Honesty, this was probably the highlight of my day, next to the steak dinner my husband and son treated me to. So of course when they showed up I snatched up the baby saying, "It's Gammy time." And showered her little scrunched face in kisses.
I refuse to be called GRANDMA. Simply refuse.
Oh yeah, back to why I hate birthdays.
I started out the day oversleeping. Because I was up late the night before waiting on my son to get home from his job. Yes, my teenage son has a job and is in driver's training and I'm a steady investor in Revlon. Usually Med. Auburn unless I'm feeling a little daring and go for the Burgundy.
Which is what caused this to happen... (Getting my son to driver's ed, not coloring my hair.)
We were already running late. And yesterday happened to be the start of a neighbor's huge garage sale- one of those where everything is going sales. I live in a cul-de-sac and it was fuller than a 10lb bag of potatoes. My house was swarmed with cars and I was trying to get out without causing any damage to other vehicles all squashed in together.
This one particular shopper is waiting at the entrance of the cul-de-sac for a parking spot. And she was just sitting there. Blocking the road. So I pulled forward and motioned asking her to pull back so I could get out. I thought this was reasonable as I was vacating a curb spot. But no. She told me to back up and let her in.
Mind you, when I say cars were packed in like gauze in an extracted tooth, I'm not kidding. It was simply insane the amount of people who showed up.
Anyway, she refused to move.
In my defense, I was already a bit distraught over this birthday blight I was having to endure today. So when she refused to move... well, so did I.
And yes, there we sat. Both of us around the same age. Both of us glaring at each other. My son siting there shaking his head. Laughing.
I tried to be reasonable. I wished I'd had a sign on my back that read: I just turned 49 today, proceed at your own risk. But I didn't. I tried again to communicate with a series of hand gestures that didn't involve giving the bird or anything rude. This... lady... put her car in park and folded her arms like a petulant toddler.
Somebody was about to get throat punched.
Perhaps I should have been considering what Jesus would do in that moment. But I was 49 years old and not taking this crap! I was beyond caring. (obviously) I wanted out, I had things to do. IT WAS MY BIRTHDAY!!!
In hindsight, it's probably a good thing my son was with me. He casually checked his watch and said, "I'm going to be late and I won't be able to drive if we keep this up."
He's only 16. What does he know anyway? This was a battle! This was an encroachment on my cul-de-sac! This was WAR!
The son reminded me it was also a big waste of time.
So, being the mature one, I finally backed up. And that... that... woman dared to pull past me and sneer as if to say: Ha, ha, I won. Take that.
Oh yeah, it was probably God's provision that he was with me in that moment.
What's really sad is I bristled about this incident all day. Obviously, I'm writing about it now so I'm still a little ticked, but have mostly gotten over it.
Then to top this off, my mother called me several times during the day, telling me she needed a particular geriatric product which I had no idea how to find. So I spent my birthday night searching the web for this particular product.
Do you realize that every time you look something up on Google, that facebook and yahoo know it and think they should advertise said products and more? So yes, my facebook feed and every advertisement I saw from then on was for scooters, Depends, potty chairs and such.
I started to realize I didn't really have it so bad right now. Slowly, I was able to get over the disdain of my birthday.
Maybe my trouble with reaching these milestone birthday markers is they force me to look at my life. Am I wasting it away? I'm I putting my time to good use? Am I being kind? How many assistive devices will I need to get through the next year?
I don't think I'm wasting my time, I reasoned. I have produced seven books so far and have more to come. I'm dong what I absolutely love.
So no, I don't think I'm wasting my life and yes I do think-- for the most part --that I'm putting my time to good use.
Am I being kind?
Well, after yesterday, I might need to do some repenting. But on a normal day, I do try my best to show kindness. There's just those few times when people irritate the tar out of me... but... I am human. Please.
And best of all, I'm healthy. I'm whole. I'm surrounded by family and friends. Facebook reminded me of that after all the well-wishes.
Thing is... life is good. I'm blessed. God loves me, even when I'm being immature.
So, now, I can settle on this that I found in The Message:
I'm not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don't get me wrong; By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward-- to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back!
So, bring it 50!!
Just not too fast, though... 'k?
Jackie Castle is an author, artist and dreamer. She lives in Texas with her husband, two grown children and her dog, Banjo. She looks for the extraordinary in the ordinary in everything she experiences.