Today is my 75th birthday. Young people often look forward to birthdays. To them, birthdays mean great things like permission to drive, drink legally, get a job. For us oldsters, birthdays are not always so eagerly anticipated. I thought I was "over the hill" at 55, then 60, then 65, then 70. Now I'm 75, and I'm still around.
My situation is not really typical; I have no children, no grandchildren, no family nearby to throw a party or wish me well. I'm not a party person anyway, so I don't mind. What I do have are a few good friends. Two offered to take me out for birthday dinners, so I'll enjoy good food and good conversation tonight and tomorrow night. Thanks, Jane and Margot.
As seniors often do, I received birthday cards from my alderwoman and my insurance agent, and I'll probably get an e-card from my brother. That's fine.
So what's good and bad about turning 75? The bad is obvious: wrinkles, aches, and pains. I miss my husband, who died in 2000, and my mother, who died this year. She always used to send me a birthday card and/or call me. I'd like to be able to walk more and better. However, the good is there, too. I'm relatively healthy and active for my age. While I'm not wealthy, I have enough income to live fairly well. More important, I have the time and energy to follow my passion, writing, wtihout worrying about its notorious lack of financial reward.
If there are secrets to successful aging, here they are:
Follow you passions.
Make use of whatever assets and abilities you have.
Appreciate your family and friends, but rely on yourself as long as possible.
Enjoy life according to your own wishes, not the expectations of others.
Pass along your experience and memories to future generations.
Help others when you can.
Growing old isn't so bad, considering the alternative.
Copyright 2007 by Marlys Marshall Styne