Tuesday, September 22, 2009

How Old Do I Have To Be?

How old do I have to be seems to be a consistent question in my household. Dalton has always asked how old he had to be to do various things. When he was 2 years old he wanted to climb a tree and Chris told him that he had to be five years old to climb a tree. He accepted that answer and the day he turned five, although we had not thought another thing of it, he asked to climb a tree. We live in a new housing development and all the trees are very small; but when he went to Knoxville for his first UT game last year, he climbed a tree. Most recently he wants to know when he can get his own dog, a fun dog. Apparently Maggie, who just turned 9, is a little too calm and old for him. To avoid making the same mistake of a deadline, we now tell him he can have a dog when he is old enough to take care of it. I remember anxiously awaiting each birthday marker for something special. Fifteen was when my parents said I could date; I think I had more people asking before I was able to than after. At sixteen we were allowed to get our driver's license; then again driving seemed much cooler before I became a mom and thus the taxi service. At eighteen I registered to vote; unfortunately, there had been a presidential election the year prior, so it wasn't nearly as exciting that first year. At 21 I was old enough to drink legally. I turned 21 on a Thursday night in college. My friends and I celebrated at Main Street Bar and Grill and it was Ladies Night with $1 drinks (there are many of you that remember that). We thought we were on top of the world then and we probably were. By 25 all we had to look forward to was a decrease in our insurance because somebody in the insurance world thought that by 25 we should be more responsible. Then there was 3o. I was really excited about turning 30. In the world of military wives, it meant I would no longer be seen as one of those "young and dumb wives". Finally I should be seen as an adult and not someone just playing house. I really wanted to celebrate, but that was the year Katrina hit and I found myself still living in my parents house, but this time with a 2 year old sharing my room. Not exactly the celebration I had anticipated. This weekend I turned 34. I am not depressed about the age. My mother trained us well...like wine and cheese, we get better with age. I truly believe that. The only thing that I miss from my youth is my body (which then I thought of as fat) and that conquering the world attitude that I still try to hang on to with all that I am. My birthday came and went. There is nothing monumental about being 34. No major event in my life is based on that age. The idea of a good time and celebration has been slightly altered by this point (although I was the oldest in attendance). My friends are early birds who want to have dinner and be in bed by the 10 o'clock news. I guess I would normally fall into this too, but not on my birthday. The one day in the entire year that I don't have to share with anyone. Growing up, my parents treated our birthdays like our own special holiday. I guess I got a little spoiled to the idea that anything else in the world could possibly happen on that day. Now, what milestones do I have left to look forward to? I know 40 is supposed to be big; however, that was always meant as a sexual peak for women usually based on the theory that menopause started at 50, so if I am presently going through early menopause, does that mean I missed out on my peak in my early 20s? Sixty-two...used to be the magic age of retirement, but in a world of economic downfall and a social security system that will surely go broke before I am ever close to retirement, how special can that be? The only thing I can really hope for is that I live to be 100 and then I will have plenty to celebrate. No woman in my family has lived that long, but I am sure my mother is determined to beat that record if only to torment me for another 46 years. I will be able to celebrate my 75th wedding anniversary; that is, if he lives long enough to be considered married at that time. Hopefully there will actually be people still alive who would even remember the younger me. Maybe I will still have that little spark in my eye at 100 that I did at 21. It wouldn't surprise me if Shannon was still having to make sure I "wore something with a crotch" (her words exactly) in case I did that extra shot of tequila and took to table dancing again. I guess only time will tell. Until then, I suppose I will have to just enjoy each year and what it has to offer, knowing that I am that much closer to being 100 and celebrating that I outlived all those who never liked me anyway. Mark your calendars...September 19, 2075...Sunshine's Centennial Bash

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