Sunday, August 10, 2008

leaving on a jet plane

Lilypie Next Birthday Ticker

This is why I'm heading off to London, Paris, and Amsterdam tonight. It's a birthday present to myself, a 40th birthday present. I've been self-deprecating about becoming "old" - lamenting that nobody cards me anymore when I order drinks, or grimacing about how students get a horrified look on their faces when I reveal my age (the good news being they didn't realize I was THAT OLD). But generally, I like to think I'm okay with aging; it seems pretty silly to worry about something that just happens, inevitably. It's natural; everyone experiences it.

Everyone except those who die young. And then I think about that - it is, undoubtedly, supremely sad when someone exits early, but how are they remembered? The only way they possibly can be - as youthful, full of potential, usually beautiful. James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, River Phoenix, Heath Ledger. Now imagine some individuals who have lived much longer: Brigitte Bardot, Marlon Brando. I am in no way trying to diminish what people have brought & continue bringing to the world regardless of their age, and I certainly don't feel the need to clock out of this life because I might become gray and wrinkled (um, check & check, actually) or my boobs will start sagging or I'll have to shuffle because of arthritic hips.

The deal is, although I technically don't want to stress about the number 40 and its association with me, I stupidly can't help but care that I someday soon won't match my own definitions of attractive. It's outrageously vain and impossibly callow; frankly, I'm embarrassed to even admit it. Maybe I hope by saying it out loud [sort of], I will shake my shallow self out of this foolish mindset. Honestly, I would be pleased to have the kind of old age bestowed upon the likes of Sophia Loren or Sean Connery or even the remarkable Ruth Gordon. Okay, any old age would be fine. How could someone possibly complain about being allowed to stay on Earth longer?

I'm being ridiculous; age knows how to book a flight to Europe, too. I think I will invite it to sit by me and share my wine. [Here's hoping I get asked for ID]