I have always found that one’s birthday eve is more conducive to reflection than New Year’s (that traditional time of summation and resolution). Birthdays tend to be more poignant as the years pass and time seeps into the bones and creases the skin.
As of 7:05am tomorrow I will have breathed the air of this earth for 53 years and have far less time left to me than I have already survived.
And what have I accomplished thus far?
If I check within myself, dispassionately, I believe that I can say that I was a good daughter: that I loved, honoured and cared for my parents throughout their lives.
Am I a good mother? Only my children can answer that but they are extraordinarily accomplished and loving people of supreme integrity so I assume that I didn’t bugger it all up too badly. And they like me – a huge plus for any parent.
Am I a good friend? Yes – I would go to the mat for them and have maintained close ties with some for over 40 years.
Have I given more than I have taken? I think so. I hope so.
Have I felt and created joy? Oh, yes: so many moments of “glad grace” shared.
Have I defended my beliefs while being willing to bend and adapt? To the former, a resounding “yes”. To the latter (given my travels throughout disparate worlds) I believe so or I would have been, metaphorically, tarred and feathered upon countless occasions.
Time is unkind to women. We know, from a young age, that beauty and youth is our stock in trade. Oh yes, we are told that the world is our oyster and all things are possible but when the alluring blossom fades it’s every man for himself. How else do we explain the eternal fascination with the Sean Connerys and Harrison Fords even as billions of dollars are spent by women on anti-wrinkle creams and fountain-of-youth injections?
I am not without vanity and I often stand before the mirror and, inwardly, scream, “What the hell is that???” as portions of my body seek southern climes. And I live in a society that is unfamiliar to me: a world of hair-dye, “mani-pedis”, Botox, and other arcane and costly acts of youth-seeking. I am considered an enigma.
I'm more used to a mind-set where hair goes grey, the hiking boots go on and one just embraces (and rejoices in) the fact that age is its own triumph. I thank my grandmother and the members of a farm-family that I was a part of for almost a quarter of a century for that priceless gift of knowledge and confidence.
Okay...so tomorrow I will be 53 years old. Time is a feeble man made construct. Were it not for the calendar and the mirror I would say that I am 27 – but, thank God, far wiser than those meager years allowed. “Bring it on”, say I, “Bring it on.”
*Tomorrow has arrived. Yup...still the same me :)