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Alltop, confirmation that I kick ass

Author: toni

~ 09/14/09


Okay. It’s September and JULIA is already talking incessantly about her “upcoming” birthdayin FEBRUARY!

She’s known the theme (Harry Potter, natch) for months and has come up with related games, all of which she has written down in great detail. She knows who she wants to invite. She knows what kind of cake she wants. The excitement level is palpable!

Frankly, I can’t remember the last time I was excited about my birthday, which is 8 days before hers. In fact, the closer we get to our birthdays, the more I realize how we approach them in curiously opposite ways.

It’s kind of like that Brad Pitt movie THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON where he ages backwards. There actually is something to that whole aging in opposite directions thing.

As I said, Julia, who will turn 8 next year, becomes more thrilled each passing year about getting a year older. She counts down the days until her birthday. Not a hint of dread in her voice.

Except for the Starbucks gift card and pedicure I get from my mommy friends, I couldn’t be less thrilled about my approaching birthdays. I DO NOT count down the days. And dread is a polite word for how I’m feeling when discussing the matter. (Which I try to avoid at all costs).

And this OPPOSITE approach to aging….It’s not just psychological. It’s physical too.

As I get older the weight creeps on and I can’t beat it off with a stick. I get on the scale to see how many pounds I’ve LOST.  Julia (who is built like a stick of gum with hair) gets on the scale to see how many pounds she’s GAINED.  And she’s thrilled about it!

She asks daddy to get out the tape measure to see HOW MUCH TALLER she has gotten. I’m actually A HALF INCH SHORTER than I was in my 20s! I’ve heard of this phenomenon. Seen it in my own mother. But it’s happening to me now! Holy @#%$! Time to take up yoga!

This curiously different approach to getting older, heavier and taller got me wondering. When does this shift happen? WHEN DO WE START GOING IN OPPOSITE DIRECTIONS?

For some people the psychological change happens when they hit that milestone birthday…the big 3-0. I distinctly remember my MOM sobbing on her thirtieth birthday. (And you were wondering where my age-phobia came from). Suddenly she saw herself as OLD. (Of course that was before 40 was the new 30.)

The height thing. If you’re a girl, getting taller is never an issue. As long as you stay in supermodel range, cool. If you shoot past female basketball player and head into Guinness World Book territory it’s time to consult an endocrinologist.

The weight thing. That’s trickier and scarier. When I was a kid, I didn’t start worrying about my weight until…well, actually I NEVER obsessed until I had a kid and had trouble shedding the baby weight. Before that, no prob. But these days in the era of size zero Disney teen stars who subsist on lattes and cigarettes, my fear is that Julia will make her “perspective reversal” around 13. Of course, that’s where I as a mom come in and reinforce her self esteem. WHETHER SHE LIKES IT OR NOT!

Whatever the magic age is…and we all have one…we start to go backwards. Suddenly we don’t want to get OLDER. We want to be YOUNGER. We don’t want to get HEAVIER, we want to be THINNER. And as TALL as we once used to be, we start to SHRINK. The result– we spend a lot of energy and angst trying to go backwards, like Benjamin Button, but our bodies keep taking us forward, like Cate Blanchett’s character in the movie (whose butt I might add looked amazingly 40ish even when she was supposed to be playing 60ish. Guess it’s better to look good than to act good).  It’s maddening!

In the end, the key to it all is simple. No, not BOTOX (except in the vocal chords as needed) and TUMMY TUCKS (although if it makes you feel better, what the hell!). No, the key is to try to enjoy the life you have at the moment. It’s fleeting. And every day is a gift. That’s definitely one thing age teaches you. So, no matter what stage you’re at. Embrace who you are. And most of all, embrace those you love, who embrace you unconditionally, in your ever-changing form….

Thanks Randy the perfekt, for still liking my butt.

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