Monday, June 2, 2008

Let Your Freak Flag Fly

Happy birthday to me. Yep, today's my birthday. I'm not sure exactly how I feel about getting older, but I was inspired by what Jamie Lee Curtis had to say about it. She seems really comfortable in her own skin and is more centered, confident, and accepting of herself at age 50 than at any other time in her life. In addition to a successful film career and raising a family, she's written several children's books. Despite her accomplishments, she's considered a bit of a freak in Hollywood. Why? For one thing, she's let her hair go grey. I don't care if you live in Hollywood or in Alaska, that takes guts. I'm not that brave. Yet.

Lest you get any wrong ideas, I'm nowhere near 50. Just wanted to make that very clear. Not that I'm sensitive about my age or anything. If anyone asks how old I am, my daughters have been ordered to reply, "Twenty-nine and holding." Then we're all to laugh coquettishly. Unfortunately, my girls have no idea what "coquettishly" means, so it sounds more like cackling.

I read somewhere about the importance of celebrating milestones. Evidently, some women make themselves physically and mentally ill by refusing to age gracefully. They often find themselves feeling unaccountably stressed and griefstricken in their midlives. Why? Because they ignore, hide, or lie about their ages, and don't commemorate the "big" birthdays that usher them into the next decade (e.g., the big 5–0, not that I'm anywhere close to turning 50, mind you). All this time, I thought my stress and grief were due to my four kids refusing to use their indoor voices. The point of the article was that it is very healthy and necessary for women to revel in their birthdays.

Since three of my four daughters celebrated birthdays last month, I had the opportunity to watch them rejoice in exultation as they were showered with attention at their parties. Maybe there is something to laughing as loudly as you want, eating as much cake as you desire, and accepting gifts from the people who love you. It's not so bad to be treated like a princess. Even if it's just for one day.

So, in the spirit of delight and celebration, I'm hoisting my freak flag today. I'm shouting to the world, "Yes! It's my birthday! I'm going grey! I shall wear purple! I'm one year older and one year wiser! I love my family and they love me! Life is good!"

Now gimme my cake.

Dinner last night: cheeseburgers, baked beans

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