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Celebrating a milestone birthday

Published May 01. 2010 09:00AM

Today is what some call a milestone birthday. I went to a birthday party for a friend the same age as I am. He told everyone it was his "Milestone" birthday but he refused to say which one.

Not me. I'm telling. I'm 70 today.

I told my daughter that being 69 felt like the prime of life. But 70 sounds so old. Her retort: "Mom, it IS old."

There is something ominous sounding about those numbers. It's hard to pretend to be a kid again when the age odometer reaches 70. It sounds downright scary.

But here's what I discovered: 70 isn't a scary time; it's a sacred time.

It's a time when every day is precious. At this age, every moment is like water in a desert: We don't waste a drop. Instead, we become much more appreciative of every single thing.

To tell the truth, I'm so high on life that it's like one long LSD trip where my sharpened senses means every color looks sharper, every thing is beautiful and every little thing takes on bigger proportions.

When I walked outside this morning, I inhaled the morning air and felt it fill me with satisfaction. I listened with grateful appreciation as a little bird sang its lovely song for me. It was a simple experience, but it filled me with joy.

There is something so feeing about being 70. I know I have finally reached the stage where I can say without guilt, "This is MY time."

I no longer do anything I don't want to do. I don't feel like I have to come up with excuses. "No, I don't want to," is sufficient enough.



Those slogans are like neon lights in my brain.

To tell the truth, life at 70 is one grand ride. I'm so happy to have a ticket. I think it's time to tell others about the experience.

We have this thing about age in this country. We say "old age" as if it's a condition we don't want to catch.

So, what the heck is "old age?"

I know some people who are old at 40. They sit around with no energy for life and seem to find no joy in living.

On the other hand, I've met some pretty incredible people in their late 80s who are role models for me.

My friend Ginger is a case in point. A real glamour gal with a 90-watt smile, she's out dancing several nights a week and she's the most energetic dancer who outlasts everyone on the floor.

Ginger's husband died several years ago and she now has a "beau." I heard they just got engaged. In a few months, Ginger will be 90. But if you saw her and tried to guess her age, you will probably take her for someone 25 years longer.

I have met so many people like Ginger who have taught me age is just another number.

My mother was a lot like Ginger. She was a glamour gal who looked like my younger sister. But she never told her age. Her mother was the same way. When my 91-year-old grandmother was close to death, one of her last requests was that we don't put her age in her obituary.

Age was something my family hid. But I'm not.

I'm saying, "This is 70. This is what 70 looks like and it feels wonderful."

I still feel like a kid when I'm biking fast, tilting the bike around a corner and feeling the breeze is blowing briskly in my face. I feel like a kid when I get up each morning and sing whatever song comes to mind as I enjoy another morning in paradise.

Truth be old, I feel like a kid so much of the time.

My husband and I joke and say we're just two big kids having fun in life. But there is more truth than fiction to our claim.

I think that's the secret to having a good life - keeping fun first and foremost. We do that all the time, whether it's dancing, boating, kayaking, hunting seashells, drumming on the beach, cooking together, or getting together with interesting friends.

So, if this is 70, I'm here to tell you it feels great.

I read somewhere that every birthday is a victory. I believe that. I also believe that every birthday is a gift. The older I get, the more I cherish that gift.

My girlfriend has a sign on her refrigerator that says: "If you didn't know how old you, how old would you be?

My friends and I had fun answering that question for each other. Most of us said "fifty-something."

How would you answer it?

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