Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Columns

March 4, 2012

Lee Ward: 03/04/2012 — My turn to celebrate half a century

ASHLAND — When I was a teenager, my mother turned 50.

I remember her telling someone she was now a half-century old and I remember thinking, “Dang, she’s really old.”

In a few days, I, too, will be a half-century old and I’m thinking, “Dang, I’m really old.”

Nobody else seems to think that’s so old, or at least they're too polite to say, “That’s right, woman. You are really old.”

I know that isn’t going to last. Who would miss a chance to give heck to a friend or co-worker turning the big five-oh?

I’m preparing myself for an onslaught from co-workers. I expect they’ll drag out the “Over the Hill” banner I’ve seen posted on the desk of many a birthday girl, maybe some black balloons, anything to call attention to the fact that I’m “really old.”

The older I get, the more familiar I am with certain changes. My memory isn’t what it used to be. I have dramatically less energy. I’m always cold. All those are symptoms of old age, I’ve always thought. At least, all the old ladies I know are forgetful, tired and cold, so I figured it’s just what happens as you age.

There is hope for me, though. I recently learned I’m anemic. At least that explains the fatigue and chill.

I’ve been taking supplements for the problem and have yet to see results. Is this just as good as it gets when you’re 50?

I sat on my couch, no energy to do anything, and wrapped my shawl close around my shoulders to sit and think about the situation. After a few minutes, I forgot what situation I had intended to think about so I decided to roll over and take a nap.

I exaggerate, but it’s more true than I care to admit.

In truth, I plan to celebrate my birthday by taking the day off and getting an hour-long massage. I’m also going to have fun lunches and lavish dinners with friends, having a good time and acting more like someone who is a quarter-century old than a half-century old.

What’s also true is I will gladly accept whatever attention I get on my birthday, negative or positive, because it’s attention. When people acknowledge your birthday, you appreciate it. They wouldn’t do it if they didn’t like you.

Even though life can be difficult, sad and disappointing at times, it is life and it’s all we have. Every birthday I experience, I will say, “Good for me! I survived another year. Let's have some cake and ice cream." Or steak or cigar, or all four, whatever your thing happens to be.

Every birthday, I will say, "Look at all the fun I had this year" or "Look at what I learned or how I grew from all that bad stuff that happened." I will appreciate the good and the bad, and especially, all the wisdom that accumulates from living another year.

Even if I do have to set my thermostat on 80 degrees.

LEE WARD can be reached at lward@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2661.

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