When I was very little, I remember calculating how old my mother would be when I turned thirty. She found me on the stairs, crying. She asked me what was wrong. I told her what I was doing and said, “and I stopped when I got to fifty, because I knew by then, you’d be dead.”
I turn forty-nine today. Both of my parents are still around to send me beautiful birthday cards with curly script. They tell me how amazing and wonderful I am, and how glad they are that I am their daughter. Either they are forgetting my teen years, or they are choosing to ignore that part. Either way, I’ll take it.
The Dude is a large part of the spirit that has kept me young. He brings a light to my days that keeps age at bay. I have enjoyed driving his friends around all of these years, listening to their conversations, mining them for content, but mostly appreciating their perspective. Children dwell in the land of right now. Delayed gratification is a necessary skill to acquire, but no one said it didn’t suck. Some things you don’t want to wait for.
My son got his license this week, and he’s preparing for his SAT test and I realized that my days of porting he and his friends around is largely over. Rather than an end, however, I view this as a beginning, the new now. As the wise sage Paula Abdul said “The window of opportunity doesn’t close until you close it.”
My husband took me out for dinner to a lovely restaurant in the country. We told the chef to bring us whatever he wanted. This is our new way of eating out. It expands our horizons, and I’ll admit that some of my favorite dishes are ones I never would have ordered on my own. The sense of anticipation heightens the experience–that feeling that it could be anything, but whatever it is, it will be delicious.
My son actually gave me a gift this year. He gave me a pair of shoes that he knew I wanted. No, they weren’t a pair of Manolo’s, they were a pair of Chuck Taylor’s. They’re animal print, with a zipper around the side. The Dude says that they are very me, and they are. The fact that he sees that, makes them that much more special to me.
So my goal for this year is to approach life like a chef’s tasting menu. It will bring me good stuff, even if it isn’t something I would have asked for. I will delight in what is here, right now, and worry less about some unknown later.
I will wear animal print shoes and see where they take me. I’m keeping the window wide open. I like the fresh air.
Words by J. B. Everett