Recently I celebrated my 69th birthday. My daughter and her (now our) friends took me out to a fancy restaurant, had the waiters do their birthday act, and brought presents for me to open at the table. It was the most special birthday I have had since I was 16 and my father danced with me!
But I have to admit that there is a little psychological trick that the mind does with those decade markers. To be 69 definitely feels much younger than to be [OMG!] 70! When I am 70 I will be OLD–until I have been 70 for a while, and then I will think that 80 is old. It is the same trick that some adman dreamed up to make prices that are just 1¢ less than a whole dollar seem a LOT less expensive.
Does anyone remember when things were still priced in numbers that matched our most-used currency? Things did not cost 49¢, 99¢, $1.99, or (that horror) $99.99. They were 50¢, $1, $2, or $100, and that seemed a lot more honest. Storekeepers didn’t have to keep a drawer full of pennies for change, and it made the arithmetic much simpler.
While I am at it, when did the 0.9 creep into the price of gasoline? And on most service station signs, this little 9 is so small that you can barely see it. That is intentional, I am sure. Our brains do not move up to the next whole cent. We believe we are paying $2.69 per gallon, and not $2.70 minus 1/10 of a cent.
Well, it never bothered me so much to be turning 30 or 40 or even 50 that I would claim to be 29, 39, or 49 for as many years as I could get away with. I knew that I looked too young to be my real age, and I enjoyed having people tell me so when I told the truth about my age. (Good skin and a pleasant smile, there.) I still don’t feel almost 70 unless I overdo the exercise, and then I can hardly move for 3 days. When I dream, I always seem to be about 40, for some reason. That’s how old I feel inside, I think. It’s a good, comfortable age, 40: wise enough, yet not set in my ways (though I had to turn 50 before I was able to risk everything to change a situation that I felt trapped in.)
Happy Birthday to me! I am happy to be here, healthy and mentally fit, with some limitations. I don’t know what is ahead or how many more years are left, but I believe I will be as blessed as I have been up to now with good parents (both gone now), good friends, God’s grace, and a loving family. What more do I need?