Birthday Memories: Sr. Sheila

I am not sure that this will qualify as my favorite birthday memory, but it is still very vivid for me and is the only one that comes to mind.

At the time I was turning 30 there was a great deal of discussion in the culture about the fact that when you became 30 you were over the hill and almost irrelevant. It was some kind of watershed that you crossed over and became a different entity. Maybe I tuned into it because I was approaching 30. A real feeling of dread came over me. I felt healthy and full of energy and drive to do what I was doing. But the thought of being disregarded and “too old to make a difference” gnawed at me. I did not want to turn 30. But the day came and as I moved into the days beyond, I did not feel any different or notice any change in the people in my life. I began to realize this was just an artificial cut-off that I had foolishly taken in and believed!

Now I see very vital people in their 80s and 90s. I see that age is in part what you make it and in part, the genes you were gifted with − giving you the health to stay active and alert. I resist cultural attitudes about what a given age means and just rejoice in the gift of life that birthdays are meant to celebrate

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