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Carpe Birthdiem — don’t be depressed about aging
by Sharon May
Jul 09, 2009 | 487 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
I read recently that former President Bush the elder celebrated his 85th birthday by getting all jumpy. As in jumping out of a plane at 10,500 feet.

I can relate to Bush’s carpe diem birthday.

Of course, when it comes to risk-taking, Bush didn’t have much to worry about during his jump since he was strapped to a member of the Army’s top-notch Golden Knights skydiving team. I’ll bet the entire team accompanied the tandem jump, too, just in case.

And no doubt one Golden Knight was hitched to Bush’s Secret Service agent, still wearing dark suit, earpiece and sunglasses, parachuting beside the former president and whispering into his mike, “We have the birthday ‘package.’ ETA, nine seconds.”

According to the AP article, Bush said he plans to skydive again when he turns 90 to show that seniors can continue to be active and do spiffy things like jumping from airplanes.

When I turned 40, a … let’s say, significant … number of years ago, I too jumped out of a perfectly functioning airplane to avoid feeling old. But the parachute opened and gravity pulled me down into middle age, as gravity has continued doing ever since, one body part at a time.

As for my own Dylan Thomas protest, I’d willingly go gently into plastic surgery if I had the bucks — but I don’t, so I won’t be aging on the Hollywood timeline. And since I can now use my “smiling lines” to hold extra change, I need my glasses to find where I left my glasses, and 90 percent of my vocabulary has become “you know, that thing,” I have to face it: I’m an old broad with an AARP card and a retirement savings plan. A cat will be next.

But Bush has inspired me! I’m going to go into that “good night” kicking and jumping in protest. It’ll be good exercise.

I have to think of something really brazen for my next epochal birthday. Of course, my decision will depend on what snarky jokes Mother Nature pulls on my body before then. Being wheelchair bound could definitely hamper cliff diving in Acapulco. And if I intend to climb up and down the steps of Machu Picchu, I’ll need a couple of knee replacements first – or pack a portable elevator.

Meanwhile, I suppose I could do something really audacious and stop mourning my spent youth and instead embrace my spots, wrinkles and creaky joints.

But there I go again, thinking about aging and my birthday next month. As I said, though, I’m inspired not to sink into a funk about it this year. I’ll picture myself, like Bush, skydiving defiantly into my birthday party and then blowing out enough candles for the entire U.S. Army to roast marshmallows.

My party guests will never guess that my birthday wish was to win a multi-million-dollar lottery. I’ll smile divinely as I imagine all the plastic surgery I can finally afford.

They’ll think I’ve wished for something silly like world peace.
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