Doodad Kind of Town


Notes on Getting Older
October 23, 2007, 1:39 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

My next birthday will be rolling around on January 5, and I’m already starting to get used to this idea.

Actually, this is annual ritual for me. Around the end of October each year, I start to “practice” thinking of myself as being older, gradually acclimating myself to the fact that in a couple of months or so, I’ll be increasing the righthand digit in my age by one.

“I’m going to be 48 in January,” I tell myself each morning. I start to imagine myself as 48. I try to picture myself as a smart and sexy 48-year-old with many adventures still ahead of her. Because, in some crazy way, this will help to soften the blow when I wake up on January 5, 2008 and have to tell myself “I AM 48 now!” It won’t come as such a shock.

(Paranthetical note: It totally sucks to have a birthday on January 5. No one wants to celebrate it with me: the holidays are over, and they’re all fat, broke and tired. January 5 is a great day to take down the Christmas decorations or start on the Slim Fast plan – not to drink martinis, eat cake and dance till dawn. But I digress.)
It was a sad day when I opened my mailbox to find a catalog called “As We Change” (!) featuring everything from herbal hot flash relief remedies to “slenderizing” jeans. (I get the Victoria’s Secret catalog, too, but that has come to be just as depressing. I flip through its pages, and have only two thoughts: “These models are young enough to be my daughters!” and “I can’t wear THAT anymore!”) To my chagrin, I have actually started reading books with titles like “The Wisdom of Menopause” and “Living Your Unlived Life: Coping with Unrealized Dreams and Fulfilling Your Purpose in the Second Half of Your Life.” With great interest, I might add.
And I’ve started my list of “Things I Never Got Around To Before, but I’m Gonna D0 Them Now That I’m Over 40, Damnit!” Predictably, mine includes travel (stand on the Great Wall of China, see the Taj Mahal, stand on the Skelling Rock in the Ring of Kerry, wander through fields of lavender in Provence,etc.) It also includes learning to speak French.
I took a year of French in college; it was not an entirely happy experience. For the entire duration of high school and my freshman year, I had taken Latin. Yep, that’s right – five years of a dead language. There’s no such thing as Conversational Latin, because, well – who would you talk to? A reincarnated Roman? (In high school, there was a persistent rumor that Latin was still being spoken in one small town in Switzerland, but I think that may have been an urban legend.) So imagine my surprise when my college French instructor – a bubbly, blond graduate student – bounced into class each morning cooing things like “Bon jour! Comment ca va? Q’uest-que tu va faire ce soir?” at me every morning. I eventually got proficient enough to give brown-nosing answers like “Ca va, et toi? Je vais allez a la biblioteque etudier Francais ce soir,” but that was as good as it got. I distinctly remember choking on my conversational final in the language lab and answering at least one question with the unfortunate “Merde! Je ne sais pas!”
So now I am spending my middle-aged evenings making up for lost time by dutifully pressing through Rosetta Stone’s Level 1 French lessons like the good little student I used to be. And let’s just say – If I ever do make it to Provence, and have the opportunity to observe that “the children are drinking milk” or “we have a red book,” I will be SO prepared!

Lavender fields, here I come. Je court! (photo from colorsofprovence.com)
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