Birthdays and my new super powers
I am celebrating my birthday this week. Not a big birthday. No round numbers like a 0 or a 5. Not a milestone birthday that would launch me into a new decade or signal my retirement. Not a prime number as it is divisible by 19 and 3. Ordinary number for an ordinary birthday.
People always ask what someone wants for their birthday. It’s an odd question really unless you are eight years old.
What do I want for my birthday? Let’s see… I don’t need anything, not really. It is a treat to spend time with my kids and my friends but other than that. A walk on the beach. Some rain in the forecast.
Then some people press on… “No, really. What do you want?” So then my requests get more difficult and larger. It’s what I really want. There is not so much in between.
This is what I want
Peace on earth if that isn’t too much trouble. Treating women with equality and dignity. Ending all the armed conflicts. Making sure all children have access to good food, clean water, safe shelter, and an education. Definitely an education.
The power to help make any of these things happen. To help effect change. So by this point, my well-meaning friends are rolling their eyes, and I get that. I was just trying to answer the question.
My Dad turned 84 last week. What did he get for his birthday? A trip to the emergency room and a new pacemaker. That is a sucky gift but the fact that he is alive and is in pretty good shape is a nice gift for me and my siblings and everyone that knows him.
How cool would it be if we were assigned super powers for our birthdays? Flying, that would be great. I have spent a fair amount of time in airports this summer and to skip that whole experience would be great.
I wish I could fly without the assistance of an airplane. Wings would be kind of cool. The extra width on top would make up for my widening middle section. Hell, I wish I could read without my glasses. That’s not possible anymore either. Still, all in all I am doing okay.
My new super powers
Just recently, to my shock and surprise, I have discovered a new super power.
It doesn’t come with an invisible plane like Wonder Woman. Or an invisibility cloak like Harry Potter. In fact there are no cool gadgets attached at all. There isn’t even an on and off switch.
Don’t be jealous. It is the power of stealth. Maybe it would be helpful if I were a spy. It’s a power that we all acquire at one time or another. As we age though it, it may become a permanent thing. So at 50 plus you become invisible to anyone under the age of 25. Maybe even anyone under the age of 30.
I saw a sketch about getting older once on the Amy Schumer show or comedy central and it resonated with me. It was about women aging out of parts in Hollywood. The one example that was brought up was Sally Field playing Tom Hanks love interest in Punchline and then 6 years later in Forrest Gump playing his elderly mother.
Was her aging process accelerated in those six years?
So, Amy is wandering through the woods. She comes out into the light and three women all stars for decades are laughing and toasting one another and having some sort of celebratory lunch. The table is laden with all kinds of high calorie goodies.They revel in the fact that Julia doesn’t have to maintain her body anymore as Hollywood has decided that she is done being desirable. Tina Fey, toasts Julia Louis Dreyfus last f**kable day as an actress.
The point that men don’t have this issue was made very clearly. So, as people, do we all age out of being considered attractive, sexy, relevant or interesting? I think things are changing for the better but the fact that beauty and relevance have expiration dates is disheartening.
The flip side of all this invisibility is I see myself more clearly than I ever have. I am more comfortable with the things I cannot do and try to focus on the things I can do. My ability to concentrate has increased and I recently worked toward a certification online in Positive Psychology. I heard one of the professors do a TED Talk about grit and followed her back to the source. It was exciting and I felt proud learning something new.
And I am beginning to believe that I may have also acquired another super power along the way that is much more useful. Wisdom.
A Definition of wisdom
The ability to discern inner qualities and relationships: insight.
The ability to use good judgement and make the correct or appropriate decision in difficult or challenging situations.
Accumulated philosophical or scientific learning: knowledge.
A wise attitude, belief, or course of action.
My children ask me things all the time and I can answer with some sort of reasonable explanation and they are kind of surprised. “Mom, how do you know that?” I shrug my shoulders because I can’t really answer them and sometimes it’s a little embarrassing to come up with this stuff out of thin air. Well not really thin air but out of years and years of experiences, living, and being alive.
If the superpower of invisibility comes with wisdom then that’s okay. AND EVERY BIRTHDAY WE GET TO CELEBRATE IS A GIFT. (TWEET IT!)
Be kind to yourself.
Now over to you: What is your super power?
Originally published at www.tamaramendelson.com on August 27, 2018.