In SAN DIEGO and MINNESOTA: Birthdays Then and Now

  I’m saying it out loud. Two days ago I turned (why do we say ‘turned’?) 76 years old. It wasn’t a smooth turn.

Being a year older seems to have the most meaning when one is young or old. “Yay, now I’m six, I can go on the big rides.” Yay, now I’m 76, I can go on the big rides too if I have the stamina to trek down endless corridors; up long stairways to big planes on far-flung  runways in overbooked airports; find the right car on the night train to Minsk; manage the chop of the sea on the windy ferry ride to Riga.

Since age and travel, especially the upcoming Big15Trip, turn up in so many of my thoughts I may was well blend the topics for today’s post.

What I really want to say is how strange it is that some birthdays pass pleasantly enough with no troubling thoughts about much of anything. And then one comes along that unexpectedly offers up everything short of night terrors.

So here I was in sunny San Diego courtesy of my fine thoughtful son, climbing the mountain, shopping at Nordstrom’s, eating tasty morsels of California cuisine, lounging about with a good book and hanging out with delightful grandchildren. All while feeling the odd moments and small waves of vulnerability, anger, uselessness, loneliness, sadness race by. They weren’t constant; I wasn’t really depressed; in fact I was generally having a very good time—and then a glum blip–like ‘in a few years they’ll being getting ready to go out for Ramen and I’ll be dead’ or ‘why’d I buy that expensive shirt, I’ll die before it’s worn out’ or ‘what if I can’t make it to the top of Black Mountain ever again’ or ‘what’s the use of thinking I can write a book when I’ll probably drop dead half way through the journey I’m writing about…’

Those nasty little blips still linger today. They’ll leave though as I revert to euphemisms like being a ‘woman of a certain age’ and realize I don’t have to change numbers again for another year AND that I can still lift a heavy backpack into the overhead before all the nice people around me have risen far enough in their seats to help.

Happy Easter!  Or was that Bah Humbug?

I feel happy again…all these nice birthdays…who could not feel okay about it all…all those years.



AGE 5.

AGE 5.





One Comment on “In SAN DIEGO and MINNESOTA: Birthdays Then and Now

  1. Love these photos of your little-person self with all those fancy cakes. Margie, you were a sweetheart!
    Me too at 72. I just returned a third bathing suit that I didn’t really need because I already have two recent ones and, incidentally, I have a chest x-ray appointment instead.


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