Another birthday

My birthday is approaching. I will be 61 on Wednesday. The staff has asked if I will be doing anything special. I told them I do not think so, since I get chemo that day. But l am considering splurging on a special birthday lunch after my treatment.

Last week an old friend came for a birthday visit. I met her when I first came here. Back then she was an activity aide and we struck up an instant friendship. If it had not been for her, my transition here would have been much more difficult.

Last Thursday she arrived carrying a large bag full of our lunch, a small bouquet of flowers from her yard, and other goodies. She is just like a visiting Martha Stewart. She even brought a small candle that played Happy Birthday. She lit the candle, let it play, and then she sang Happy Birthday to me as she has every year. I always enjoy these visits because they remind me of the fun birthdays I had as a child. So with this friend I get to be my real age: an awestruck child and a chatty teenager all at the same time.

I can hardy believe I will be 61. That just seems so old. I remember my mother was concerned with turning 60. But 30 years ago there was more of a stigma attached to it. Now with so many baby boomers aging, 60 is not as monumental as it once was. But when I mention a singer or actor and the twenty-somethings have no idea who I am talking about, I know how old I am.

Since I have always looked young, I was never sad about a birthday coming around. I actually hoped that someday I would look close to my actual age. Most people tell me I look like I am in my mid-40s. I will gladly take that as a compliment.

Sometimes people want to know my secret to looking younger. I tell them I have never smoked, seldom drink alcohol, and that I try to eat a healthy diet.

Taking care of myself and trying to be a little better each day may help me keep my youthful look. At least I like to think it does.

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