Thursday, October 11, 2007

Bad Birthday Blog

By Lisa Curry

This past Tuesday, October 9, was my birthday. My 44th birthday, to be precise.

The day was not helped in any way by my suffering both the flu and PMS.

Those double fours sound so squarely middle-aged.

And there’s this thing I have with my mother. If she were alive, she’d be 66. But instead, she was killed in a car accident by a drunk driver 17 years ago. So she’s forever 49.

I’m only 5 years younger than my mother.

I’m as close in age to my mother as I am to my only sibling, my 5-years-younger sister.

Now that’s freaky. No wonder I wanted to stick my head in the oven. (Alas, it’s electric.)

On the other hand, the flu passes, PMS passes, and you can’t freak out about your age forever.

For starters, I’m not the queen of healthy living, and I’ve seen firsthand what two of my grandparents were like in their late 80s. Therefore, I neither expect nor aspire to reach 88, so at 44, I’m probably already well past middle age. That takes some of the pressure off.

Second, 44 probably isn’t as bad as 45, 46, 47 or 48 will be. And I’m sure it isn’t as bad as my 49th birthday will be, because I fully expect my head to implode or something equally dire to occur that day. And that makes me normal, according to Hope Edelman, author of Motherless Daughters, who says that deep down inside, a lot of women find it impossible to imagine living longer than their mothers did. And normal’s good.

On that note, I’m feeling positively perky. I’ve got 5 good years left in me. Might as well enjoy them and not waste them moping!

How about you? Ever had a really bad birthday?


Tory said...

That's funny, I've always imagined living longer than both my parents. They had me when they were 40, and my Dad died at 65 and my mom at 75, so that made me 25 and 35, respectively. But I think of myself as enjoying life much more than either of them did.

My dad felt trapped at his job at General Motors, and my mom felt trapped in a loveless marriage. I don't feel trapped, though occasionally underfunded.

My only difficult birthday was 40. As luck would have it, the day of my birthday was a big contra dance with an out-of-town (extremely good) band and caller. So I had my birthday party the day before. I was SO GLAD that's how it happened, because I woke up at the ripe age of 40 surrounded by birthday cards and gifts and the memory of all my friends kidding me about being "old."

Happy birthday, Lisa! Remember, you have the chance to revise your parents lives (and mistakes.)

Joyce said...

"Motherless Daughters" is an excellent book, so is "The Loss That is Forever." I lost my Dad when I was 2 (he was 40) and my mother when I was 18 (she was 56), so I'm surprised I'm not more messed up than I am. :-)

I didn't like turning 30 much. 40 was good because that's when I earned my blackbelt, and 50 was just plain fun. I like being 50, because most people don't realize I'm that ancient.

Nancy said...

One good way to cope with birthdays is to forget how old you are. Once you hit 50---which is the one that comes after 49, I think---you start forgetting stuff, and you might as well forget your age because that makes room for more important stuff like where you store the really good chocolate.

Happy belated brithday, Lisa! You look fabulous, dahling!

Gina said...

Happy birthday, Lisa!

(pretend these are candles and this is a cake, and that the candles are lit and arranged on top of the cake in a wonderful pattern:)
{ }

You may not like getting older, but consider the alternative . . .

Seriously, I've never minded birthdays. Of course, I am very immature for my age -- which is now 57(!!!) -- so that helps. Maybe I'll figure out what I want to be when I grow up sometime before I die.

Annette said...

Happy Birthday a little late, Lisa. And glad to hear you're recovering from that nasty bug you had on Tuesday.

I enjoyed turning 40. Lots of funny cards. And I was feeling forty and fabulous. Now that I'm 48 and staring 50 in the eye, I'm less than thrilled.

My mom is 87 and still alive, so I have good longevity genes. And no one believes she's that old. Most people guess she's in her sixties. I've had several people guess that I'm ten or twenty years younger than I am lately. But those people were all in their seventies. The other night a young guy at the electronics store treated me like an old broad who doesn't know her way around modern technology. I find that rather annoying. Made me want to call Joyce and her black belt to come and pound him into the dirt.

Joyce said...

I wasn't completely awake yet when I wrote my earlier comment. I forgot to wish you a happy birthday, Lisa. Happy birthday!

And Annette, I'll be happy to pound anyone you want.

mike said...

I subscribe to the anti-birthday movement (if one exists)--just get thru the day without a lot of fuss. Except for the big ones. For 40 I threw an after-work cookout at home for current and former coworkers and friends from the opera company. Quite an odd mix. For 50, Jim surprised me with a fabulous bash at his complex's pool--even with fireworks, courtesy of Peters Twp. (which was celebrating its own birthday!). As for 60--well, that was a tough one, so I forbad all fuss and went off for a 7-day bicycle/camping trip. I too am blessed with long-lived relatives, so I guess I'll be around to celebrate a few more "big ones." Wish I could offer you some advice on how to handle b-days, Lisa, but believe me when I say you sure as hell don't look or act your age! So, whatever you're doing, keep it up. And HB too!

Cathy said...

Happy birthday, Lisa. Hope you have the greatest of years--never a dull moment, anyway.

My mother's mother passed when she was 55. We all held our breaths the year Mom was 55, but she kept on going and is now 78. And I've even surpassed Grandma's age of passing, so don't go by that. I think women have such better lives now and so many more choices. I think we'll all just keep plastering on the makeup and keep going and going and going.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday, Lisa!

You look great, and I know that you've got a lot more years in you.

I try to treat each birthday as my own personal holiday. I don't like or expect much fuss from other people, but I do tend to pamper myself. The way I see it, it's the one day of the year that's all mine.

lisa curry said...

Thanks, you guys -- you're the best. I think it's a good idea to plan ahead to do something to make a birthday "an event." I did that when I 30 -- changed my hairstyle. When I was 40, I was going to get my navel pierced. I never actually carried through on that one, but thinking about it was fun. Maybe for my 45th, I'll plan to get a tattoo. :-)