Over the Hill

My birthday is this week. Again. Since I slipped over to the downward slope, everything goes so much faster. Once again, it’s time to celebrate. But didn’t we just do this?

March 9

I’ve never been particularly coy about my age, but this year’s number does sound a little shocking when I say it. I’m how old?! It’s hard to believe. And I cannot ignore how our society perceives this number. I am increasingly less employable with every year. My age group has the most difficult time getting hired and most of us, still need to work. Retirement? Ha! So I better hang on to my job. And how many years left there? In a bookstore? While I still feel confident in my company’s ability to survive the Amazon storm, I’m also not stupid. And as my bones become brittle, will I really be able to hauling boxes of books to schools? Oh yeah! Students are, or will be soon, using tablets so I won’t have to, right? So much to keep up with! If only I could get paid just to keep reading. I’m so good at it.

Red Leaf

And then there’s the memoir I’m writing that I hope to sell to a publisher. Yes, I’m still working on it and it’s becoming a better book — really. But have you looked at the back flap on any book jackets lately? New authors are (attractive) youngsters. Who wants to read about the adventures, the romance, struggle and resiliency of a geezer? (Okay, I know I’m not quite a geezer – I just like that word.) But publishing, like much in the world, is the realm of the young. First time fifty-something author? Not so many of us.

05383a260d10a9e0927ec52c5d3e43dd

And I can’t ignore the physical dimensions of aging. I know there are things that I can do to look younger for my author shot – like color my hair. But since I suck at maintenance I’d soon end up with one of those skunky-stripes across the top of my head – right up there with crazy-clown lipstick as a bad look for an older woman. See, it’s not that I lack vanity, I’m just realistic. Besides the fact that coloring my hair is not what I want to spend my time or money on, better to look like a sea-hag from behind. When I turn around I can get the reaction “oh, she looks good for her age” rather than have the hair of a sixteen year old and a face of a, well, 55 year old. I’d rather hang onto my silver strands than risk that cringe factor.

snow tree

At this point, as long as nothing major fails in the body department I’d like another 3o years or so. Preferably with the ones I love. I know that’s a tall order – the people we love don’t always stick around and that’s heartbreaking.  I won’t even go there (for a change!).

I don’t mean to be depressing. I am not depressed, rather, I’m contemplative. We humans are a marvel of nature and in nature, everything has a season and all that. I’m glad to be here to keep marking the seasons.  I’m not horrified at the prospect of aging. I embrace it and intend to do it as well as possible. Like the New Year, I think of my birthday as time to take stock. Where and what do I want to be doing in X number of years from now?

crocus

Oh, never mind all that. Better to savor the moment, seize the day. Pay attention. That I can do. Cheers and happy birthday to me. And while we’re at it, happy birthday to you too – it will be here before you know it!

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15 Responses to Over the Hill

  1. Happy Birthday, Tricia! Always lovely at any age. And you’d be surprised how many writers first got published when they were older. Mary Wesley was 70. So you have some time :)

  2. Tricia says:

    Always so positive, Gabi! xxxx

  3. I too am of a certain age and I have a committed writing schedule to tell a true story before it slips from my mind. I have been hounded about it for years by others who know it … so here goes. Now you all know.

  4. Kristine Jenkins says:

    Tricia – so much of this resonated! Even the color the hair and who will hire me and is my current job even sustainable questions…and then you made me laugh about all that. Thanks!

  5. Steve Gatter says:

    Happy Birthday Trish–it’s just a number—you still got it & always will…

  6. Tricia says:

    I’m so glad you laughed, Kristine! Always the best. And there is comfort in knowing we are not alone, don’t you think? thanks for reading!

  7. Tricia says:

    Aw Steve! Shucks and thanks! x

  8. LaVagabonde says:

    Happy birthday! When I go gray, I’m not going to color it, either. Nowadays young people tint their hair silver, because it’s in style. And I can’t imagine wanting to read a memoir by someone under thirty.

  9. Tricia says:

    Thanks for the encouragement – now I feel (slightly) hip, too!

  10. Tricia, I just had a birthday too (turned 53 — yikes!) and your post really resonated with me. It sounds like you work in the book business — so do I, and despite the challenges posed by the evil empire, it’s the best business ever. Happy birthday!

  11. Tricia says:

    Hi Ann!
    So glad to hear this resonated. Actually, I’ve never had quite so many comments – of course birthday greeting business – but besides this. How can we not think about it?
    And yes – love the books! I’m going to head right over to your blog now – nice to connect.
    Tricia

  12. Sika Awoonor says:

    Trish, I finally read your piece – very down-to-earth and uplifting at the same time. I hadn’t read it when I sent to comment to FB – my bad. I read another article about aging gracefully recently and it made a point I had never thought of – we must stop competing with our younger selves!!! hmmm, that is definitely what I have been doing. So let’s compete with others who are slightly older and who are slightly worse off than us (hehheeheehhheee) Jokes aside, I look forward to your memoires, any time. I hope the UN tour-guide’s lounge gets a passing mention… I will be in touch. hugz, Sika

  13. Tricia says:

    Another pearl from you, Sika! I love that one – and am so glad you checked back for more. Do be in touch and one of these years we will have a real hug too and I look forward to it!

  14. Lea Sylvestro says:

    Happy Birthday Tricia! I loved your beautiful photos and reflections both thoughtful and humorous: skunk-stripe hair and the sea-hag! (And instantly that cartoon creature from Popeye sprang to mind for the first time in about, well, 50 years….agh!) My birthday is coming up soon too and I SO have you beat! XXOOO

  15. Tricia says:

    Let’s celebrate!!! Soon!

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