Monday, January 12, 2009

Over the Hill

I'm happy to report to family and friends I have made it over the hill--without too much trouble, tumbling, or scrapes--since Christmas Day, anyway. It's odd how one goes about thinking of Birthdays and Years on this planet, etc. At 5, I remember being terribly envious of people--anyone--taller than me. I was very tiny at 5 and had trouble reaching most things. I must not have weighed much either, because one day while waiting for a bus with my older sister and some of our friends, the wind was a little blustery that day and, since there was some rain involved and I had a parasol, I found out how vulnerable a small girl could be. I was literally being "blown away" until an older boy, Bill Terrel, who was 8 rescued me from the wind and won my eternal gratitude. Some time after that, Bill, my hero, also gave me my very first kiss. Yes, on the mouth. I was totally, and irrevocably in love at 5. I saw him again when I was 15 and he 18 and, man! In ten years time he was at least 10 times better looking. But, I digress.

At age 5 I knew I could do ANYTHING if I were only taller. I especially envied teenagers their height and ability to do what they wanted, when they wanted. Several things frustrated me in those days. But I always wanted to be taller. But, even though I was 2nd oldest of 8 siblings, I was always the runt. Smallest baby, still the shortest--currently at 5'3"--lost 3/4" over the years, apparently. My four brothers range in height from about 5'11" to 6'3". My baby sister might be an inch (or less) taller and my two other sisters are 5'9" and 5'11". So you can imagine how jealous I've been of tall people. Then my 6'3" brother has 4 daughters and they're ALL tall! A couple of them, I think are close to the 6' mark. And they're all beautiful, too.

But then, I met Mr. Right, and he's 6'4". I don't get the whys but he told me he liked short girls. Well, he got one! Still, I digress.

I was always envious of people that were taller, more capable, better looking, and so on. Mind you, it didn't slow me down. I kept right on plugging away at life and somehow or the other, felt I could do just about anything I set my mind to doing. I finally realized, that getting taller just wasn't in the works for me and adjusted to my shortness. Then, when I was about 20 a guy who was rather short/slight himself, told me he "honestly" thought I was at least 5'8". It was flattery, to be sure, but he kept going and said that I had "the air" (???) of someone 5'8". So, I somehow felt better about myself.

Well, back to being 5 and going forward. At 15 I'd reached my full height (grew six inches one summer!!! How's that for a growth spurt?) and got hips, square, bony hips, but hips that same summer. Talk about awkward! At 20 I fell in love (with my husband of 38 years and counting) and realized that how tall I was didn't make much difference--unless we were slow dancing. What a crick I can get in my neck!!! But, still I love slow dancing with him--if-n-when we ever manage any more to do so.

I always looked forward to turning 40. Don't ask me why. I'm not sure I know, but I did. Then I turned 40, got deathly ill with pneumonia and almost kicked the bucket. Glad I didn't go there.

Turning 50 was interesting. I did feel a tiny bit slower. My memory (or the lack of instant recall, at any rate) was a little more frustrating. And that was the year I began writing love stories. It was great fun and very enlightening. I learned things about how some characters, once they're introduced, try to take over the story and take on their own personalities and how much you have to reign them in and redirect them. That was also when I learned that people could relate to what my characters did and that they learned things about themselves through my stories. Discussing my characters with my husband had many wonderful side benefits. I needed a man's perspective and would query him (often against his wishes) as to what he, or another guy, might do in one situation or another. It was really nice because we got a lot closer as a result.

Now, ten years later, I've hurtled into the 60's of my mortal existence. I can remember my grandmother when she was 60! It just startles me to think I've turned 60, less than 24 hours ago, and I can't remember how those years accumulated so quickly. So all of a sudden. On Saturday evening, while talking with a friend who's birthday is exactly one month after mine, I told him I'd let him know Sunday how "going over the hill" felt.

Well, big surprise. I passed over that threshold and--interestingly enough--it feels the same on one side as it did on the other. Whew!!!! Of course, my knees were a bit achy this morning. Must be due to all that walking I did over that last hilltop. Right?


Bush Babe said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY Ms V. So pleased to hear the view is alright from your end! Did you ever read about my 40th? I didn't get pneumonia, thank goodness!!

Hope those aches (I have them too at 41!) settle and you grow even more like fine wine (better with age!).


Debby said...

Oh, Happy Birthday!

Now you need to hear right over to Jeanie's blog and start advising her on how to plan a 40th B-day party...after all you've got 20 years experience.

jeanie said...

Happy birthday!!!!

I think you will make 60 look fantastic - and as for the aching knees - gah, ageless (I have been told by my sister and V).

jeanie said...

Oh - and I want to write another comment JUST BECAUSE my word verification happens to be "puppotop", which I think is extremely cute and apt for your post.

Oh - and I am 5'3 ish - as my mother proved to me, you can still look down your nose at anyone at 5'3 (very handy keeping in line tool!)

And oh darn - blogger didn't like something so has given me lingly instead.

Edna said...

I can identify having just had my 62nd birthday. It seems like it got here in the blink of an eye. I think the 60's are going to be some of the greatest years of all. I got here from scribbit by the way.

Pencil Writer said...

Bush Babe, Debby, Jeanie, Thank you so much for the kind wishes and encouragement!

Edna--thanks for stopping by. I'm looking forward to a good decade, too!

Mom L said...

Happy Birthday! I tripped over you from BB's site - love your insight on age and height. I'm reduced to 5' these days - the great thing is that I meet some really nice people in the grocery stores, male and female, who reach things for me.

As for age - you're all "young chicks" as my Mom would have said. She passed away 1.5 years ago at over 101, and considered anyone younger than 90 to be a youngster. Me? I hit 65 last year and love it!!!

Nancy in Atlanta