So another birthday has been celebrated and I’ve reached the age that, in my younger years, used to seem “over the hill.” This past Thursday, Dec. 1, was my birthday and it feels like much of the day was spent reading and responding to Facebook wishes. Not that it was a bad thing; I love the fact that Facebook allows me to instantly connect with friends and family near and far, even keep in touch with people I went to high school with that I haven’t seen in years. Lots of years!
My daughter told me I needed to stop getting older and I had to confess that I am not really sure how ‘old’ I am supposed to feel … age, after all, is just a number. (Yes, I’ve also reached the age where I can use that statement.) Realistically, I think sometimes I felt older at 35 or 40 than I do now, depending on the circumstances … although I’m finding it does take me longer to bounce back after a tough week.
It used to be no problem to traipse up and down the football field every Friday night, no issues on Saturday. Now, especially if it’s cold or wet, the back starts aching a bit, the knees hurt, the fingers cramp. Some Saturday mornings it felt like I had been tackled, not just taking pictures of the tacklers. And if it was an away game? Mix in the long car ride to and from, the back and forth on the field, then I definitely feel my age. Ibuprofen and a heating pad have become standard operating procedure.
Most of the time, though, age is not a number I dwell on. My birthday also arrives shortly after Thanksgiving each year and then Christmas is right on its heels, so there is plenty to focus on besides the passing of time.
This year Thanksgiving was also a special blessing, something I didn’t realize until a few days afterward. Looking at the holiday, I discovered that amongst five different holiday gatherings of various kinds – including two full Thanksgiving feasts, one on Thursday and one on Friday, none of them were with traditional, blood-relative ‘family.’ They were with friends, many of whom I consider family, and people that I have shared both joy and sorrow with, tears and laughter – true touchstones of what binds us together, the good and the bad. We are all just trying to get through this life the best we can, taking it one day at a time and hopefully having a positive impact on someone somewhere along the line.
Like I said, my daughter told me to stop getting older. I could say the same to her – she will hit 21 on her next birthday and that in itself is incredible. For Christmas this year she has a few simple requests – a far cry from the list she used to write out – but that just shows the changing perspective we acquire as we age.
And honestly, we both sometimes get nostalgic, silly as it seems, for those times not too long ago when we would travel with our soccer family for weekend tournaments and just enjoy the opportunity to spend some quality time together.
Life tends to pull us in so many different directions but it’s important to never lose sight of what is truly important, the family and friends that are there for you, unconditionally, to lend a helping hand or a listening ear.
It’s about to get crazy as we hurtle through this final month of the year. My wish for you is that, amongst all the shopping and holiday office parties, you take the time to celebrate with the ones you love and let them know how much they mean to you. That really is the best gift of all.
Marg Jackson is editor of The Escalon Times, The Oakdale Leader and The Riverbank News. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.