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43

Cindy Maddera

Michael walked into the kitchen Sunday morning as I was washing dishes and asked “So…do you feel thirty three, forty three, or fifty three?” I paused and thought about this for a minute before replying “Well…I don’t know what fifty three is supposed to feel like and since forty three is still pretty new, I don’t really know what that’s supposed to feel like either. So, I guess I feel thirty three.” The numbers are arbitrary really. Having never before experiencing this age, I can’t tell you if I feel older or younger. Maybe I feel younger, but wiser. Michael also mentioned how he liked the salt and pepper thing that is happening with my hair. I will say, that in the last two or three months, I’ve noticed that there’s a bit more salt in my hair. I don’t mind this either. When Michael asked the Cabbage if forty three was old, she of course said ‘yes’ because she’s eight and when you’re eight, forty three is a BIG number.

We spent my birthday weekend working on a puzzle and cursing the outside temperatures. Michael made me a strawberry cake that very much resembled Devil’s Tower but with sprinkles. We went to see the Cabbage’s band from School of Rock perform. Michael had my olive branch ring fixed so that I can wear it on my right ring finger. He also gave me a gift card to Anthropologie which I used to buy a dress that reminds me of my youth. In fact, if I still owned a pair of combat boots, I would own an outfit almost identical to one I wore in 1992. Michael and I ate a fancy dinner at the Pressed Penny Tavern amongst a crowd of people wearing Chiefs colors and yelling at one of the six TVs positioned on the wall. Reservations had been made for this dinner way before we knew the Chiefs would be heading to the NFC Champion playoffs game. We spent the rest of the evening at home, watching the rest of that game, with all of the animals piled on me and a fancy tea cup of gin and tonic in my hand. The weather kept me from witnessing and photographing the lunar eclipse and the Chiefs lost the playoffs. Win some, lose some.

Mostly win some.

I think many people would now put me in the category of ‘middle aged’. I have been receiving newsletter style emails lately for things related to women over fifty, things like skin care routines and exercises. I’ve been slightly obsessed with stories of women ninety and older who do things like teach yoga and run marathons. I have a very clear image of myself in my old age. I expect at age ninety that I will be living some where warm and riding my scooter around to run my daily errands. Those errands will include morning yoga classes on the beach, followed up with catching some sweet waves on my sweet surf board. After rinsing the salt and sand from leathery old lady skin, I will strap my yoga mat and surfboard to the scooter and head to the market where I will purchase fresh veggies and fish for my lunch. I’ll spend the rest of my day puttering around my cottage, maybe working a garden. Maybe I’ll learn how to use a loom or maybe I’ll just read trashy romance novels while swinging in a hammock.

I’ll be ninety. I’ll do what I want.