People say that 60 is the new 40. But I think my 60 will be the new 60. Plain and simple. I honestly think the view will be better up there on the sixth floor. Don’t get me wrong, other floors have a lot of great qualities, but the panoramic scene higher up is remarkable. I’m going to try to soak it all in because a lot has happened in the past few decades. I am proud to have thrived and survived and be reaping the benefits.
If you haven’t figured it out, I am about to turn 60. One day away. While the rest of the world is busy celebrating someone else’s birthday this time of year, I humbly celebrate mine. My life in birthday land has always been a bit of a competition with December’s all-consuming holiday. I think one of the wisest things I have acquired, is the skill of taking care of myself on my birthday. I had to figure out a way for it to work, otherwise, I am full of BS, Birthday Stress. While some years, it did not seem to matter, there were others that left me feeling unworthy of celebration, when compared to what else is happening for people on December 24.
I get a lot of…“Oh, you are a Christmas Eve baby? You must hate that.” (awkward pause…)
As a child, my birthday was spent waking up to the smell and beauty of snow fall. Almost every year, I was lucky enough to have that crisp sensation, coupled with the sheer joy of no school! We spent every Christmas Eve with my mother’s three sisters and their families. Although these cousins lived very close, we rarely saw them, so Christmas Eve was very exciting for me. My mother made her famous potato salad and we drove, singing Christmas Carols, looking at the lights. It was probably just a 20 minute drive, but I remember it as a much bigger journey. Every year, I heard the story that when I was born, there was no potato salad. My three aunts each slipped me an envelope at some point in the evening. Birthday cards, with five dollar bills! Super exciting! And, Aunt Ruthie always had a birthday cake for me. Candles, singing, and everything.
When I grew up and that celebration was no longer part of the day’s activities, I was left to create my own traditions. It is one thing to be Jewish at Christmas and another entirely, to have your birthday smack in the 24 hours of you-know-who’s big day. So, I fumbled for years, until I discovered… leaving town! Genius!!! My husband and I started to slip away for the Christmas holiday in our early days together. The first time was San Diego, then we discovered quaint B&B’s in northern California. Mendocino, the Russian River, Point Reyes, Calistoga. Charming spots, all decorated festively for the season, and never crowded or over booked. Finding food on that evening is always a challenge, but if we planned ahead, it worked out.
Then came the kids. The girls and I managed a matinee of the San Francisco Ballet’s Nutcracker for many years. We dressed up, Santa was always there, and then we ordered food in at home and watched movies, while my husband worked Christmas gigs. We left town on Christmas Day. Carmel or Laguna! Again, no food, but no crowds either! Sunshine, beach, perfect. Over the years, the getaways have changed. The Nutcracker became Cirque Du Soleil or a movie theater. Sushi ordered in, and Love Actually on TV, always makes for a successful day.
Welcome to the Sixth Floor
One year, I had breakfast in Rome and dinner in Paris on my birthday! And here I am again. In the city of lights, the city of love, the city to top all cities. Paris! With my girls and my man, feeling like 60 is going to be great. The sixth floor is stunning. No regrets, no complaints, just a few wrinkles, and aches and pains, but lots of wisdom and no more competition.