RSS Feed

42nd Street

Each of us handles our advancing age in our own way. Some people reflect on their lives and make a bucket list of things they have yet to accomplish. Other people can’t tolerate the changes they see in the mirror. They fight the aging process tooth and nail by enlisting every tool available in medical science. Still others acquiesce to the endless march of time as part of life by gracefully acknowledging each passing year with its accompanying wrinkles, declining vision and deteriorating bodily functions. Flab appears on what was once a young, nimble body. Bending over to pick something up often triggers a series of snapping, crackling and popping sounds that rival a fresh bowl of Rice Krispies.

Fighting aging is a losing battle, so I don’t waste my time worrying about it. It’s going to happen to those of us lucky enough to have the opportunity to grow old. Since wrinkles are an inevitable part of the aging process, I choose to believe that any wrinkles I have acquired have come from a lifetime of laughing and smiling. If I’m going to have them anyway, I’d prefer that mine come from laughing rather than frowning. I also choose to believe that any weight I gain helps to pop out some of those wrinkles from the inside like pushing out the dents on a car. Even though I’ve made my peace with getting older, I’d still like to look as young as I can for as long as possible, but a little affirmation goes a long way.

Several mornings a week I walk to work past a school with a crossing guard. Each time I pass the crossing guard, I say good morning to her and we chat about the weather. I have been doing this for 3 years. This morning, as I began to cross the street, I looked both ways, saw a car two blocks away and stepped off the curb. Before my foot could hit the asphalt, the crossing guard yelled at me, “There’s a car. Stay on the sidewalk until I tell you it is safe to cross the street!”

I was startled by the tone she used with me, but stepped back thinking she had seen something I hadn’t seen like the car speeding up or someone barreling around the corner. Clearly, she takes her job seriously. I stood there waiting for a few minutes as the car made its leisurely journey down the two blocks before passing by as I stood safely on the curb. Once the car had turned the corner, the crossing guard signaled for me to cross. As I began to approach her side of the street, she was muttering about how fast people drive and how students don’t follow her instructions. She chastised me for not waiting for her to give me permission to cross the street. It was only when I was within a few feet of her that she realized I am an adult and apologized for scolding me. She is a doddering old woman who probably needs glasses, but I choose to believe that it is my youthful appearance and exuberant walk, not my diminutive stature that caused the crossing guard’s confusion. Being mistaken for a twelve-year-old is not a bad way to start the day when it is your 42nd birthday.

 

**A big thank you to Chatty Cathie of Chatty Cathie’s Endless Chatter for sending some blog love my way with the Liebster Blog Award! Stop by and have a chat with Cathy. You won’t be disappointed. **

About Paprika Furstenburg

I was born with an overly developed sense of humor and poor coordination. The combination of these two character traits has taught me humility and given me the perspective to find the funny in everyday experiences. Good Humored is my first blog.

74 responses »

  1. Happy Birthday, Paprika! I think of birthdays as simply excuses to celebrate.
    I can never understand why the whole world isn’t out there having a parade or a festival. But I AM!

    Reply
  2. Paprika, you write with such humor and tenderness. And I totally relate. When I tell people I graduated with a BA in English, and a minor in Studio Art, they tend to ask, “So what are you going do now?” The implication is that I must have JUST graduated. It’s actually been ten years!

    Reply
  3. I missed your birthday–hope it was wonderful, and looking forward to celebrating with you and Oregano in a few weeks!

    Reply
  4. Happy Birthday!

    And I agree that the extra weight pops those wrinkles right out. The slightly-overweight of my friends look WAY better than the ones who are still as slim as they were in high school.

    Reply
  5. I hope you had a very happy birthday! I think the gods sent you a wonderful gift!

    Reply
  6. Hi Paprika,
    just a few thoughts to share with you:
    1) Happy Birthday!!
    2) Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live (which is rather what you said).
    3) I enjoyed this post!! Thanks for the smile :)
    4) Thank you for visiting my blog.
    5) Thank you for following my blog. How cool is that. I am stoked!
     
    Wishing you a wonderful new year – may it be full of unexpected blessings. And Happy Blogging! Cheers!

    Reply
  7. I welcome aging, revel in it even! I just won’t give in to shortcuts. Wrinkles I’ll take — heck, they’re my battle scars — but I will always make choices that result in strong joints, muscles, brain, and bones. I refuse to accept age in that way.

    Happy Birthday! I hope you’re always mistaken for a cute, lively 12-yr-old. Enjoy your 40’s…they’re fantastic.

    Reply
    • Thanks for the birthday wishes, Shannon :)

      I agree with you about making choices that keep the brain, muscles, bones and joints in proper working order, but sometimes those parts just don’t cooperate with my efforts.

      Reply
  8. Happy Birthday! I subscribe to the “extra weight pounds out aging dents” theory. I tell everyone its the Lancome but my pantry really knows.

    Reply
  9. Happy 42nd birthday. I know how you feel about time marching on – mostly in high-heel boots all over our back. The last time someone asked me for proof of age, when I was buying a bottle of wine, was a little old lady with glasses as thick as a coke bottle. I bless her every day. You better thank that little old crossing guard, too. :-)

    Reply
  10. What a let down…..I saw the title of your current essay on Facebook and immediately thought this would be an interesting trip down a colorful path and perhaps a little titillating to boot. My mind was racing ahead at breakneck speed and the puns were falling over each other in anticipation of a raucous reply. I mean what else could be conjured up with the title of 42nd Street (aside from Disney and all sorts of other family entertainment that have recently encroached upon the former mecca of adult entertainment.) To my utter surprise, it was a topic a wee bit lower on the excitement scale–aging!!!!! Thanks Paprika…..Those of us here at the gated community (and I don’t mean those pearly ones) choose not to spend much time considering growing old or its alternative. That said, Happy Birthday to my favorite spice.

    Reply
    • Oh, Bob, so sorry to disappoint, but you were lured right into my trap. The title was supposed to be the hook that got you to read. It worked. It just wasn’t what you wanted to read about. You’ll have to save those puns for another occasion :)

      Despite your disappointment regarding the content of this week’s post, I appreciate you mustering up the kindness to offer me such a wonderful birthday wish.

      Reply
  11. Though very new to your blog, it seems fitting to pass on the Sunshine Award your way after shining so well on your 42nd ! ( & cuz you don’t have enough …..)

    Reply
  12. Happy birthday! You should give that crossing guard a cupcake!

    Reply
  13. Happy Birthday! And what a way to start the morning!

    Reply
  14. Happy Birthday. It’s nice that lady was looking out for you, and that she thought you were a kid.

    Reply
    • Thanks, Emma! She is a bit overly cautious with her crossing especially since that car was 2 blocks away and stopped at a stop sign at the moment I chose to step off the curb. She had good intentions though and after thinking I was a 12 year old, I didn’t mind one bit.

      Reply
  15. Happy Birthday, Paprika!!! Thanks for helping with my wrinkles….I know a lot of them are from you. :0)

    Reply
  16. Happy Birthday! I’d rather look young like you, than sound young like me. (Yesterday) Ring, ring. Me: Hello? Plumber: Hi. Is your mommy there?

    Reply
  17. Happy Birthday. I bet that made your day and left a smile on your face for the rest of the day.

    Reply
  18. You always look young to me! I’m glad we had some time to spend together on your birthday, and I look forward to spending many more birthdays together.

    Reply
  19. That’s awesome! Happy birthday :) I get mistaken for a child, too, thanks to my littleness and fondness for saddle shoes.

    Reply
  20. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!! Excellent way to start your birthday, huh??? :)

    Reply
  21. Happy Birthday Paprika! Hope you have a wonderful 12th birthday ;]

    Reply
  22. What a fun “birthday blog!!” And as for your 40’s….”Life Begins at 40!!” Now I am saying “Life Begins at 70!!” It’s a fun ride the whole way, and I plan to keep riding!! And you will always look like a kid….especially to me!! Your MIL!! xoxo

    Reply
  23. Nope, I’d rather be mistaken for a 12-year-old than be called ma’am or asked if you want a senior citizens discount. That’s a great sign! Hope your birthday was great!

    Reply
  24. Good piece. I’ve written (and read) so much about aging. In a society that worships youth, or at least the appearance of it, it can be tough to deal with the signs of advancing age. The good news is that I know few women over 50 who would turn the clock back. I’m not the woman I was at 20 or 30 or 40 or even 50. Thank goodness. She was great in many ways, but she does keep improving with age. Happy Birthday!

    Reply
    • Thanks, Renee. I honestly don’t think that if I was given the choice to go back to a younger age I would take it. Ask me again in 20 years and my answer might be different, but I appreciate the wonderful things I have in my life so much more now than I did when I was in my 20s and 30s.

      Reply
  25. Hahaha fun post as usual young lady :)

    Reply
  26. Happy birthday! But I agree 100% with what you said on aging. I really loved the rice Krispy analogy. That’s exactly it. Lol.

    And like you…each wrinkle will come from laughing… Not frowning. I plan to laugh till the day I pass!

    Reply
  27. Hope you had a very happy birthday!!! I agree that being mistaken for anything younger than you are on your birthday is a wonderful thing!

    Reply
  28. I laughed at the last sentence of your blog entry, to find that you were talking of ageing at 42 years old! I am 65. I live in France, and am starting to take ageing seriously, from the point of view of planning for protected old age, since I don’t have any family around me nearby to take care of me if I need it. But even there, I have realized I am too young to start preparing. There is a subtle balance between being young enough and having the energy to move house, downsize, etc., and leaving it till you need it, and not then being capable of doing it. As for wrinkles, who cares. As for the weight which pushes the wrinkles out from the inside, as you so humourously put it, difficult there not to care, but I’m working on it.

    I hope you had a happy birthday?

    Reply
    • I know comparatively speaking I’m not that old, but my perspective on aging really changed when I turned 40 as I’m sure it will continue to change with each passing year. I’m sure it is difficult to prepare for your future, older self while you still feel young, healthy and vibrant.

      Thanks for the birthday wishes. It was a great day!

      Reply
  29. Happens All The Time to me. I mean, not the crossing guard thing but the getting mistaken for a kid thing. Most importantly though — HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Paprika! Hope you had a wonderful day! Layer cake all around — it’s on me.

    Reply
    • Being mistaken for a kid used to happen to me a lot in my 20s. I got carded at R rated movies until I was 25, but it has happened less and less frequently once I cleared 35. It was nice to have it happen again on my birthday. Thanks for the birthday wishes, Angie. I’ll just stop at the store to grab some milk and then I’ll show up for that cake :)

      Reply
  30. Thank you for sharing part of your special day!!! Happy Birthday…..

    Reply
  31. Happy 42nd Birthday! That sounds like a great compliment to me!

    I hope the crossing guard doesn’t mistake young children for adults. I can only imagine if there was an accident and she had to explain it…”he was 4?? I swear I thought he was middle-aged!”

    Reply
    • Thanks, Carly! This wasn’t the first time she thought I was a student, but it was just so ironic that it happened on my birthday that I had to write about it. It wouldn’t surprise me a bit if the crossing guard confused the young kids for adults. I wonder how old she would think I was if I could get someone to hold my hand while I’m crossing the street?

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 5,347 other followers

%d bloggers like this: