I want to be Betty White when I grow up.
Betty turned 90 a few weeks ago, and appeared in a TV special to celebrate the milestone. Instead of slowing down and taking it easy in her Golden Years, Betty has heated up and really gets out there to entertain us and has a great time doing it.
Let’s face it, at this point in her life it’s obviously not about the money. Betty has made enough of that to last a lifetime, no matter how long that ends up being. She smiles coquettishly in the spotlight, quips with genius delivery, even makes sexual innuendos, looks amazingly youthful and beautiful for her age, and is a genuine fireball at 90. And she loves the attention!
I have an Aunt who is turning 80 this May, and she, too, looks amazing, and is a real fireball. But she does not want a mention of the . . . shhh, number 80 this year. Instead of allowing her children and relatives to give her a party to CELEBRATE the years together, she is choosing to forego a family event, and plans to traipse off to Utah to defy her age and ski. Or maybe she is showing off her age, not sure, but it sure would be nice to enjoy a celebration with my aunt and the family. However, she does not see it that way.
During a recent visit, I asked her why she didn’t want a birthday party, and she got snippy and said, “Why don’t you have one?” I’m not sure what that meant, but it appeared to be a delicate subject, so I dropped it. (I would love for someone to give me a birthday party this year, BTW.)
But, I also understand different strokes for different folks. I remember a few years back when my daughters took me out to celebrate a milestone birthday for me. There we were, in our favorite candlelit Italian restaurant, between the calamari and chowder, when to my complete surprise, one of them pulled from their purse a glittery silver crown with the magic MILESTONE NUMBER magnified in shiny, bold purple glitter for the entire world to see.
“Put it on, Mom!” they exclaimed, as my jaw dropped in disbelief, forcing me to choke on a piece of clam I had just spooned into my mouth to swallow. Yes, I knew how old I was and yet, that number, that giant purple number ending in zero appeared on that crown out of nowhere gleaming like Mt. Everest! And I just couldn’t relate to it. It didn’t seem real. I just didn’t “feel” that “F” word – FIFTY.
After much goading I gave in and put it on, but for just a minute so they could at least take a photo of me in the crown. Still that milestone number seemed bigger than life to me at that point in time. Never wanting to judge myself by time, I don’t want to dwell on age as a measure of how I look or feel, or what I can or cannot do. I just want to be. And do. And keep going!
While cleaning out a box of mementos last week, I stumbled on that milestone birthday crown, with the large magic number, still all shiny and boldly gleaming up top. It doesn’t seem so bad now. In fact, I just might wear that crown on my birthday, well, on a future birthday. Well, maybe in a few years or so, down the road.
And until then, I want to say, Betty White, you rock, lady! And you’re a brilliant role model, but I have years – many years – to grow into being you. God bless you. And God bless my auntie, too.
And I am my aunt’s niece, and Auntie, lady, you rock! I’m so proud of you! And next to Betty White, you’re still a kid. And you can ski. I can’t even do that.
A wise man told me that those who have the most birthdays seem to live longer, so “Happy Milestone Birthday” to each of you – and many more.
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