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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : features : features December 17, 2014

5/5/2013 9:58:00 PM
Around the Bluhmin' Town: The age-old question - Is happiness tied to a number?
Courier Columnist

Is age really just a number? Hmm... I didn't think so. Because if it were, people would not be going bonkers over their next birthday.

My granddaughter turns 16 in a week. She called to tell me that she is looking forward to an "epic summer." Dear Readers, if a teenager ever tells you that they want an "epic summer," I'd suggest it is not what most parents or grandparents have in mind. Be very afraid. I have a feeling this child has watched a few too many beach party movies and is thinking "something amazing" is going to happen when she turns 16. If only growing another year older did that.

My brother is turning 65 this month and he says he'd rather not think about it. My colleague is turning 50 and it is all she can talk about - you'd think the world is collapsing around her. My niece is going to be 40 in June and she keeps saying that "40 is the new 20." Really? Well, people can say it, but I don't believe it! Age is what it is! I am no expert on "new math" but when the clock ticks and another blessed year has rolled around, there is no pretending, faking, hoping or wishing that makes us "a new number."

My grandson Brandon turned 12 and he was very sad because he does not want to be a teenager, which he cried "is happening in just another year." When I pointed out that teenage years can be great, he went on to say that he might be "too old" to play with his favorite toys. When I reassured him that he can play with toys at any age, he still seemed worried. He added he has watched his cousins turn into teenagers and doesn't like what he sees. Prodding further, Brandon went on to say, "Teenagers get gasoline cards for their birthdays and Christmas, and I like toys." Laughing, I told him one day he will drive a car and want a gas card. He looked at me as though I were speaking Greek.

I have a great-niece who will be 18 in a month and she is completely convinced that it will be her "most important" birthday that will be "life-changing." Suddenly an adult, she will be able to do her "own thing" and not worry about bossy parents. Lord help us all. I can't wait to see her face when she realizes that those overbearing parents have been paying the bills. Being grown up comes with "big girl" responsibilities.

My best friend is going to be 92 next week. Still beautiful, lively, loads of fun, she does not act her age. Of course, I am not so sure what "age" really means. When a 92- year-old enjoys life and celebrates a birthday but a 12-year-old fears becoming a teenager and a 50-year-old is depressed that "life is over," it is sort of a mixed-up situation. So maybe the "number" concept of age is all wrong. It's nothing more than a meaningless combination of numerals that holds a completely subjective value.

Birthdays? They are good to have, so let the parties begin! Whether it is fear, regret, hope, pure joy or terror at the new number we turn, birthdays are a reminder and blessing that we made it through another year. Mary and I will have a drink and make a toast to an "epic summer." Now that could be life-changing.

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local realtor who lives in Skull Valley. Have a story or a comment? Email Judy at judy@judybluhm.com.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, May 06, 2013
Article comment by: Reality Check

We humans track the passage of time in various ways adjusted to our culture. We could track our ages in seasons, lunar cycles, solar cycles or nearly any other repeatable method. Age tracked in years merely is a reflection of one way of knowing relatively how long we have been around. Without such a system, we would know only that we had been living for what seems a short or a long time and that we feel either healthy and fit or not. Our bodies change as we leave infancy, enter youth, become mature adults, and finally start the decline of old age. That progression is the cycle of life, normal, unalterable, and inevitable. Some of us pass through the stages rather rapidly, while others stay vital much longer. It is no big deal, really, and if it were there is nothing we can do to change it anyway. We simply need to do all that we can while we can and enjoy what we have to the fullest, hoping that we remain happy and vital and on our feet from the beginning and until the end.

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