I’m well aware of the fact that I’m not young. Or even middle aged. (Although I refuse to change the name of this blog to “Fumbling Through My Final Years.”) I’ve reached the point in my life where everything on my body that could possibly go south has done so. Not only has it been decades since I’ve had to show my ID to purchase alcohol, but when I buy a bottle of wine at the self-check out lane and the screen instructs me to show a valid ID to the nearest checker, I simply wait until they look at me. The clerk always approves my purchase with a speed that is almost insulting. Especially since I wear a face mask at the store, which I had (mistakenly) believed hid most of my wrinkles.
I often spot toys from my childhood at antique stores, along with other assorted items that were featured in the houses I grew up in. If I want to confuse a member of the younger generation, I just use terms they’ve never heard of, like party-line telephones, penny candy, house dresses, Hi-Fi stereos, etc. And most telling of all, I’ve reached the age where I consider “the younger generation” to be anyone who is at least ten years younger than me. If that isn’t a sign of old age, I don’t know what is.
But like most people who find themselves on the wrong side of fifty, I tend to feel much younger than my actual age. Not physically, of course, because in that way I actually do feel every single one of my sixty-two years, but mentally. Because on the inside, I’m basically the same person I’ve always been….just a little more experienced, if not actually wiser.
Which probably explains why, every once in a while, I don’t “act my age.” And the holidays are a perfect example of one of those times. I’ve always loved Christmas, and all of the decorating, baking, gift-giving and general cheerful chaos that it brings. My holiday decorations have long since passed the tasteful stage, and now look mostly as if the Christmas department at Sears exploded in my living room. And the basement family room is where I put out the truly tacky stuff…..
But if there’s one advantage of growing older, it’s that we sometimes have the ability to indulge our inner child, and that’s what I do each year at Christmas. I bake all of my favorite cookies, even if some of them grow stale before they can be eaten. I put up two big trees instead of one, just because I like them. I buy gifts for the people I love and then wrap them, because that’s so much more fun that just shoving them into a gift bag. I donate to toy drives and food banks because sharing with those who need it makes me happy. And every year I display a few special decorations that were gifts from loved ones who are gone, because the memories they invoke make the holidays even more special.
I’ve heard it said that Christmas is for children, and that may be true. But there’s still a child in each of us, and personally, I believe that Christmas is the perfect time to invite that child to come out and play.