Yep. Today is the day I turn seventy. How the heck did that happen so fast?
They say age is just a number, but I find that particular number a little sobering: both parents and two of my alloted four grandparents passed away in their seventh decade. What's even more sobering is that they seemed so much older than I think I am now. Sometimes I wish I could view myself through a younger person's eyes, although that perspective could be as skewed as my own, only in the opposite direction. (I remember clearly how old thirty seemed when I was seventeen: Over. The. Hill.)
I feel better than I did ten years ago. That's a good sign, don't you think? I'm thinner, more agile, and have more stamina than I did then. I'm eating healthier foods, seeing my doctors on a regular schedule, and taking medications as prescribed--fewer medications these days, in fact. And I have good intentions about exercising more.
Nevertheless, I recognize the signs of wear and tear on my body. Neither my eyesight nor my hearing is as keen as it was ten years ago. Come to think of it, my nose isn't as sensitive, either. Or my taste buds. As for my skin, at some point it apparently assessed its long-term career of holding my body together, then muttered "Whatever!" and turned loose. Yesterday my daughter was taking my picture and asked me to stop squinting. I wasn't squinting; my eyelids are droopy. My brows are going all Andy Rooney on me, too. The individual hairs are springy (the only perky body parts left). They grow out in random directions, making it difficult to tweeze them into narrow, feminine arches. And, speaking of random directions, one of my teeth has kicked out slightly in front of the others, and a few of my fingers and toes no longer line up with the precision of the good soldiers they used to be.
It's also possible that my brain function may have declined a little bit. Words and names seem to slip away more frequently than they used to, though they still pop right back into my head shortly after I force myself to stop grasping for them. I don't honestly know whether that actually happens more often than it used to or if I'm just noticing those incidents more. I am paying closer attention. In fact I've become hyper-vigilant about signs of memory loss, as if I want to make sure I'm the first one to know if I start losing it.
Last night my uncle called from Minneapolis. In the course of wishing me a happy birthday, he said he's read that seventy is the new fifty. He's seven years older than I am, so he probably wants to believe that even more than I do. I told him my plan is to keep myself in good enough shape to at least outlive my two dogs, Levi and Gimpy. They're slightly over two now, so that could be doable.
We all know plans are subject to change, but I thought it wouldn't hurt to mention that timeline, just in case God is open to suggestions. I think I'll proceed under the assumption that He is. It'll make me happier about stepping over the threshold into my seventies.