A Call to Arms

00:00 October 14, 2013
By: Debbie Lindsey

 For my birthday, all I want are Michelle Obama arms. This is not a partisan thing – she could be a Republican and I would still say, “Now those are arms that never shy away from sleeveless blouses.” Unfortunately mine look more like Minnie Pearl’s. Still, this has become my goal. 

A year ago I realized that my next birthday, the one just around the corner, would be the number that just might freak the bejesus out of me. Heck, I panicked when my sister entered her sixth decade. How in the world could my sister be that old? Yet in a sense I have been vicariously living this age thanks to Boyfriend. We are not joined at the hip but face it, you don’t love someone and share a life with that person without being in his shoes at times. And although those shoes are a little bit older than mine are they strut better than most twenty-somethings. He gives me hope for my impending birthday. But god almighty when did this happen?

All of a sudden time has begun to fly by; just as things are starting to be really great. I have tried everything to slow down time – but nothing works. And now this, the big 6 – 0. Well, I knew it would happen. So when last year at age fifty-nine I decided I needed some muscle to take on this challenge I started channeling Michelle’s biceps. 

Sixty is the new twenty – for me at least. I intend to own this. Senior, my ass, I might call myself an old fart but if you even think about calling me Miss Debbie or offer me a senior discount I will eat you for lunch. The word senior just sounds so damn PC, condescending, emotionally pampering. Boyfriend will gleefully present his “geezer” card (driver’s license) and state that he is eligible for the “geezer” discount but the senior word better never enter the dialogue. 

I have always wanted to beat folks to the punch-line. I can and will joke all day long about my old fartism and the atrophying, graying, sagging, dragging and all around joys of this particular period of time. But don’t join in unless you belong to this club.

I take great pleasure in knowing that I am in good company as a member of this power block of our population. Hillary Clinton is older than me and just might become the next most powerful leader in the world. She ain’t no Betty White but she’s pretty tough. Clint Eastwood, Nancy Peloski, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Crystal, Mick Jagger, Stephen King, Jimmy Carter, Queen Elizabeth and there so many more movers and shakers over sixty that continue to make this world a bit more interesting. 

Birthdays, they are nothing more than just another day, a single little twenty-four hours. Still, all those small portions, those daily dosages of time, gather speed and you reach a number like – sixty. So yeah, birthdays are big stuff. 

And anyone who says otherwise and makes a big secret about their birth date usually ends up feeling a bit blue when no one remembers. Let folks know and also be frank about how you wish to celebrate. Like NO SURPRISE PARTIES OR MALE STRIPPERS. Nothing could be worse than trying to unlock the front door with a full bladder and an arm laden with groceries and being greeted by a room teeming with people (a giant home invasion with party hats?) screaming “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!” as you pee on yourself, drop your Rouses bag, and hear that bottle of wine shatter. 

I have long since lost interest in parties. I was the party girl and may be again one day but for now I’d really just rather treat myself to a day of small indulgences. Lunching al fresco at the taco truck in front of Home Depot, then some Angelo Brocato’s gelato guilt, and later milking a few friends at Liuzza’s for a couple of beers – this is my idea of a great day! Maybe even a Netflix binge that evening with the slightly pretentious bottle of wine I didn’t drop.

Now, back to my quest to create biceps that Ms. Obama would be proud to have inspired. Did you know that the human body can continue to muscle and buff to a ripe old age (I’m talkin’ 90’s and beyond). Certainly, age diminishes muscle, a process that actually begins in our thirties, but I suspect complacency and laziness take most of us down before Mother Nature gets in her licks. So let’s not make the excuse that we’re too old or that those who do look super toned and fit owe it to genetics, money or a personal trainer. Determination is the secret weapon – just look at Diana Nyad. That swim from Cuba to Key West took spunk, hard work and resolve. 

New Year’s Day, like birthdays, is just another twenty-four hours, but I need the symbolic gesture of these days. Both wake me up to things I have overlooked, goals and dreams I wish to reach. However, I tend to give more regard to that date circled on my November calendar – it belongs to me. For some time now, long before my reflection began to cause panic and mortality started to bully me, I have tried to approach my b-day on my own terms and therefore set the course for the year to follow. Don’t let a birthday catch you off guard. I will face this one with humor and stare down those wrinkles. And I want the strength to accomplish more than I ever thought myself capable of and for this I need my Michelle Obama arms!

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