There are worse things than getting old

Jim Sitterly: Guest columnist

Having birthdays seems to be a topic that I have found amusing over the years.
When we are adolescents, one thing we want more than anything is to be a grownup. Of course at that age, grownup is any age older than we are. This makes us excited for birthdays.
When we become teens, we want to be older so we can do things the law prohibits at our age. We want to leave home and get out in the world where we can drink, drive, get married, stay out late … or should I say come home early. We all want to be 21 — or as old as the fake IDs claim.
When we are over 21 and have the responsibilities that come with being of age, the aging process slows down, or so we think. But as we know, time marches on.
Although 30 comes and goes, most of the time we don’t think twice about it. It isn’t because we don’t care, but we are so busy trying to raise children and make a better living, time just flies past like a shot from a gun.
Then life as we know it ends and 40 is within our sights.
Raising the children is either over or will be soon. We hate 40 for reasons that are private and individual.
To make things worse, our friends twit us about getting old. At that moment a decision is made to age no more. We make an announcement: “I am not having any more birthdays.”
In my mother’s case, she and Jack Bennie were forever 39.
Hating birthdays only seems to happen every 10 years from that point on. We age, but no one notices until 50, 60, 70 etc.
Thus after years of observation, I realize people hate birthdays and getting older. There is however an event or events in a person’s life that reverses this hating of birthdays — a life-threatening event such as an accident or illness.
In my case, it was bypass surgery and cancer. Now every birthday makes me happy.
When my birthday comes, I thank God for another year and hope to reach another. When you have your next birthday, think of me and my birthdays on April 29.
Remember, there are far worse things than getting older. Especially getting old.
Stay young and happy for each moment you are allowed on this Earth. Stop hating getting old and rejoice in the fact you are still alive.

Jim Sitterly is a member of Project: Reader Reaction. He wrote this column in response to a call for opinions on any topic. Contact him at P.O. Box 1787, Clovis 88101.