I’ve been thinking a lot about getting old lately.
Maybe it’s because I just had a birthday. Maybe it’s because I was just at my grandmother’s 90th birthday. Or maybe it’s because Dan and I went to see the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel last weekend.
My grandmother is quite a character and I wish you all could meet her. She’s a hardcore conservative, ravenous Fox News-watcher, and a god-fearing Catholic. (After my dad divorced my first wife, his parents purchased him a retreat weekend. My dad arrived, unpacked his bags, went to the first meeting, and realized that the topic of the weekend was ‘A life of celibacy.’ Cause, you know, divorce is a sin or whatever. Dad promptly packed his bags and left.) And while my political/social views could not be more opposite, Grandma Ernie is one of my heroes.
|My adorable family with Grandma Ernie|
Her greeting is positively the best: “Oh my Sky! My beeeaaautiful granddaughter.”
She’s had the same couch for probably 35 years.
She managed several apartment buildings single-handedly well into her eighties.
She issued a groan of joy upon receiving our gift–a simple calendar with all of the family birthdays written in. It was the kind of genuine over-the-moon disbelief-sound most people reserve for things like a new car.
Grandma’s tough, stubborn, frugal, she prays every morning and every night, and sincerely overflows with love. For her, it’s all about family.
And there we were–all her sons and their children and our spouses in one room for the first time in many many years. “This is the best birthday I’ve ever had,” she said.
|The Hornig Clan|
I guess when I think about getting old I can only hope that’s how it goes. I’m all filled up the brim on my 90th birthday thinking ‘it just doesn’t get any better than this.’
I know it sounds crazy (and probably a little bit stupid) but I don’t think I really realized I would get old until I turned 30. I mean I knew I would get old, but I didn’t really believe it. It kind of crashed down on me like a tidal wave.
It’s partially why I wanted to see The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel–a movie about seven Brits who make their way to India for retirement. The film is superbly acted (can’t go wrong with Judy Dench, Bill Nighy or Maggie Smith), heartwarming, a feast for the eyes, and funny. There are nuggets of wisdom throughout. My favorite perhaps is when a crotchety lady asks one of her comrades how he ‘can bear India.’ What does he see that she doesn’t.
“People here see life as a privilege, not a right. I think I can learn something from that.”
I’ve been having totally unreasonable panic attacks that my life is over. That whatever I haven’t already done I will never do. Yes, I know- crazy talk. But I guess I’m saying I appreciated the stories of these older folks and the little lessons…that our lives are constantly evolving, that adventures lie in hidden corners, that is never too late to do something, or to change your life or your self.
|How’d I land such a cute guy? I shall never know…|
Turning 31 was sweet. It was so far from my 30th birthday with oodles of friends camping out on the coast of California, and getting drunk enough to plant my ass on a styrofoam cooler around midnight, (true story). It was cake with my nieces and nephew. A long, fancy dinner with my husband. Shopping with Mom at Target. And toasting my grandmother on her 90th.
|My sweet nephew and niece! Georgia and Will|
So the world turns and on we go.