Thursday, June 9, 2011

Thinking about forty

People sometimes get all worked up about twenty and thirty, but I think we can all agree forty is quite the milestone.  It's ever present in my life, because my high school class is all going through it at the same time.  Facebook makes that fact ever present.  I think that's great.  I don't feel so bad, because we are all in the same boat.  It's allowed me to make it a bit of fun, too.

When I was a senior in high school (still sweet seventeen) myself and the three other girls who were seniors in the show choir got wind of the fact that our music teacher was turning forty.  We got the date, which, I believe was a Monday.  We made a plan.  We got the band teacher in on it.  We gathered our forty decorating supplies and waited in the school parking lot the night before.  Our band teacher arrived and let us in the music room.  We filled the office with black streamers and black balloons and signs all over the room proclaiming his age to the whole world.  One of my sneaky friends had ordered a "dead bouquet" which was black roses with a stuffed bird hanging upside down on a limb (get it? dead bird).

The next day, we made sure we were by the music room bright and early.  He was quite surprised.  He took it in stride.  Then we were gathered for our show choir class during the lunch hour period.  The bouquet arrived.  He was flustered, but appreciative.  We 17 and 18 year olds thought we were so clever.

Now, here we are 22 years later.  Um, now we know what forty feels like.  Some of us take it in stride.  Some of us are hesitant about this number.  Some of us are ready to celebrate this milestone like crazy.  I cooked up a plan with two of the three others.  We found our own "dead bouquet" (which are very hard to find now, I was disappointed, but mine came from Gifts for Geezers, whew!) and we all pitched in and sent it to our first victim who turned forty on New Year's Day.  She was a bit hesitant about the number, but appreciated the bouquet and told her husband the story of making our music teacher's wonderland of forty decorating.  It made her smile.  Two more have had their birthdays.  Lucky me! I'm the one left.  I'm expecting nothing less than the "dead bouquet."

I'm all about that quote:
Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, champagne in one hand - strawberries in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming: WOO HOO, WHAT A RIDE!

I am looking at the number 40 and thinking, dang, I have a whole lot more I can do and accomplish and it doesn't have to be professional.  I need to get a tattoo.  I need to ride RAGBRAI.  I need to spend more time decompressing and enjoying my family and friends. I need to spend more time on writing and working on PUBLISHING, even if it starts with just a magazine.  I need to save for my quilt/tea shop, so I can open one (hey, I don't have any plans for my 50 decade yet).  I need to get more involved in my community, state, and nation, because professional politicians are not getting the job done, and if I don't do it, who will?

I am hitting this decade running and I hope to leave it proud.

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