Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: birthday (05/23/05)
TITLE: I've Made Friends With The Fifties
By Venice Kichura
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One of the darkest and loneliness days of my life was the day I turned half a century old. It was a foggy, dreary fall day, in 1999, in a strange new town in southern New England, which had been my new home for less than two months. Feeling lost and all alone, I had lived in the Sunshine State, for more than 28 years, and really didn’t have a choice when my husband’s job had moved us 1300 miles north to this dismal place. I thought of how the hurricane season was finally ending, back home in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, and how my friends could, at last, turn off their air conditioners, open up their windows and enjoy gentle breezes flowing through their homes. And, here I sat, freezing in my robe, looking out a dark storm window at 4:45 p.m.
I was amazed how it looked like midnight and yet, the mailman still hadn’t driven down our street. Did I even want to get the mail? I’m sure no one has remembered my birthday now that I’m gone, I mused, continuing to drown in self-pity. To add to my gloom, my husband had flown back to Florida, today, for a business trip. I was jealous and wanted to be back there myself, hanging out with my friends.
Popping a TV dinner into the microwave, I reminisced how my Florida friends and I used to get together for our birthday lunches. It was our girl time. Not only were we best friends, but prayer partners, supporting each other through life’s trials.
Now I had to find new friends. However, I felt like the grandmother of our street. Our neighborhood was behind an elementary school and was populated by young, working couples with small children. While the other women were chasing their toddlers down the street, I was walking my “baby,” a 70-lb. boxer we called “Hercules“. Back home in the state with the motto, “Let me tell you about my grandkids!” I was the “baby” of my group of friends, which I enjoyed, because it made me feel younger. Now I was that old lady on the block.
One pint-sized l neighbor, a five-year-old cutie l had in the kindergarten class where I substituted yesterday, reinforced my low self- image when she took my wrinkly hand on the playground and asked me, “Mrs. K, are you old?“ And then there was the greeting I received as I walked into the second grade class for my first job in this new school district as a substitute, last week. “Whose grandma are you? a freckled-face little boy had asked, innocently.
I was relieved when I woke up the next day and could put my miserable 50th birthday behind me. Or, maybe I was just recovering from the shock of being fifty years old.
Since then, five more birthdays have come and gone here in Connecticut, and, I’ve had other opportunities to take offense about my age, such as the time when the grocery clerk automatically gave me a senior discount. However, now I just laugh off these incidents. In fact, I’m feeling much better about being in my fifties. I just have to walk through my neighborhood and overhead some of the hassles the young mothers have with their children and I’m thankful I’m past that stage.
And, I’ve finally made some good friends, including some women younger than myself. In fact, this Friday, I’m taking one of those friends to lunch for her birthday. And, amazingly, I’ve also made friend with the “fifties“. It’s really not that bad. In fact, I wouldn’t go back in time and trade lives with any of the younger women on my street.
More importantly, I can take comfort in the promise of the scripture found in 2 Corinthians 4:16 that reminds me that, “…though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. (NIV)
If you’re in Christ, it just gets better. You’re just getting that much closer to spending eternity with Him.
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