You don't see many photographs in the newspaper these days of the celebration of a birthday, unless the celebrated one is 100 years old. We can't imagine ourselves getting to that point in life where someone else takes care of us and all we do is sit and watch TV. Too weak and weary. Enjoying fewer interests. Sitting and sleeping.
I have reminded my dentist, doctor, and opthlamologist that I plan to live to be 140 years old. They will have to resist retiring because I don't want new doctors at my age. I turned over the birthday leaves 82 times now. Do I want to be weak and weary, enjoying few interests, sit and watch TV all day? Absolutely not. I have chosen 140 as a far-reaching goal in which to keep myself healthy, learning, participating, and keeping in touch with my friends. I refuse to say "I'm ready for the Lord to take me."
My birthdays are spent being remembered by a few close friends who continue to send cards I cherish and my children finding something hand-made or a book to read. I now own a lovely hand-made frame holding a relaxed family in our front yard. No perfume, no night out on the town, no elaborate gifts of any sort.
Because I was reared in a frugal household, Mother always saw my sister and I had a new dress, or shoes, or socks. We didn't ask for expensive items. However, Mother's job as backstage manager for Merrill, Lynch Stockbrokers allowed her to earn a good salary when we were teens, She gave us small gifts we called "happies." When the Disney movie was shown in the theaters, one of the songs had a line, "We wish you a very happy unbirthday, to you, to you". And we began to call those happies, our unbirthday gifts.
I don't want to be 110 before I pass on. I won't be able to accomplish what I'm doing now. I'll find some reason to sit in a comfy chair and read or watch a movie on some new-fangled electronics, which I will try to understand the mechanics. No one will call me because I'll be so deaf I'll have to have a chalk board hanging around my neck for communication. I won't be able to eat out with friends because I'll be drinking only Ensure. The kids won't be able to stay around me long.
I've painted a dark side of my later life. There will be no dark side. I have too many friends and sweet-loving kids to help me avoid being nothing but bright.