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My View: Milestone birthday is cause for reflection

By Peg Cushman

It’s official: I have now entered “The Twilight Zone.” Scratch that, I mean my twilight years, the beginning of my seventh decade. After several tries, I am now able to admit I’m 60, and feel extremely privileged because many people don’t reach this age.

I have experienced many changes over the last 10 years and I have some questions. I don’t mean to upset anyone, especially people in the South, but I really feel ancient when someone calls me ma’am. I know it’s a sign of respect, but it hurts my feelings.

My new hairdos have quickly become “hair don’ts.” I can never re-create what my hair dresser does. She has tried to teach me the proper way to blow dry my hair, but until I become an octopus with eight arms, I probably will never be able to accomplish the desired look. I feel great when I leave the salon, but I won’t feel that high until the next time.

Since we are on the subject of feeling high, I remember back in the day, the sweet, pungent smell of marijuana. Now, when I get a sniff of it at concerts, it smells like a skunk. What happened?

My husband, Mike, and I still attend concerts, but instead of standing the entire time, we now sit. There was one exception. In July at Canalside, we stood up front for the Tea Party concert in Buffalo. Talk about feeling like a teenager. This rock group from Toronto not only wished me a happy birthday, but also sent a picture of Jeff Martin, the lead singer, that morning.

We lost our hearing for five days. What’s that you ask? Hearing has become an obstacle, although I’m sure some of mine may be a bit selective.

My forgetfulness continues, but I’m not alarmed yet. Someone will eventually remind me and all will be well.

On a good day, when I begin the day by either walking or riding my bike, I feel like I’m still 20. A few years back, while on my morning walk, I was given a nasty look and yelled at by a school bus driver who was waiting at the corner, because I was poking along. I said, “Sorry, I’ve been out of school for 30-plus years and don’t need a ride!”

This summer, my youngest son invited me to go kayaking. I was wobbly at first, but with Will’s patience, he taught me in a matter of minutes and off we went to explore. What a peaceful, wonderful way to spend an afternoon.

It is said that makeup is the great concealer, but I feel more like a clown after I apply it. It seems as though it accentuates my flaws; or is it just the lighting? One thing I really like is fake eye lashes, even though they feel like caterpillars dancing on my eyelids. I wore them at my oldest son’s wedding a year ago and felt fabulous. No one recognized me because I was so glamorous.

I once read that when women reach a certain age, they become invisible. Well, that’s not going to happen with my bad hair days and ridiculous makeup.

At this point in life, I prefer the presence of my family and friends rather than presents – except for maybe chocolate. Besides, it’s much more fun to give.

I have really toughened up over the years, but find that I am now much more sensitive to animal abuse. I cry when I see pictures or hear of mistreatment of innocent animals.

My goal is to continue to learn new things, stay positive and make the most of the time I have left. I’m now beyond middle age and my days are limited. As the old adage states, “And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”

Peg Cushman, who lives in Niagara Falls, intends to use her remaining time in this life wisely.
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