Thursday, October 15, 2009

When I’m 64

My birthday is coming up. And I believe I’ll land somewhere between thirty-three and thirty-five.

I began reading Water for Elephants yesterday. Here are the opening lines to Chapter One:

“I am ninety. Or ninety-three. One or the other. When you’re five, you know your age down to the month. Even in your twenties you know how old you are. I’m twenty-three you say, or maybe twenty-seven. But then in your thirties something strange starts to happen. It’s a mere hiccup at first, an instant of hesitation. How old are you? Oh, I’m—you start to say confidently, but then you stop. You were going to say thirty-three, but you’re not. You’re thirty-five. And then you’re bothered, because you wonder if this is the beginning of the end. It is, of course, but it’s decades before you’ll admit it.”

Very well, then. I’m preparing to embrace the beginning of the end.

On another note, literary agent, Nathan Bransford is holding a first paragraph contest and it has surged thoughts in me about what I like and don’t like about first paragraphs. I’ve wanted to read Water for Elephants for years. And now I see why. Paragraphs like the one above make me want to take a bath with the book. Let me explain: When you are five you know your age down to the month, but you also get swept up in another world in the bathtub. I remember my people toys really getting into those fish and chips at the shop suctioned to the bath tile. When a bath is that good you don’t want to leave it. You don’t want to step out into the frigid air. I want to bathe with this book, I tell you (I’m not thinking my friend who let me borrow it would much appreciate that, however). But even after reading the first few pages, I’m lost in it and tucked in. It excites me to think of reading a page over and over, my mental equivalent of sopping soapy water over the bath toys in a LaLa Land of literary bubbles.

So, I may be getting old. We had family pictures taken last weekend and my crow’s feet decided to make a strong appearance. I may be getting old, but books…they are cleansing, age-defying and timeless. And they provide a nice distraction from thinking about the beginning of the end. Bath time! Who needs a rubber ducky anymore?

Two questions to choose from:
What age did you hit before you said, “I am getting old?” or what age will you hit before you say those words?

OR

What book has made you feel like a five-year-old kid in the bathtub, soaking up every word and drifting to another land altogether?

*photos by flickr
**and somehow it all connects: elephants have wrinkles, wrinkles come with age, and long baths produce…wrinkles. Here’s to wrinkles!

21 comments:

  1. Water for Elephants is on my bedside table now! I can't wait to start reading that one.

    And I understand the thought process. My husband and I have viewed life (and our bodies) so differently since we turned 30. Each age has a weight from now on, I think, a big bulk of stuff that didn't accompany any before.

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  2. I had kids...they made me feel old. There was no age needed there.

    But I suppose rounding 30 has me feeling like it's time to bring out the wrinkle cream.

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  3. Haha! Congrats on getting to read and awesome book! And happy upcoming birthday!

    I believe that old is a state of mind, because we all know people who look and act younger than their ages. However, it did give me pause when I realized "little kids" (who I remembered being born) were already grown, off to college, and getting married. Eek!!!

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  4. I'm at the front end of eternity, living eternal life now. I'll never be old! :D

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  5. I felt kind of old at 25 but I think 30 will be the first really old-feeling birthday. I love reading kids books, they make me feel young.

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  6. hmmm - I am only 25, and I feel pretty young. Maybe 40 will be the toughie for me -- or maybe I'll feel young forever! :)

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  7. When I was 16, I thought that 25 was old. But when I reached 25, I knew it wasn't.

    When I was 25, I thought 30 was old. But when I reached 30, I knew it wasn't.

    When I was 30, I thought 37 was old. But I turned 37 this year, and I know it's not.

    I fully expect this pattern to continue. :-)

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  8. Happy birthday. I've always felt aged before my time. It has more to do with circumstances forcing me to grow up early. My husband's given me permission to take the next decade off from birthdays, so I'll just have anniversaries. I'm coming up on the 1st anniversary of being 29.

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  9. I'm 39 and I'm thinking 40 is going to make me feel old. We'll see.

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  10. It is funny...I am totally comfortable with my age but highly NOT ok with the ages of my children. I pass thier birthdays and wonder "Where did the time GO???" I am 33 and proud of it...altho I can agree that the forgetfuls do cause me to say 32 because I think I missed something along the way.
    I read Ted Dekker's The Martyr's Song and I sat in the tub and devoured it...all. Amazing book.
    I entered that contest just now...before I could talk myself out of it. AAAUUUGGGHHH!!!
    :) Bina

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  11. Janna, I am thoroughly enjoying it. Ah, the 30's.

    Marybeth, wrinkle cream. Something I've not entertained buying yet. Secretly (now, not so secretly) I kind of like my wrinkles.

    Kristen, I second your Eek! People constantly ask me where I get my energy and I tell them, "wrinkle cream." :D

    Anne, that is most true! You are one of the most youthful people I've come across. You've heard of Live Strong...I say Live Young.

    Natalie, how true. Reading kids books does make me feel young, also.

    Lauren, I'm going with the Beatles and saying that 64 will be the age I finally break down and say it.

    Jennifer, if that isn't an article/blog post brewing than I don't know what is.

    Tara, ah, a decade off from birthdays, but I like birthday attention. I hear you on your first point.

    Susan, do tell! My mom always asks in jest the morning of my birthday if I feel any older.

    Bina, good for you for entering. I had too much other stuff I had to eat on my plate.


    Must say, I keep reading about Westbow and my thoughts are spinning. I know exactly how I feel on the issue, but I want you to guess! :D No, don't. And, I don't plan to share anytime soon. In the meanwhile, I plan to write and write and write and read that very cool book. I also plan to keep praying for God's plan.

    I hope you don't smack your spouse in bed if you toss and turn tonight. Or kick. I'm a kicker and I'm sure that's not fun. Oh, an idea just popped. I'll have to have my non-writing husband post something juicy about me sometime.

    Rest in God's loving care,
    ~ Wendy

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  12. I had that hiccup when I turned 31. I had heard of it, but never thought it would happen to me. I thought, "How can anyone ever forget their age?" Well, now I'm 25, oops 37, and as you can see, I still forget! On most days I feel 25, doesn't that count for anything?! :)

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  13. I must be precocious then, because I'm in my 20's and I forget how old I am all the time. People ask, and I literally have to ask my husband. I never remember. The other day, somebody asked, and I said, "Twenty-eight". And my husband said, "Aren't you twenty-seven?" I got all excited because I felt as if I'd gained a year. Kinda like how you wake up in the middle of the night, convinced your alarm clock is going to ring in fifteen minutes, and really it's only midnight, or one in the morning and you have several more blissful hours of sleep.

    Thanks for the five words!

    I'll leave you with an cliche: You're only as old as you feel!

    That might be a good thing, or a bad thing. I know somedays I feel quite old. :)

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  14. an cliche? Now there's some interesting grammar...

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  15. 25. For some reason, being a quarter of a century old did not sit well with me and it all has gone downhill since..... :O)

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  16. I'm thinking 40 will make me "feel" old, but who knows?!

    I remember spending some MAJOR time in the bathtub while reading the Twilight series...eek!

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  17. im 39 and just feeling that this year. The big 40 looming on the horizon ugh!

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  18. The first day of school,my 9 yr.old came home, and spoke about how crazy and fun her teacher was. I asked,is he young or old? She hestitated and then said, old. When I met him, I smiled. He's in his 40's. Perspective. The book Night gripped me, the power of the human spirit to survive....I thought of it for days

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  19. I already struggle with remembering how old I am, and I'm...26. I don't think I'm old, nor do I think my parents are old, so I think I have a ways to go (though the gray hairs on my head are telling me otherwise).

    A book that sucked me in like that that I've read recently is Bel Canto...beautiful!

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  20. Age is a matter of the mind. I am 63, yes I do forget how old I am when asked. I feel more like 30 but that mind deception is blown out of the water when I look in the mirror. Oh well, I am grateful for the years and looking forward to at least 30 more.
    Diane

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  21. I just had to come back and say, I snarfed Water for Elephants over the weekend. I plan to share about it Friday on my blog, and can't wait to see what you're thinking!

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