The gift that keeps giving

My husband wanted to get me a real birthday present this year, he really did. Because he gets nervous doing it on his own, he dangled all kinds of nice ideas. Jewelry even. I guess he still remembers how I reacted the year he got a new TV for our bedroom and tried to pass it off as a gift.

So he really tried. And what did I do?

I told him I’d rather have some moles removed. OK, let me re-state. I’d rather go to town at the dermatologist. Let them sand down, burn off, chemical peel, whatever it is they had to do to make me smoother and fresher without that gnawing guilt that I was being self-indulgent. This was my birthday present, after all! It would be rude to feel guilty.

So I went to the dermatologist and told him to hack off whatever protrusion he happened to see,  a request I think may have put him off a bit having used the word “hack” and all. Plus, I could tell he thought I was crazy since my protrusions apparently are only visible in my magnified makeup mirror. I got that impression when he told me that all women needed to throw out their magnified makeup mirrors.

So now, of course, me being me, I’m starting to have second thoughts. Not about the hacking necessarily. The two scabs on my face are healing nicely and people only stare a little. But if the sanding doesn’t take and the little bumps grow back, can I still get a real present? I’m just wondering.

I’m also wondering how I feel about turning 49.

At some point, it becomes customary to start getting birthday cards with cartoon drawings of crazy old women with humorous comments about your age. When you’re 32, this is funny. When you’re 49, the cartoons start resembling you in real life.

I think this is about the time when it starts becoming customary to be sad on birthdays even when there is really no earthly reason to be.

At 49, with a family and a job and a half I love, I should be ashamed of myself for feeling sad about anything other than maybe the prospects of getting a new photo for my now-expired drivers license, which I actually really liked for the first time in my life.

Still, it’s weird. I mean, 49? Next year, 49 will sound great. Next year, I will long for 49. This year, all I can think about is 50, which is really unfair. It’s all about 50.

I have all year to try it on, get used to it, throw it out there just to see if people react in shock and amazement that the woman standing before them with a smooth complexion could possibly be almost 50. I have already started trying that and I don’t get much, but I may have to do it with people around my same age, a more sympathetic audience.

I keep thinking about how gloriously happy Oprah was when she was 50. But, I mean, come on.

And though I am extremely thankful about being in good health – that’s another sign of being old – I do wonder whatever happened to those endorphins, if maybe they got lost when I switched classes at the ‘Y,’ because the only sensation I feel now is the desire to have a masseuse meet me afterward on my exercise mat.

But all that said, things are good. Really. I’m happy. No regrets.

Well, except maybe the realization that I now have to go get my new drivers license photo with two scabs on my face.

7 Responses to “The gift that keeps giving”

  1. Tracy

    So funny how this birthday (49) makes one think of one’s appearance. I got my teeth whitened! To be honest, I think I am the only one who can tell the difference, and even so – it’s not very noticeable. Happy Birthday!

  2. joseph

    Welcome back to Missy’s Blog! I missed you and you were my “cup o’coffee” that most people start the morning off drinking. I was logy and slow moving for lo these many moons while you were gone, but now here in “hotsville” (still in the 100’s), your new presence will light my fire in the morning…only if you keep it going. With love, Jody

  3. Teresa

    Hi Melissa,

    I hope you’re well! I am in need of an emcee for the Lake County Memory Walk this Saturday at Independence Grove due to a cancellation. Is there any way that you might be interested and able to attend? I would need you to be on site by 8:30-8:45 am. The opening ceremony takes place at 9:15 am, Walk starts at 9:30 am. Closing ceremony is at 10:45-11:00 am. Wrapped up by 11:15-11:30 am. Please let me know at your earliest convenience. Thanks!


  4. Gail

    Happy Birthday, Missy!

    Oh, yeahhhh… I can relate. I saw a piece of jewelry yesterday and when salesperson asked if I had a birthday coming up for boyfriend to buy, I said “yes, but I don’t know if *that’s* what I want from him” (I’ll be 47). I laughed and nodded in agreement with your post. Make it a happy and healthy year!

  5. Don

    You know the old saying: 49 is the new 39. I recently had a mole removed from my face. The scab hasn’t fallen off yet. No problem. One of our North Shore seniors just turned 100, and he had his drivers license renewed. Glad to hear life is good.

  6. Fran Prue

    Happy Birthday Melissa! You do not look 49 at all. Maybe 39. Oh it is not so bad getting older. Like I use to hear, if you think and keep active the age you will not feel. The best years are way ahead of you. The deal with the TV as a gift I did some of those things in the past.
    Good reading again we missed you.

    Happy Birthday and many more.


  7. Yvette

    Glad you are back…Happy Birthday…and 49/50 is a cinch!!! Enjoy! Fondly, Yvette
    p.s. Think you are owed another birthday present beside dermatology appt.


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