Today is my 41st birthday. I’ve reached an age at which the only people who consider me young are senior citizens. Conventional wisdom says I should be feeling at least a little down about this, about getting older in a society that prizes younger women. I’m not. I didn’t have a fit when I turned thirty, or thirty-five, or forty, so forty-one is no problem. Sure, there are things I miss about being younger, like not having to deal with a knee pain or wondering how soon all my skin is going to go crepey on me. For the most part, though, I like who I am now better than who I was when I was in my twenties. I’m braver and stronger, less likely to let fear of what other people might think keep me from doing something I want to try.
Yesterday I went to a fabric store that offers a 30% birthday discount and treated myself. It was a busy day in the shop, which meant several people were waiting to have their yardage cut while the clerk worked on my stacks of bolts. As is typical for quilters, we talked fabric. Someone mentioned a guild that had an “ugly fabric” challenge and during the discussion that followed, one of the women said of one of the fabrics I was buying, “I’m sorry, but that print comes about as close to my idea of ugly as anything could”. When I first started quilting, a comment like that would have made me question my choice of the dark yellow verging on bilious green fabric accented with small squares in shades of blue and purple. But now I’m confident enough that I just smiled and said, “I can see that, but I really like it with this print” and held it up next to my splurge of the day, a print from Japan with that same yellow green combined with purples and reds and other hues. I bought them both without a second thought.
I was not one of those brash, fearless kids who’d try anything. I was a careful, cautious, reserved child, always trying to do the exact right thing. I’ve loosened up a lot as I’ve grown older, and that’s a very good thing. Maybe I’ll get really wild when I’m retired and make everyone wonder.
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