It’s My Party

It’s My Party
…and I’ll Cry If I Want To. My birthday looms and Lesley Gore sings her party song’s opening phrase in my head, on repeat. If you don’t know the song, you’re clearly not a boomer. Ask your best friend Alexa to play it for you.
I sing right back to her “It’s my party and I’ll nap if I want to” as I face one of the birthday biggies. Really big. Well, it’s not 100, so maybe not that big.
When I turned thirteen, I looked in the mirror to see if I looked like a teenager; a pretty one with maybe the start of a shape. No luck. I still looked twelve.
Now I look in the mirror to see if I look like any of those women who get fabulous facelifts and who wear wrinkle cream that works. I got the answer from my grandson who recently told me, “You have lots of wrinkles Mema. Lots.” That sums it up.
Since my outside beauty has reached the point of no return, I’m cranking up the work on my inside beauty. Here’s my progress:
If I’m going to be beautiful inside, I need to eat food that will do some inside cleaning. My grocery goal is to get to the cash register with only healthy food. No cartons of ice-cream, sugared cereals, or cookies. Well maybe chocolate. You know the stuff I’m talking about. I’m working on it but haven’t made it yet. Maybe this birthday lets me off the hook. If I can’t enjoy some sugar now, when can I?
My fashion goal is to frill the frump, without embarrassing my children. My closet is filled with boring black and blasé beige with shelves of flats. Time for some color, a heal or two, and maybe one of those red-carpet kinds of dresses at the next family wedding. I’ll have to forget worrying about embarrassing my children. So I’m working on my closet, but I’m not ready to give up my Chico tunics.
Uh-oh, I veered back to the outside stuff. Back to the inside. Since retirement, I’m increasingly judgmental and just a tad grumpy. “Why do commentators talk so fast you can’t understand them? Why do I hear so many four-letter words? Why are most movies R-Rated? Whatever happened to deferred gratification? And for heaven sakes, why does my i-phone update so often?” I hear echoes of my old aunts. The ones I vowed I’d never be like. I’ve got a long way to go on my positivity. The good part of a really big birthday is that it reminds you that time’s-a-ticking. If I’m going to be positive, today’s the day. Not a negative word will come out of my mouth. Well, maybe one. Okay, two.
I keep wanting to be perfect. I’ve finally realized, it ain’t going to happen! Maybe being beautiful on the inside is simply being Wabi-Sabi:
perfectly imperfect. And Yes! I am a proud baby-boomer and I refuse to be invisible. I’ll shout as long as I’ve got a voice to shout. I’ll laugh as long as I have the breath to laugh.
So, Lesley Gore, it is my party and I’ll cry if I want to…but I don’t want to and I won’t. I’m quite happy with my wrinkles, my chocolate cookies, and unfrilled frump. I’m saying yes to the dress, to the late-night invitation, to pranks on my grandchildren, to games of Boggle, and the party of life.
There’s a new generation and more than a few robots taking over the world and that’s okay. I’m enjoying the thrill of each morning that the sun comes up and gives me another chance to be wabi-sabi.

Jane Bailey lives in Litchfield and enjoys writing about matters of the heart. For more of her work see