Upon arriving at her 70th birthday dinner this past weekend, my Mom ordered a Ketel One on the rocks from the waitress who smiled at her and then turned to me:

“I’ll have what she’s having.”

If only I could stomach the vodka, I’d do the same.  At 70 years old, my Mom looks better than most women half her age.

It has been said that 70 is the new 60… or 50 … or (in Mom’s case) 40.  In most instances this reality bodes well for the rest of us further back on life’s path. Our once guaranteed destiny as the white-haired, incontinent, liver-spotted old granny who is hard of hearing, slow on the uptake, and clad in a flowery housedress is no longer a “fait accompli.”  In fact, these creatures are a dying breed.  (Bad pun, I admit.)   Today’s 70 year olds (if my parents and my in-laws are any example) can outsmart AND outrun their own children.  In so many ways, this is a wonderful thing BUT… it also raises the bar considerably as our role models are actually living life at a level that doesn’t come easy.

Indeed, when I turn seventy, I want to look and feel just like my mother and mother-in-law.  But I’m now wondering how much work it will take to get there.

These women – these crazy 70 year old super chicks – work out almost every day.  They are at peace with their lives and choices they have made.  They appear to harbor few grudges and no regrets.  They make themselves completely available when you need them.  Their hair always looks good, their nails never break, and their makeup is perfectly applied.  They tolerate love our kids and love tolerate our dogs.  They are very, very busy doing things they really like to do.  They surf the Internet, but are far too classy for Facebook.  They smell good – all the time.

At age 42, I am incapable of all of these things on a regular basis.  I am reasonably certain that my mother can outpace me on the treadmill, finish a crossword puzzle faster, and hold her liquor far better.   Does that make 40 the new 70?  Do we really improve with age?  Because I have a LONG way to go to achieve the level of beauty and grace that is displayed every day by these women.   I’m hoping that in 30 years, 80 will be the new 40 because frankly I’m going to need the extra decade to pull my shit together.

At Mom’s birthday celebration, the tables were arranged like a donut with a big hole in the center.  Early in the evening, we began encouraging the grandkids to crawl under the table and pop up in front of Mom to wish her a happy birthday.  One by one, they got down on their hands and knees and did the deed to a round of applause. After the fourth fifth tenth time, the “trick” lost its luster and we stopped clapping.

Until my Mom did it.

I have 9,827 training days left until my 70th birthday.  I better get cracking.

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