Let’s Talk with Diane A.S Stuckart

PICKING UP SPEED…
by Diane A.S. Stuckart

Today (January 28) is my birthday! No, I’m not going to tell you how old I am, although I’ll admit to being perilously close to a “milestone” celebration. While I’m not one who ignores birthdays—heck, I never pass up a chance to eat cake!—as each year passes I’m less likely to check the numbers. In fact, sometimes I must do an actual count on my fingers to figure out how old I am. And it’s a shock each time to realize I am that age, rather than the far younger and cooler image of myself that I carry about in my head.

Of course, there are advantages to getting older. For one thing, you get to use phrases like “back in my day” and “you whippersnapper, you” while you yell at younger folks to get off your lawn. And then there’s the gratification of seeing the surprised looks from said whippersnappers when you do something unexpected for your age bracket. (This accompanied by your retorting, “Not bad for a *mumble-mumble*-year-old lady, huh?”). People even start seeking your opinion on issues simply because you are older and, presumably, wiser.

But there are drawbacks. The wrinkles and gray hair creep in, the body starts to hurt, and you can’t easily lift a bale of hay or bag of feed anymore (okay, it’s been thirty years since I hauled either, but you get what I mean). Worse, the promise that is the future no longer looms quite as brightly ahead of you. Time has pulled a fast one and gone rather dim. Where you once had sixty or forty or thirty years remaining in which to accomplish your goals, you’re down to maybe ten or twenty years if you’re lucky…and less if you are not. Only a few more birthdays left for you to cram in all those things still to be done.

But there is a bright side. The cartoonist Charles Schulz famously said, “Just remember, once you’re over the hill you begin to pick up speed.” The implication being that faster is better…or, at least, the best way to get more done while on that downhill slide. For me, the quote always calls to mind the roller rink birthday parties I used to attend in grade school.

Our old-fashioned roller skate wheels clashed against the concrete surface as we circled the rink, the Sixties hits playing full blast over the loudspeakers. And as we skated, we didn’t worry about tripping or falling or that the music would end too soon. Instead, we went faster and faster and faster, grinning and shouting and picking up speed.

And that’s just what the older me intends to do, for this birthday and all the ones still to come. I’m going to pick up speed.

In honor of my birthday, YOU are getting the present. Comment on this post by 1/31 for a chance to win a trade-sized paperback of FOOL’S MOON (US folks only).  So, do you dread birthdays or welcome them? And do you have a favorite birthday memory?

ALSO, while you’re here, enter our Super-Duper Seven Book Giveaway for our anniversary! Yes, we’re celebrating eight years of Booklover’s Bench with a seven book giveaway. One commentor (US only for print books) wins seven new books to read! The contest runs from February 1-18. Don’t delay—enter today! CLICK HERE TO ENTER.

Comments

  1. Coming in late to wish you a happy birthday, Diane. All of a sudden it’s Saturday, and I don’t know what happened to Thursday and Friday! It’s kind of like birthdays. Where did the time go?

  2. Happy Birthday, Diane! Birthdays were never a big deal growing up. If someone asks my age, I have to subtract my birth year from the current year for the answer.

  3. Happy Birthday Diane! My husband and I celebrate our birthdays every year with a Carvel Ice Cream Cake. I hope you’re having a great day! Thank you for this chance!

  4. Happy Birthday Diane! I love birthdays! In fact, I think we should celebrate our birthday months or at least our birthday week! Enjoy your day, but I do understand looking forward and seeing the horizon drawing closer……

  5. Do I dread birthdays or welcome them? I welcome birthdays. Why? Having another birthday is like hitting another milestone in your life. I do have a favorite birthday memory. My favorite birthday memory is when my Dad surprised me birthday gift and it was a Snow shovel. That’s right a Snow shovel. I laughed until I cried I was so happy. The Snow shovel was practical. I got my other Birthday gifts at my Birthday party. That year I the Snow shovel for my Birthday, It snowed a lot so I got to try the Snow shovel out right away and still have it today. Getting a Snow shovel for my Birthday from my Dad was shocking, hilarious but practical. I love that Snow shovel. That was my favorite Birthday memory.
    I would love to read and review your book(s) in print format.
    Look forward to learning more about the author and their books.
    Hope I Win

    • You know, I really prefer practical gifts, myself. This Christmas the hubster gave me a new tool set which was nice. And also a mini electric chain saw, which rocks!

  6. Mary E. Cardell says

    I always look forward to the birthdays because it means I made it another year. I have plans for many more. A positive attitude never hurts. One of my best birthdays was about 15 or so years ago when I was treated to a trip to Santa Cruz and got to watch the grand kids enjoy the rides and boardwalk food. Next best one will be doing the same with my great grandchildren.

  7. Happy birthday!
    Birthdays were never a very big deal, and there were a few years in a row where something bad would happen on or right near the date. Right now, birthdays are just another day, though I do still like it when my birthday falls on my day off work.

    • Thanks! I’ve been lucky nothing bad has happened personally, but I always do a moment of silence on my birthday for the Challenger astronauts we lost that day.

  8. Happy Birthday Diane. You’ll always be smart and fun and I intend to grow old with you. I love doing birthday parties for my husband … cuz he hits all the milestones before I do. Two favorites were Mexican themed (everyone went outside to hit the pinata after a few margaritas) and Pirate Party — all sorts of possibilities there and EVERYONE dressed like a pirate.

    Love the come as your inner child and plan to copy-Thanks Debra.

    • Aw, thanks Joan. Back at ya. And my hubby is a year older than me, so yep it’s nice he has to go thru the bad birthdays first. Hmmm…a pinata sounds like fun…haven’t hit one since I was a kid. 🙂

  9. Patricia Rose says

    Diane, did your Furries just call you old?!! You are only as young as you feel! 🥳🎉Happy Birthday!🎂👍💯 I reached my 60th milestone last July. I’m lucky to be enjoying God’s green earth after receiving a liver transplant Dec 23, 2019! Happy to enjoy all my favorite authors including yourself. Enjoy you day and all to come. Tricia Rose in Kissimmee, FL.

  10. Happy Birthday, Diane! I love the Charles Schultz philosophy. These days, birthdays are just another day in my opinion, but everyone else seems to make a bigger deal of it than I do. Hope you have a great day, even in the midst of the pandemic! Stay safe!

  11. Happy birthday, Diane, and many more as you skate through the roller derby of life. My only negative thought about my birthdays is that I’m running out of time to write more books, and I have so many left in my head. I’d hate to orphan my book characters.

    • Thanks, Sharon. I’ve come to terms with orphaned character after several series. I figure they will still live in past readers’ minds–and in new readers’ minds, too–so they don’t really need me.

  12. Happy birthday! You are the cool image you carry about in your head.

  13. Oddly, ages ending in 9 used to bother me more than those with a zero. So when 29 turned into 30 or 39 into 40, I didn’t much mind. But now that I’ve throttled past three score and ten, age truly has become just a number. When a new year rolls around, I say, “Well, I managed to keep 2020 off my tombstone.” Enjoy celebrating.

  14. cherylhollon says

    Happy Birthday Diane! Celebrate all the birthdays, just don’t count! I still feel twenty and according to my grandmother, you feel that way up into your nineties. Enjoy.

  15. Maggie Toussaint says

    Happy Birthday, Diane! In my pandemic state of mind, every day dawns with the portent of a birthday and joy. Yep, survived another day. Soon, I hope to see distant family members in person. Whether soon is is summer, fall, or winter it is nonetheless soon. So today, celebrate in grand style!

    • Well, the hubster is bringing in enough food from the local market so that we don’t have to cook the next three days, so that’s celebration enough! And to paraphrase Gloria Gaynor, we will survive!

  16. Happy Birthday, Diane! I would prefer to ignore my birthdays at this stage, but then again, I like to celebrate that I’m still here. Each year represents a celebration of life. Our days are precious and time is to be valued. None of us, especially in the pandemic, knows how much more we have left. So enjoy each day and savor the moments that bring you joy. As for memories, my family planned a surprise party for me at one milestone that was held at a restaurant on the Intracoastal in Fort Lauderdale. That was a memorable one and a complete surprise.

  17. Happy Birthday! I don’t dread birthdays…they are better than the alternative. The only one I dreaded was my 28th birthday because I felt that once you passed that you were over the hill. Consequently, I threw myself a party in my one bedroom apartment asking about 50 friends to come dressed as the child in themselves…I had toys (water pistols, jump ropes, pin the tail on the donkey…) ready for them (as well as some liquid refreshment and hot dogs and hamburgers)….. We ended up having a ball (water fights, etc) – and the costumes were over the top. With my friends around me… and seeing our silliness… I knew the best was still to come. And it has and continues….

    • LOL, can you imagine being 28 again? Sounds like your party was a blast — one summer many summers ago, my husband and I used to have supersoaker battles on a regular basis. Fun!