Let’s Talk with Diane A.S Stuckart

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.