Sunday, August 14, 2011

Does Eating at 4:30 Mean I'm Old?

I turned 52 this year, and my husband and I celebrated by dining out.

At 4:30.

We generally don't eat that early, but he had a gig to play with the Crooked Creek Band and needed to be at El Toro Taco and Tequila by 6 o’clock to set up. The band was schedule to play from 7:00 to 10:00, so an early dinner was really the only option for the two of us to have a little quiet conversation that evening.

It is a cliché that in Florida the senior citizens eat early. I can attest that most of the other diners at that time were older than Ray and me, although there were some younger people scattered around (I suspect they were visiting family members who were on SCT - Senior Citizen Time).

Getting older doesn't bother me, in fact I rather like it. I try to stay out of the sun both to avoid wrinkles and fading my hair (it costs a lot of money these days to hide the gray). I like to think that I would do some things differently If I Knew Then What I Know Now (buy Microsoft, for one.)

Despite living in Vero Beach (which has, as you might expect, a beach) I don't spend time baking myself to a crackly crunch. I have seen the leathery, wrinkled skin on people who spent too much time in the sun, and I have no desire to look like an iguana when I am in my 70s. Certainly in my teenage years I sunbathed. I wore the smallest bathing suit I could, to minimize tan lines, and rotated regularly so I had an even tan all over. I did use sunscreen, but not the 55 I currently use. Now you can only see my “savage tan” when I expose my wrist and show the mild contrast on my arm.

Every time I put that SPF 55 on, I think about the Mad About You episode when Paul (Paul Reiser) was putting sunscreen on his wife Jamie (Helen Hunt) and saw the SPF number on the bottle. He said, "45? What, does a little sweater come out of the bottle to cover you up?" That may not be the exact quote, but you get the gist.

I don’t feel much different than I did when I was 25, and it is hard to fathom how I got to be 52 so quickly. I think age is mind over matter: if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.

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