Why do birthdays conjure up all kinds of emotions? My thinking is that birthday’s have always been emotional milestones in our lives. We loved turning 10. Finally an age that had 2 numbers. We loved turning 13…we were now an age that meant that we were a “teen”. Sixteen…for the girls…very “sweet sixteen”. And for boys and girls…driving. We were able to actually be independent and drive ourselves to school, to the game, to the movies. Twenty-one. What an outstanding age. We turned twenty-one. That felt like we achieved the age of actually being a grown-up. Is that where we stopped being happy about achieving the next age?
Turning 30 often is daunting. For many it feels like its an age when they are no longer kids. Thirty is now …serious adulthood. But 40 strikes many as “wait a minute”….how can I already be 40? By the time we turn 50….this is serious business. What is 50? Is that finally “middle-age”. Or is that finally the more serious age to be. Or is the fact that it signifies a half a century of life make people feel closer to….100?
Elaine Rodino, Ph.D.