Last night, Lady Lucia and I attended a 40th birthday party for our friend Hippolyta. I think that, these days, Hippolyta is probably my youngest friend (I used to hang out with a couple of people in their 20s while still living in Manhattan but have lost touch with them since the move to Brooklyn). So...my youngest friend just turned 40, in a month I'll turn 50, and now I find myself reflecting on the nature(s) of those milestone birthdays; how different circumstances affect the way(s) we perceive them.
I told Hippolyta that I hoped her 40s would be easier than mine had been. Well, I do hope that. Yes, Lady Lucia and I started our relationship during the final two years of my forties but that's about the only thing that has been really good about them. I don't know whether it's because of 9/11 or the economy or...what? But, yeah, this decade has pretty much sucked for me (with the notable exception of the Lady Lucia apsects). I wouldn't wish such a decade on a good friend. And I hope to hell my fifties will be better than my forties were!
I do expect that Hippolyta's forties will be good. She is now very wealthy (having inherited over a million dollars a couple of years ago) and money always paves the path to happiness, even if it can't, literally, "buy" it. She has published several books and is nearly finished with her second graduate degree. She can rightly consider herself successful. I'm happy for her. It was also nice to see her really enjoying the birthday party. It was almost enough to make me want a party for my fiftieth. Almost but not quite...
I expect that, on my birthday, I'll just go out to dinner someplace with Lady Lucia and leave it at that. We're not in a position (financially or geopgraphically) for big parties. Plus, we're already having a different sort of party (in a different location) the same week! Three days after my fiftieth birthday, Lady Lucia and I will have our commitment ceremony, followed by an informal reception for a small group of friends (mostly church colleagues) at the New Jersey church where Lady Lucia serves as a part time pastoral associate.
The date was actually my suggestion. I kind of like the idea of having my birthday "pre-empted" by a celebration that feels "bigger" and less ambiguous.
What a difference a decade makes? Well, maybe it will and maybe it won't. I can't know what my fifties will be like but I can know that Lady Lucia's presence in my life will be a blessing then, as it is now.
Blessings and hopes to all of youse, no matter your age(s)!