Wednesday, February 24, 2010

One of the Best Parts of Getting Old

Imagine this: you're sitting in your office, on the telephone with the host of a radio show that's heard in four states, on the air live. You have had one cup of coffee so far and you're not fully functional before the third cup. You're expecting a quick conversation about the news story you're going to be filing later that morning. Oh no. You're in for a surprise.

This is what he says to you:

"It's a coworker's birthday. So now, before we talk about anything else, you and me, right now...we're going to sing "Happy Birthday."

What's your reaction? Horror? Disbelief? Rage? An overpowering urge to dive under the desk and throw the phone across the room?

Not if you're older than fifty, in my experience. If you're over that mid-century mark, you laugh and say, "Okay! You start!" And join him with appropriate vocal flourishes which would have included harmony if you'd been able to hear him better.

That's how my work day started today. And I would have described myself as an intensely shy person when I was younger. I loved to sing and did, in fact, perform on some school stages, but my nerves often left me gasping for air or shaking so badly that I sounded like Tiny Tim.

No more. I have my shy moments, but they are few and far between, generally reserved for social situations. When it comes to performing, I've moved to the "What the Hell" school of behavior, which operates under the philosophy that the worse that can happen is that people will think you're silly. There are worse things and I'm old enough to know that now.

So happy birthday, coworker. We serenaded you with great gusto and it was big fun.
What a relief to not care what people think of me!


Pauline said...

"What a relief to not care what people think of me! "

Isn't that the truth! I remember reading this phrase (but can't remember where) and have followed its common sense ever since: What you think of me is none of my business.

Knowing that has lessened the blow of many an unkind or uncomplimentary comment :)

Susan said...

True, Pauline. And I've come to appreciate the fact that silliness can be a virtue.