10. Getting that much closer to eating whatever I want

Since I’d really like to live until about 75 without suffering too many serious health issues brought on by things like eating cake and sitting around, I recently brokered a deal with myself:  get some exercise and avoid as much of the bad food as you can now, and I pinky swear that when seventy-five rolls around, it’s donuts for dinner, baby!  Every night.

9.  Getting that much closer to shaving my head and wearing overalls

If you’re like me, keeping up with fashion trends is a love-hate affair.  While I like looking put together, I hate the ordeal of high heels, tight shirts, and hairstyles that require more tools and techniques than launching a small satellite into orbit.  So I’ve made a second deal with myself:  put a little effort into how I look now, and at seventy-five I can chop off all my hair and shimmy into a pair of threadbare overalls.  Mmmmm...I get all relaxed and warm just thinking about it.

8.  Permission to keep too many cats


7.  Learning to say no

Only recently have I truly learned the art of saying no, but now that I’ve got the hang of it I wouldn’t trade it for the world—not even for wrinkle-free, drum-tight skin or naturally blonde hair.  Saying no saves me time, energy, and sanity.  It's exhilarating, really.  You should try it. 

6.  Retiring to the mountains to be a hobo

Hobo being my teenage daughter’s summation of the life I hope to lead in the not-too-distant-future.  Although in her defense, I think the cats and overalls are a contributing factor.

5.  Collecting Social Security

I’m not there yet, but it gives me giddy pleasure to imagine a day when the government will send me a check instead of the other way around.  Assuming there’s still money to be sent, of course.

4.  I don't remember the bad stuff nearly as much

Just the other day, my husband stood around with a group of guy-friends and made an innocuous joke at my expense.  To which the guys hooted, Oh man, you’re gonna pay for that later!  Meaning I would commence giving him all kinds of hell and never, ever, let him forget it.  Nothing like a little female stereotyping, am I right?  But I digress.  The thing is, as I get older I tend to remember less and less, especially of the small stuff like slights or tiffs.  I'm doing good to remember why I've walked into a room, let alone keep a running list of grudges.         

3.  I'm smarter

Time and experience are such great teachers.  Sure, being born with a wellspring of wisdom might be nice, but for most of us lessons are learned the hard way—by making mistakes, poor choices, and having regrets.  While part of me wishes I could wipe the slate clean and start all over, the other (wiser) part of me knows it’s a necessary part of being human.

2.  I'm dumber

If you had told Younger Cindy she'd be thrilled to get dumber, she would have spit on your knee.  But now that I'm older and know better (and I’m no longer a spitter) I recognize the relief in not having all the answers.

1.  Each decade just keeps getting better

While it’s true my skin is looser and my eyes are weaker, the incredible upside is that I have more joy, wisdom, contentment, gratitude, and fulfillment than ever.  Maybe it’s a bell curve and this is my peak moment, but I kind of doubt it, since studies that track this sort of thing point to an overall increase in happiness as we get older.  So for now, I’m OK with the physical proof of time passing because the trade-off is totally worth it.