Friday, January 13, 2012

Milestones, Millstones, and Birthdays

Not everyone loves birthdays.  Some keep the date a secret, discourage party-making of any kind, screen calls on the day to avoid the well-wishing…  One grumpy-Gus I know waxes universally anti-birthday:  “Why should anyone give you gifts for just aging?  Aging is not an accomplishment.”

Well, actually…yes it is.  A fact that hits me particularly hard having lost another family member just this morning. 

But another fact is there’s a kind of bias and bigotry that comes with getting older.  The Industry is notoriously reputed for ignoring age and experience in favor of youth, beauty and virility.  In a field constantly treading paranoid waters, after a certain point, years seem to become like millstones around our necks, pulling us down.  I'd say it's especially true for women, but if film and TV are slightly more forgiving, they're no less competitive for men. 

Let’s face it, youth, beauty and virility are great.  But so is knowing yourself, being comfortable in your own skin, and gaining objectivity and perspective.  Those things are not guaranteed birthday presents, but a little age helps bring them closer.

Time is the only commodity we can’t get more of or make or save.  Life is short.  Until science or alchemy divines how to wind our internal chronometers, we only get so many ticks before this sucker’s over, so really every day is like a birthday. 

And whoever started that stupid saying about old dogs and new tricks obviously never had our old dog.  Her capacity to mastermind didn’t blossom until she was fifteen!

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