41 Down, 59 to Go

by swellsbennett

I am 41 years old today, which means I’m one year closer to my ultimate goal of 100. I set this goal a long time ago, after thinking of all the changes Granddaddy had seen in his lifetime. During his span of years, our country went from primarily agrarian to dominantly industrial. He was alive when the Wright brothers made their first flight and when Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon.

We haven’t made any giant leaps in my lifetime; instead, we have steadily grown into technology that would have made Granddaddy’s head spin – smart phones that are more capable than the room-filling computers of the Fifties and Sixties, for instance. I’m pretty sure I read once that cars would be driving themselves by now; I’m still waiting for that one. I hear it’s going to happen in twenty to thirty years.

This year, after sitting in my office writing for the last three years – essentially hermetically sealing myself inside – I made the decision to venture out into the world. This change was not something I approached randomly – I had been thinking about my isolation for some time. My natural inclination was to stay where I was, since I am a loner by nature. However, I feared that one day my niece or nephew would find my hundred-year-old corpse mummified within my little house. (I can even imagine the interview Jan would give to the newspaper: “Aunt Susan was strange. We only heard from her around the holidays – when she didn’t show up for Thanksgiving, we figured something might be wrong.”)

So, taking the lead from Grandma Millie, I joined Beta Sigma Phi this fall. So far, it has been a great experience. It turns out that I might not be as socially awkward as I assume myself to be, though I wouldn’t go so far as to agree with Dan’s assessment that “everybody loves the Susie.” I am not, in fact, all that loveable. I’m opinionated, occasionally bossy, and frequently annoyed by the bad grammar of others. In fact, I have a pesky urge to whisper corrections when people misuse language in my presence. Nearly nine years with Dan have made me more aware – and, therefore, more in control – of that particular tic.

I have also, in recent months, taken a more active interest in my health. I have been working out regularly since October and I am starting to feel, if not see, the benefits of that activity.

All in all, I would have to say that my 40th year was a good one. No one close to me died (though a couple of my friends tried to off themselves by participating in obstacle-course races designed for people half their ages), Inknbeans Press published two more of my novels, and my husband still thinks I’m universally beloved (boy, have I got him snowed).

I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Me, back when I really was universally adorable.

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