Anne Crescini

Ageing is a Privilege (年を取ることは特権だ)

Last month I had my 43rd birthday. I still can’t believe my youthful character is trapped in a 43-year old body. I figure there is no way I could be 43 feeling as chipper as I do; then I look in the mirror and see my Mom’s face staring back at me. (No offense, mom. I love your face). I remember when I was a kid, and my mom entered her 40s. I was convinced she was a dinosaur on the verge of death. I probably thought she was on her way out, and that the best part of her life was over.  We even had an over-the-hill birthday party for her with black balloons and decorations, symbolizing that she had one foot in the grave. It was a joke, but my pre-teen self probably half believed it to be true. But now that I am there myself, as I wait with anticipation the completion of my own private rock climbing wall, I am convinced that my 40s are the prime of my life, and that my life is not almost over, but just beginning. And I can’t wait.


I have never understood the reluctance of people to share their age. It is said, both in Japan and in America, that asking someone’s age is insufferably rude. I guess I have never understood that. With a smile on my wrinkled face, I always tell my students my age on the very first day of class.  I mean, what’s the big deal? Everybody is born, everybody ages, and everybody dies. Life is a cycle, and there is no point trying to fight it, whether it be through the denial of it, or the hiding of it with various modern-day versions of the fountain of youth–miracle creams, plastic surgery and kale (kale is the answer for everything, supposedly). Of course, everyone should take care of themselves and their skin, but if you look 20 when you are 45, well, that is weird and disturbing. Just saying.


My friend Andrea always says that ageing is a privilege. I cannot tell you how much I like that. Not everyone in this world gets that privilege. Lots of people die at the prime of their lives. I can honestly say that I am happier now than I ever have been. My 20s were fun, and I enjoyed being newly married and having the new experiences of Japan, but we were always broke and didn’t have the joys of kids yet. My 30s were a time of financial stability, but of childraising exhaustion. Now, I find my life to be close to perfect. I have a great job that I love; I have a wonderful husband and three kids who are finally old enough to take a shower by themselves and not to pee on me; I speak Japanese fluently and can function well in society; I have friends so special that I could write a whole blog only about them; I am financially secure and just bought my first house; and best of all, Jesus loves me. That is the one thing that has never changed.


So don’t look at my wrinkled face and feel sorry for me that I am 43. My life has never been better, and I have never been happier or more thankful for God’s blessings in my life. The other day I was reflecting on all I have to be thankful for, and I was overwhelmed with gratitude. Not only has God blessed me with all these huge things that I just wrote about, he also made sure that someone invented iherb.com and made it possible to get cheap peanut butter in Japan. I mean, how cool is that? Life can be hard. Believe, I have had my share of struggles; but it can also be fulfilling and fun if you let it. And it is not just about the big things, but we need to always be thankful for the little things like peanut butter. What is like peanut butter for you? The next time you feel you body is creaking with age, you see your mother’s face staring back at you in the mirror, or you wonder why your boobs are sagging so much, take a minute to pause and be thankful for all of these things. Remember to be thankful, too, for peanut butter, flowers, coffee, or whatever little thing brings you joy. Let’s live life with gratitude and joy, and remember that each birthday, and ageing, is a privilege.


Category: Blog