What does 60 feel like?
Well, no surprise. It feels no different than 50, or 40, or dare I say even 30? It does feel different than 20. A Christmas Eve or Christmas Day birthday is special. On the one hand, once they learn about it, it is easy for people to remember your birth date. I mean, you can see Christmas Eve coming two months in advance! On the other hand, it can be challenging to share your birthday with all the fuss and festivity associated with the Christmas holiday.
One thing is certain about a Christmas birthday. You will never celebrate milestone birthdays in a traditional pub crawl. I never gave much thought to my birth date till the year I turned 21—legal drinking age in the US—and realized that all the bars would be closed early in the evening and besides, the 24th was always our family Christmas meal and gift opening night. No time for a drunken riot with friends.
Through the years I learned to celebrate my birthday happily and quietly inside my own head. When I’m with other people, I like to open my gifts early in the morning and spend the day doing something I particularly enjoy. I never shop on the 24th! Then by evening I happily celebrate Christmas with everyone else. I try to downplay my birthday because it is an awkward imposition to add one more detail to a host’s already stressful evening. And invariably someone in the group is blind-sided and feels badly for being unprepared. Despite my remonstrations, usually someone in the group knows that it’s my day and makes a fuss and then I feel silly—but appreciative.
Aside from the big 21, my milestone birthdays have been pretty nondescript. For my 50th, I organized a January heli-ski trip that involved an all-day drive across the state. We rose early the next morning, suited up, jazzed and excited, only to discover that the avalanche danger was too high. The trip was cancelled.
I don’t remember doing anything special for my 40th. I believe I celebrated my 30th solo. This 60th birthday sort of snuck up on me and stood me on my head. I realized I really needed to do something special to hallmark the event of six freakin’ decades. (Hey, that sounds better that 60 years—6 decades, I think that’s what I’ll be calling it from now on.) So I began scheming. A trip to the coast was too lengthy and the roads too unreliable this time of year. A visit to friends in nearby cities would involve crashing their Christmas festivities. Not far from where I live is a winter recreation lodge, tucked into the mountains between Stanley and Sun Valley. I’ve driven past it many a time during summer and winter, longing to stop and check out the extensive trail system. Galena Lodge also has three yurts to rent out during the winter and they had one opening on the 24th. Bingo!
After opening my birthday gifts on Monday morning, I cooked up a delicious breakfast and left the cat with an overly full bowl of food, water, plus extra water in the tub—should something happen and I didn’t make it back when expected. Off I went.
I took the dicey, but drop dead gorgeous route through Stanley, Idaho, recognized as one of the coldest places in the continental United States. The Sawtooth Mountains were shrouded in weather of their own making.
Then had just enough time for a quick snow shoe exploration of the surrounding area before the sun began to drop.
Then, the three-hour drive back to Boise, this time taking the easier route through Sun Valley and Fairfield. Home in time to open my Christmas presents. This was so much fun I plan to make it an annual event. There’s even plenty of room for company in the 8-person yurt! Perhaps two nights out next time.
I apologize for the length of this post and the poor quality of some of the images. If I keep fiddling with them, I’ll never get the post up. 😉 Happy New Year to all!