Another year, another birthday

August 9, 2012 · 26 comments

in Inspiration, Making art

Post image for Another year, another birthday

At some point earlier this summer, I turned 56. Horrors! (I never posted the date on my Facebook because I worry about identity theft. Does that make me sound like an overly-cautious old lady? Ha.)

The idea of approaching the big 6-0 is mind boggling. How in the world did I end up wandering this world for more than half a century?!

I don’t want to get into a lot of blah-blah about growing older. Life is too short. Instead, how about a little inspiration…

Here is one of my favorite images. This Helmut Newton photograph was in the retrospective of his extraordinary career at the Grand Palais in Paris. My daughter Gabi and I went to check out the exhibition during our April vacation in that beautiful city.

The actual photo, entitled “Mario Valentino,” was taken in Monte Carlo in 1998, when I still had it goin’ on. Hell, I still have it goin’ on!

The postcard of this shot is pinned to my bedroom bulletin board. Whenever I look at it, even out of the corner of my eye, I instinctively straighten my shoulders, suck in my gut and remember who I really am.

Just sharing this photograph now has me feeling all kinds of emotions about being young and middle aged, sexy and sassy, brave and scared, wise and inexperienced. Add to the mix a few wistful twinges and rarely mentioned regrets — and that takes us to another year of being alive. xoxoxoxo.


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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

betty ming liu August 9, 2012 at 8:23 pm

And yes, at 56, I still love me some stiletto heels. But I don’t really wear them anymore. Even for me, there is such a thing as being too over-the-top. :)


Jenni Stone August 10, 2012 at 8:07 am

Age is just a number. Endorse, support and grant yourself the power to change for the better and rise higher. Enjoy who you are Betty – with age comes wisdom.
Celebrate the journey.


betty ming liu August 10, 2012 at 8:37 am

It’s actually 11:36 p.m. and I want to respond to each of you! At some point, I’ve gotta find one of those blog plug-ins that allows me to reply directly to each comment. For now, I have to game my own blog by changing the time stamp on my responses, so that I can place them after each of your comments. I know, this is sort of pathetic but, oh well!


betty ming liu August 10, 2012 at 8:36 am

Very true, Jenni. The constant challenge for me is to not cave to the numbers stereotypes. More and more, I understand people who say that they don’t feel their numerical age. :)


Toby August 10, 2012 at 8:46 am

First – LOVE those Monte Carlo shoes! Next – I stopped having birthdays when I was 12. I said to myself “if I keep this up, I’m likely to get OLD! That will never do. The presents aren’t worth it.” When people ask how old I am, my reply is “Miss Channing is ageless.” That works especially well with straight people who tend to assume “Oh oh, that must be some kind of gay thing that I’m not going to understand. Better not go there.” I got old anyway – in a moment of inattention I guess -but found it has some advantages – such as playing the “Old Card” when there is heavy lifting to do.


betty ming liu August 10, 2012 at 9:00 am

Toby, What a charming approach you have to aging. I actually don’t mind anything about being 56 — except saying “56.” Thank you for the inspiration on every level. “Old card” is definitely gonna be the way to go from now now. :)


Anonymous August 10, 2012 at 10:17 am

I would never have expected a child of Chinese tiger/wolf parents to become a human parent instead of continuing the cycle as a Chinese tiger/wolf parent.

Usually, the children of Chinese tiger/wolf parents would end up appreciating the fact that they were beaten into Beijing University or Harvard and then continue the cycle with their own children.

Thank you for being like this. Although I do not have Chinese tiger/wolf parents myself, it still makes me relieved that there are still some people like this.

I know a mother who studied at Cornell university in 1980s. Obviously, a very hard-working student. Amazingly, she does not want her daughter to take too many AP classes in school, even though the school recommended that her daughter take it.


betty ming liu August 10, 2012 at 10:48 am

Anonymous! Always a delight when one of you drops by. Thank you for setting out the terms so clearly. Yes, I do want to be human first. I appreciate the encouragement and hope you’ll keep visiting with us!


Skye August 10, 2012 at 11:45 am

Another year, another birthday, another opportunity…

Intsead of leaving things behind, it’s good to think that you’re moving forward. Freedom. I leave more baggage behind as I get older and I like to travel light.


betty ming liu August 10, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Traveling light — Skye, maybe that’s the way to avoid developing stooped, old lady shoulders. Thanks for giving me a whole new image to play with. :)


Jean C. August 10, 2012 at 1:56 pm

Happy Birthday Betty! – we’re the same age again. Just makes me want to get things done faster. (Faster than I can.) Other than that, how can anyone mind aging when it clearly beats the alternative. And the “old card” grows to include any whacky behavior justified as eccentric.


betty ming liu August 10, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Love being on the same wavelength as you, Jean! Yes, I’m also very glad to be alive. xo


June August 10, 2012 at 3:14 pm

Betty, happy belated! And heck, you still have it goin’ on!! XoXo!


betty ming liu August 10, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Thanks, June. Thanks for being here for me! xoxo


Laura Madden August 10, 2012 at 4:41 pm

With regards to age, my dad always says “When you wake up in the morning, pick a number you like and stick with that for the day.”

Thanks for sharing the inspiration. Been in the need for some since realizing I’m closer to 40 than 30 ;)


betty ming liu August 10, 2012 at 11:58 pm

Laura, turning 40 was tough so I won’t belittle your feelings. Although, if I was to try your dad’s trick, I would be happy to wake up and find myself 42.Then again, life is quite wonderful at 56 and I would be missing so much if I was only 42! Still, I am going to wake up tomorrow and pick the number 38 — let’s see if anything happens! You’re not the only one getting inspired. :)


Shirley Bubbles August 11, 2012 at 5:04 pm

Totally agree with Jenni ~ Age is just a number!!!
So Betty, just forget about the “number” and move on and cherish what we have now! Happy Birthday! ^^


betty ming liu August 11, 2012 at 9:02 pm

Thanks, Shirley! Today, I kept telling myself that I was 38, just to see what that would do for my psyche. It was an interesting experiment because I instantly felt younger! This is all such a mind game!


Jean C. August 12, 2012 at 11:28 am

Pretending you’re younger actually makes you physically younger. See this study. The scientist has an interesting book about painting & mindfulness, too.


betty ming liu August 12, 2012 at 2:02 pm

Thanks for the link, Jean. I reminded myself several times today that I am 38. It actually made a difference, seriously. I could feel a weight roll off my back. So strange! Now you have to be 38 too; that way we can both still be the same age. :)


Linda August 12, 2012 at 4:57 pm

Happy Birthday, Betty! You look great, I thought you were my age (42).


betty ming liu August 12, 2012 at 8:05 pm

Oh, Linda! Yes, we’re nearly the same age. I’m a little younger…38. At least for today. Haha. I’m enjoying this. Thanks for the good wishes. I really appreciate hearing from you. :)


Jean C August 13, 2012 at 9:34 am

I’ve never tried this, but okay- today I’m 38.


betty ming liu August 13, 2012 at 10:26 am

Jean — thanks for the reminder. I woke up and thought I was 56. Now I’m 38 again too; already feeling more energetic. We have our whole lives ahead of us! :)


Wendy August 13, 2012 at 3:03 pm

Oh my goodness Betty! I would never guess you were 56!! It’s not only your youthful looks but the way you live your life. Always game to try new things, explore options, the way you think, etc.

Age ain’t nothing but a numbah girl. ^_^


betty ming liu August 13, 2012 at 3:11 pm

Thanks, Wendy! And I’m no longer 56. I’m now 38….but seriously, getting older is becoming a different culture. Over the years, I’ve had a handful of 70-something friends who are so spirited that their ages have become totally irrelevant — to the point where they seemed totally timeless to me. Now THAT’s being in the moment. :)


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