In first person… When you grow older, you get to eat your dessert first

And "joy" of aging — whether Jewish or not — is also a nebulous state. At 40, my elder son said, "Mom, grow old gracefully." Neither one of us could know that aging sometimes is like having two left feet. To chew gum and walk at the same time was a practiced feat — no pun intended.

I wrote an article about "What's Funny About Getting Older?" It was published but my friends didn't think it was funny. I was trying hard to be funny, but obviously I failed.

I sometimes think that aging is not a good word. The joy of being a grownup is more to the point. One of the things I see around me is that grownups don't have to obey a lot of rules of youth. At the senior center where I go most often, I see them eating their dessert just before lunch. Even ice cream. I try to be funny and say, "No dessert until you eat your vegetables." Do they pay any mind to my words? Of course not. They go right on eating and I notice eating dessert first doesn't spoil their appetite when lunch is served.

When my brother, sister and I were kids, we were allowed to have chocolate cake and a glass of milk for breakfast on Shabbat. No cooked oatmeal or talk of a healthy breakfast. My mother knew how to bake one kind of layer cake, which she made every Friday. Saturday morning was sweet indulgence.

Now that I am in the Golden Years, I love to read on Saturday morning in my nightgown and know that I have no work to do, no commitments and no appointments to keep. Shabbat is mine to do what I call "goof off." There is no structure and all weekly routine goes by the board.

I've learned that I like some Irish jokes but still think Jewish humor the best. I wish I would learn to take myself not so seriously and laugh more at myself, but maybe that's what is characteristic of being Jewish.