By: Carole Townsend | Columnist | Gwinnett Citizen
Carole Townsend

A dear friend of mine just turned age 55, a milestone I glimpsed in the rear view mirror more than a year ago. The big 5-5 bothered her, I’m afraid. She worried about 50’s approach for a full year before it arrived, and for some reason, 55 has bothered her even more.

“But stores offer 55-year-olds senior discounts!” she cried, as I patted her hand and made a mental note to find out which stores she was talking about. I’m nothing if not a bargain hound.

I’ve tried to be a good friend to her, to listen when appropriate and to offer some cheerful advice to prop her up when appropriate. I don’t think I’m helping much.

Reaching age 50 did not bother me. Age 55 didn’t bother me. The way I see it, every day spent above ground is a good one. I celebrated both milestones with my family and moved on, or at least I think I did. The biggest thing on my mind at the time was making sure I got signed up for all the supermarket and AARP deals that surely awaited me after I crossed this golden bridge. Boy, was I disappointed.

My girlfriend called me early last week with a proposition. She said that she wants to go skydiving, but she’ll only do it if I go with her. Frankly, I was stunned by her proposition. Where on earth did she get the idea that I had any inclination to go skydiving? I do not. I’m not even sure I have what it takes to jump off of a plane that’s safely parked on the tarmac, much less jump from one in flight. My fear has nothing to do with my age, mind you. I have been a self-preservationist chicken for as long as I can remember.

I’ve gotten myself into a pickle though, because I may have led my friend to believe that I’d do it if she’d snap out of her funk. I thought that surely I’d exceed the age or weight limit, or perhaps I thought that she’d come to her senses if I just played along. As luck would have it, my weight is well within the guidelines (go figure), and while many people claim the honor of being the world’s oldest skydiver, they all far exceed my own age.

My friend is determined to follow through with her reckless goal, and I have to figure out how to break it to her that I will not be participating, no matter what I may have said up to this point.

I thought about taking the coward’s way out and sharing this column with her on social media. But I can’t be sure she’d read it, and then I’d just double my anxiety worrying about that.

We are supposed to talk about the specifics of the plan this coming weekend. I have a few days to figure out how to either talk her out of skydiving or talk her out of skydiving with me, her best friend. I think honesty may be the best approach. If she didn’t already know that “Carole” and “skydiving” do not belong in the same sentence, I suppose it’s time she learned.

Wonder if she’d be up for a girls’ weekend at the beach instead? Now that I can do.

Carole Townsend is a Gwinnett author and freelance writer. Her fourth book, BLOOD IN THE SOIL (Apr 2016, Skyhorse Publishing), was recently named the Finalist for 2017 Georgia Author of the Year in the Detective/Mystery genre. Her previous three books are written with Southern humor. Carole often appears on network television talk and news shows, as well as on national true crime radio shows. Her books can be found in bookstores, on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble.com, and at www.caroletownsend.com. When she's not writing, Carole travels throughout the southeast, talking to groups about women, writing, family, and life in her beloved South.

Published: 2017-08-17 13:52