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I used to anticipate my childhood birthday parties as if each were an annual coronation. Like most kids, I loved sitting at the head of the table with a crown on my head. In recent years, however, birthdays have been more like medical checkups--no fun at all but necessary if one intends to stay alive from year to year.

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Source Notes: Getting Over Getting Older: An Intimate journey (part I, "Facing Age"; chapter 3, "Happy Birthday to Me") (1996). Pogrebin in this book describes the experience of turning fifty. She examines "croning" as a female "coming of age ceremony" that celebrates the "positive attributes of age--wisdom, knowledge, experience, caring." She describes a "ceremony" for obtaining an "escort" from the "sweet, verdant land" of youth to the "place of uncertainty and fear."

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