If the opening to the 117th Congress is a window to what is in store for the next two years from our legislative branch, count me out.

Beyond the insanity of the new non-gendered legislative language rule change, the House of Representatives opening prayer delivered by Rep. Emanuel Cleaver was more than misguided and could only be charitably described as a train wreck.

I guess kudos can be given for even offering a prayer in the first place, and not nixing that tradition.

Mentions of the monotheistic God, Brahma, or “and god known by many names by many different faiths” already had me scratching my head at the end.

Then came the conclusion of the prayer...for anyone who doesn’t know, a prayer’s closing of “Amen” has nothing to do with the male gender. The word means “so be it” in Latin.

Beyond the absolute idiocy of adding “A-woman” after concluding the prayer with “Amen,” what exactly was it even supposed to mean?

It guess it could be construed as a virtue signal to progressives, but is laughable as the same Congress banned use of those same words by passing the new rules that will govern the next two years. But it also signaled that the reality faced by working Americans every single day won’t be a priority for the new Congress.

Not that I expected better, but our elected officials always find a way to reach new lows.

This Congress will be no exception.

I think I’m ready to declare myself officially middle-aged, and I’m sitting here wondering exactly when it happened.

Today is my 45th birthday. I could swear I was just celebrating my 30th - with a quite memorable party at The Pastime just a couple years ago.

Although, after a few days of painting or working out in the yard, I can admit to feeling every one of those years... plus a few more. Especially when the mercury is hovering in the low digits.

The aches and pains of aging are harder to explain away when you need to reach for the Advil on a regular basis.

In my weirdness, I never have a problem with the decade birthdays... 30 was fabulous, a celebration with everyone I value and love; 40 was a smaller celebration with my best friends and our husbands... but still as just fabulous. No angst or ambivalence... I was ready to embrace it.

Those years ending in five though... a completely different story.

It probably didn’t help when my sister congratulated me on a quarter of a century on my 25th. And it hasn’t gotten any better.

It’s crazy, and I know it.

But at 45, I’ve learned it’s better to embrace the crazy, and just ride the wave.

It is completely liberating. And one of those rites of passage of adulting that comes with “experience,” which is possibly the only redeeming quality of getting older.

That and just not caring what people think.

Maybe this birthday will help ease my alternating ambivalence and angst toward the “5” birthdays. Highly doubtful, but leave a middle-aged gal to her delusions.

It’s my birthday.

Amen to that.

Staff columnist Toni Butero can be reached at tbutero@mattosnews.com or by calling (209) 862-2222.