I’ve been out of touch—a little bit like Stella—tryin’ to get my groove back, but not in “that” way—just in general. And, as I recently “celebrated” the BIG 5-0, that groove has become a moving target. So I just thought I’d muse a little bit about these things that I have learned after having lived for a half-century. Writing them down actually helped me in the groove-getting-back department, so I thought some of you might also appreciate them (or recall them twenty years from now when your babies are also nearly grown). Following these pearls of infinite wisdom, I list the top ten scariest things about this age. Enjoy and comment. I love to commiserate with like-minded (if aging) souls.
- At 50, I don’t care whether people like me or don’t like me. At this point, I’m me—for people to take or leave—their choice. If they choose “not,” then BYE FELICIA!
- At 50, there’s no point in talking smack about someone, even if they’ve done me wrong. That’s because there’s a universal woman of truth whose name is Karma, and she does beautiful dirty work way better than you ever could. Besides, I have limited energy now for vitally essential things, so wasting any of that on trivial haters is not on the program.
- At 50, I realize that my kids aren’t perfect, as much as I would wish them to be, and that’s OK. Even if I still pretend they are the most well-adjusted, bright, talented, getting-alongest people on the planet when posting on Facebook.
- At 50, and now that I’ve probably screwed the kids completely up, and even though it’s impossible for me to remember this almost on a daily basis, I realize that loving my kids with encouragement, support, and praise works 100% of the time, but helicoptering, nagging, shouting, and criticizing work only about 1% of the time. You do the math. Also see #4.
- At 50, whiskers happen. Almost daily. Get used to it and keep a tweezer in the car. The light’s better in there.
- Upon turning 50, I realize that staying healthy by eating whole, fresh foods is WAY better than taking five to six pills a day, even if it means never eating double-chocolate caramel walnut brownies again. I have yet to follow this advice, but I have tons of knowledge and resources at the ready as soon as I’m ready to commit. Public, positive affirmations *should* help me achieve this, but old habits die very hard at this age.
- At 50, I know inside that I’ve been doing the best that I possibly can at everything I have done for at least 25 years now. Regardless of the outcome, nobody can expect anything less than that from me and nobody except my teenagers gets to stay in my life if they say or act like that’s not true. All teenagers will say horrible things to each other and to me, but I know underneath they don’t really mean it. And when I lose my perimenopausal SH**, I hope they know I don’t mean it either.
- At 50, asking for or doing things I want or need is not selfish; it’s self-preserving.
- At 50, if someone else’s life seems perfect, I REALLY understand that it’s because they’re just better at masking the truth than other people (also called lying). And that’s OK because most of us are doing #7 and sometimes that involves fibbing a little bit about how well we’re doing just to get over the next hump.
- At 50, periods can SUCK IT!
SCARY THINGS—in (kind of) reverse order
- My baby will soon be driving
- My mom might soon be dying (these are not necessarily related incidents)
- I realize that I don’t know SH** about anything, really
- I’ll be living alone in about six years
- The turkey waddle that has shown up on my chin (whiskers weren’t enough for that b***h called Time, I guess)
- Hearing hammering sounds coming from my teenager’s room
- Hearing nothing coming from my teenager’s room
- Some of my animal babies are getting old and might not be around much longer
- Wanting to retire at 60, but my financial advisor saying “Funny joke. Try more like 67.”
So what? What are we supposed to make of all of this? For me, the “so what” is that, as I turn 50, I realize that it’s truly just another age—that every decade brings with it new experiences, new happinesses, new fears, and new challenges. But every new decade also brings new wisdom and new insight; the unique thing about the upcoming decade, though, in my view, is that this time—I seem to have a renewed sense of freedom, of permission. Funny thing is, that permission wasn’t granted by some authority in my life—it comes from me.