I’m 50! (and-a-half)
Happy birthday to me. You see, I turned 50! years old about six months ago. Today I was remembering how when I was five and strangers in the grocery store would ask me how old I was, and I answered “five and a half”. I answered the same way when I was 12 (who didn’t want to be a teenager!). And again when I was 15, 17 and then 20, although on those birthdays I no longer said it out loud, but rather thought silently to myself that I’m almost 16, almost 18 and almost 21 respectively. At least that’s how I remember it and I’m pretty sure I never admitted to a bartender in the spring of 1980 that I was 20 and a half. In such a hurry to grow up! Hmm.
Turning 50! for me was a whole lot harder than being 50. For the two weeks prior, I really agonized over the milestone. At times I panicked. I began to think I was running out of time. All those things I was gonna do (i.e., climb Mt. Everest, backpack through Europe, become a “well qualified buyer”) are likely never going to happen.
I began to think that being 50 is not really middle age at all because I did the math and figured I’d likely never to live be 100. Which means that instead of having a middle age crisis at a more realistic age of say 35, I was pregnant with my last baby and driving a four door sedan. I missed my mid-life crisis!
And I just don’t see myself in a commercial for one of those banks or investment firms where the people are all going back to school, starting a whole new career or traveling. My foreseeable future doesn’t include endless possibilities and excitement. Let me put it this way. If I ever feel the urge to jump out of an airplane from here on out, it probably won’t be for the thrill of it
That’s not to say I’m against all air travel. You see, I’ve learned that gravity is not my friend. You’ve heard of Nicole Stott, the 40-something astronaut from Clearwater? I’ll let you in on a secret. She didn’t go to the International Space Station out of passion or a desire to inspire kids. She went with a mirror just so she could get a glimpse of what her body looked like in total weightlessness. True story.
And then to top it all off, I gained weight over the holidays. And it hasn’t magically or effortlessly disappeared. I’m one of those people that women love to hate. For 49 years I ate and drank everything at will and never once had to alter my jean size. To this day, I don’t even own a bathroom scale. But as luck would have it, Publix Supermarket does. Ten pounds! I gasped! Why would you even have scales (let alone out in public) at a place where your entire business was selling food? “Where Shopping is a Pleasure”, are you kidding me?
So then I started to do the trick that all women do (10 lbs. or not) when jeans come out of the dryer. I did deep knee bends to try to stretch them out a bit. And couldn’t get up. When did my knees get so bad?!
For the life of me, I can’t understand why I have a turkey neck when I religiously do all those head-bobbing exercises with my bifocals every day.
Now in all honesty I must say there are some good things to being older, too. I have wisdom and perspective that only comes from life experience that I regularly bestow on my three adoring and grateful teenagers. AARP has some really great deals. And I’m still too young for a 55+ community.
But what comforts me when I’m feeling really blue, is that my dog is now 11 which makes her 77 in people years, she wears her gray hair and weight well, and in six months when I’m 51, she’ll be 80 (and-a-half)!