Thursday, May 4, 2023

Turning 50

 I remember when that seemed like a large number: 50. I remember believing what capitalism shoved down my throat: the height of life’s bell curve happens somewhere around 15-35. The rest is inconsequential. Of course, that’s not true. 

I thought at 50, I’d know things. That I’d be wise. What I know is that there’s so much I don’t know, and so much I’ll never know. 

I thought at 50, I’d look old. I’m not going to pretend that I haven’t aged, but there’s not as many wrinkles as I imagined I would have at 50. 

I hoped I would be happy. And I am. 

I feel like I’m just starting to reach the peak. In the last 50 years, I’ve figured out a lot of things that I don’t want my life to be. Mostly by making mistakes. 

Now I’m learning what truly brings me joy and peace. 

I’ve learned how to take care of myself. Not stupid bubble bath self-care (although there’s nothing wrong with a bubble bath), but the self care where you recognize what’s making you happy or unhappy and you do something about it. 

I’ve stopped suffering through things that I don’t have to. I’ve stopped living life like the “good student,” vying for praise and respect. I am loved and respected by people I love and respect. I’m not going to try to change myself for someone to like me. I’m okay if you don’t. There are plenty of people I don’t like. I’m not talking about trying to hurt anyone or vice versa, but I don’t need to be loved and respected by everyone. 

I’ve learned how to let things go. It does me no good to seethe in anger or feel bad about myself. You don’t earn “points” by self-sacrifice. Not just in the big ways, but in the little ways too: I now have a drink every time I’m on a plane. Just one to let myself just be while the pilots and flight attendants take care of me and the rest of the passengers. 

I go to the theatre by myself a lot. And I love it. I don’t have to worry about what others think of it, try to schedule it, blah blah blah. AND I also go with friends and family. I spent my 50th birthday with my girls, seeing SIX on Broadway! 

I took a cruise by myself and loved it. I go to restaurants by myself and enjoy it. I love to people watch and make up stories in my head about who they are and what kind of conversations or thoughts they’re having. 

It’s like when I was a kid, and I would play with Barbies and make up their stories. I know, there are definitely issues with Barbies, but I cared most about the make-believe of it all. 

I also have done a lot of things in my life that I’m proud of, that I overcame, that I endured, and that I loved. There is enough life back there for me to see that this is not the beginning. 

Of course, I don’t know how much is ahead of me, if I’ll be able to maintain my health, my happiness. 

So I’m going to love my life now. At 50. 

No comments: