Tuesday, February 21, 2017

This is Fifty!

Well, it's finally happened. The day I've been dreading for the past 5 years or so has finally arrived. I've officially reached the age of 50. Now, before I go any further, I will say that of COURSE I'm happy to be alive. Of COURSE I know I'm lucky since there are many people who never make it this far.  Doesn't mean I can't have feelings about it. 

Everybody says 50 is just a number. Like 40 was just a number. Well, I happen to like the number 24. Can I have it back?  It's hard to describe what turning 50 felt like for me.  Almost all of my friends are turning 50 this year and everybody has described various emotions.  For me my teens were my party years.  My twenties were my babymaking years. My thirties were my baby raising years and my 40's were my keep my marriage together and don't let my body fall apart years.  I never wanted to contemplate 50. I had no problem turning 30, no problem with 40, but for some reason 50 is just scary to me.  50 is OLD. 

My vagina is half a century old. I wonder what my gynecologist sees when she peeks up that dark, terrifying hole?  Is something in there?  I mean, it's quite possible that after all these years, something has been left behind. Ha Ha. All kidding aside, 50 is where shit is really supposed to go wrong.  When I turned 40, my hair started going gray and I suddenly needed reading glasses. It became harder and harder to get rid of the pouch belly that I never had before, but I could deal with it. I just don't know what to make of 50.  Words like AARP and colonoscopy and death dance in my brain, just teasing me until I want to drink them into oblivion.  When I used to read the the ages of the dead seemed to be so OLD and death an even so FAR away.  Now it's filled with people in their 50's. My face definitely is wrinklier. My hands are starting to wrinkle a bit, I've got some of those funny veins on my legs and I could use a shot of botox for the grand canyon size gap between my eyes, but that's ok, that's not what scares me most.

The thing that scares me most, is all that is soon to be lost. The history that is soon to be gone. I'm one of the lucky ones that still has both parents. I know that can't last much longer. They're both approaching 80. My husband's mother has passed. His father is in his mid 80's.  My cherished aunt and uncle with whom we spent hundreds of holidays and get togethers with, are also approaching their 70's.  I know we don't have much time left with these people. It scares the living fuck out of me that they will all be gone some day. 

They say that it is a circle of life, and indeed it is.  I remember when I was little. It was Aunt Maryann and Aunt Eleanor and Aunt Emma and Aunt Dawn and Aunt Gatha, and Grandma and my mom, Arlene and my Aunt Andrea.  The older ladies organized and cooked and held the birthday parties and holidays and our mom's made dishes and dragged us kids along.  I can remember to this day, smelling the roses in my Aunt Emma's flower garden. I was probably 5 or 6.  But that generation is the one that led.  They kept the family together, shared dishes and stories and then one by one started passing away.  That leaves our parents and my aunt and uncle and some other relatives who too soon will be gone from us and it will be us who will be in charge. The old ladies. My sister, myself, my cousins Tara, Jen, Janet. My brother.  Our children will have to put up with dragging their kids to OUR get togethers for the next 10 to 15 years, make us some grandbabies and then they will take over.

Circle of life. Life is scary indeed, but it can also be wonderful. I'm looking forward to REALLY getting serious about paying off bills, paying off our mortgage and then retiring, hopefully comfortably.  I don't know where that place will be.  Will it be by a beach somewhere in South Carolina or Florida? California?  A distant Caribbean Island?  Maybe a cabin in the mountains of Montana, which I fell in love with one summer. Will we keep our home and return for the summer?  I dread the thought of leaving my beautiful summer yard. So many memories we've made here through the years. 

I guess it's time to start concentrating on treating my body better, less Coke (soda) and more exercise. And good Lord, I need teeth!  I'd like to grow old with my husband and always have someone with me and that includes him taking care of his health which he's always done a pretty good job of. I've always joked that it would be me to die of the massive heart attack. (I hope not!) 

Fifty is scary but with age, I've found a certain sense of freedom to not give a shit what other people think anymore.  I've had enough people bail on me in the past to be comfortable enough to say "no thank" you back to them.   I really love social media and all of the friends that I have met and enjoyed conversing with through the years, but lately I've found that it's all so exhausting keeping up with it all.  I almost feel the need to have to send a card for every event, make a comment, congratulate, REMEMBER an event for some distant person I really don't know. I have to do something about this. It's not that I don't enjoy people, I do. I just need to make my circle a little smaller so I can concentrate more on those closest to me. Does that make me a bitch? I don't give a fuck.

My only wish as I contemplate my life being more than half over is that my children remain close to us. So far I'm not having too much luck in that area. I wish my daughter was closer and communicated with me more often.  I pray my youngest son will finally see the light and get out in the world and find a family. (preferably close to home) And I pray my oldest finds a good woman to love and make more babies with.  I hope to always be close to my grandbaby Emma. One of the most precious gifts God has ever bestowed upon me.

Fifty. Fifty.  I don't know. I still don't like how it sounds or what it implies for my future but I'm going to do my best to embrace it and live life to the fullest with my family around me. 

We've got to carry on that torch.....

                                                               This IS Fifty

                                                                 And I'm ok with that. 

Peace out.