Wednesday, June 13, 2012


I'm writing this in the wee hours of my birthday. When I wake up I will officially be That New Age. It's a Big One. But I stopped having Little Ones a long time ago.

I have a framed print in my bathroom/cocoon - it's actually a greeting card that my husband matted and framed for me. The artist is Mary Engelbreit, who I just love. It shows a little girl with a hobo stick over her shoulder,  at a crossroads with a sign marking each path: Your Life and No Longer An Option. The little girl is bravely marching up the path to her future.

Such a simple and beautiful image, but it says everything. You keep choosing Your Life and and you keep moving ahead.  Getting stuck in the past, crying over what was, what wasn't and what might have been is No Longer An Option.

That's easy, right? 

Being a glass-half-empty kind of person on Those Kinda Days, I ponder over other things that are No Longer An Option. Realizing you'll never again have the body you had when you were 35. Or 45, for that matter. Finally coming to grips with the fact that the person you see in the mirror is actually YOU, the person that other people see, and not just a temporary detour from the 25 year old face that you have permanently imprinted in your mind's eye.

Hot young me is No Longer An Option. I can be an acceptable 50+, and I can even blow out the curtains  with a red pump or a slightly lower decolletage. But going out with that feeling that you know you look hot and anything can happen...gone, daddy, gone. I am no longer In The Game.

There are tradeoffs, however. When you go out, you're not preoccupied with hair and makeup and with who might notice. You actually enjoy the moment in real time. The opinions of others matter less now, and you feel free to let loose with whatever you're thinking. Within reason.

And you don't have to pretend to be able to walk in stiletto heels! Last time I wore heels to a wedding, it took  about six months to recover. Since then, it's a (reasonable) heel for pictures, change into flats as soon as possible thereafter.

So this was a big one, ain't gonna lie. I fully anticipated feeling like crap, and I did for most of the day. But hearing from friends and family on facebook and by e-mail (I even got a couple of genuine snail mail cards!) helped. And a walk with the Good Husband and sitting in the sunshine with a healthy beverage was a good thing. Yay, Vitamin D!

Birthday angst is real. But silly. Really. I know this. Still, I sputter and make a huge deal out of not saying The Number, thereby drawing a big neon arrow to it. I was telling a friend that I thought this year I was ready to actually comfortably reveal my actual age. My friend paled and told me, No, you can't. Her mother had told her a lady never reveals her age. So, back in the closet again.

Happy Birthday to Me!!


Benatay said...

Happy Birthday!!!!
Wow what an awesome blog. I am recently unemployed,became a grandmother twice in 2011, moved to Florida for my husbands job promotion left all the family in Texas and going thru menopause. I love what you blog about sounds like my life except for the Mom living with us. My parents are both deceased. I do somehow see the inlaws ending up with us. Again thanks. Have a fun day!!!!

Lucy Naylor Kubash said...

Yup, I felt the same way on the day of the big zero birthday, but then surprise! found the day after I really still felt like I always did. Turning into that new decade was hard; being in it not so much. Your right, the face in the mirror doesn't match the one I see in my head but I try not to let it matter. Often easier said than done, but life goes on, and I hope, on and on. Good post!

Anonymous said...

I'm four months into being 50 and hating every second of it. I have a daughter in college who is just beginning her life with all the excitement and promise that I used to have. I watch her and her friends and feel nothing but envy. I try my best to tell her things I wish to God my mother had told me. Sometimes I wonder if she listens or if it even matters.

I feel invisable. I think back even five years ago how great I felt. In a matter of those five years I lost my mother, my beloved dog, and my job. I wake up (or sometimes don't sleep at all and just GET up) and wander around my house all day wondering what the hell happened to my life. I keep going with a smile plastered on my rapidly changing face for the sake of my daughter. She needs me, and honestly watching her go from childhood into young womanhood is a joy I wouldn't miss for the world. Besides, who else is going to nag her and warn her of the craziness of this world? I try to give her what I wish my own mom had given me...but my mom was of a different generation. I just wish she was here for me to talk to. I miss her.

I have a husband but he has his own issues. Problems at work (how I just wish I had work to go to), problems with his eldery parent, I think he envies me that I no longer have to deal with the problems of an aging parent while I on the other hand envy that he still has a living parent. And don't let me get started on sex, he wants sex for the sake of having sex but there is no real intimacy there. We don't even sleep in the same room. I sometimes add it to my list of household chores, just get it over with.

You are lucky to have a husband that cares to go to art gallarys. Mine wouldn't be caught dead in one. I'm going on a seperate vacation this year just to visit gallerys and theaters. The only thing that would make it the perfect vacation is if I caught the eye of some 40 year old and had a week long fling! But then again I'm 50 and no longer pretty or relevant. So that's out. Not that I think I'd have the nerve to do that anyway but it sure is nice to have the fantasy...whatever gets me through the day.

So, count me amongst the angry 50 year old women. Um, not that we count anymore.

Anonymous said...

I'm perplexed by the assertiveness possibly even aggressiveness that I've developed as I've aged. People always thought I was the sweetest person they knew. Now, I'll speak up and communicate my perspectives in the face of stupidity without cause for concern; then I look back and think two things - why do not other people put a voice to stupidity or myopic actions; and wow, who am I to go through life as "the corrector"? Today at work was such a day. I believe I was so forthright during a business conference call that I scared the southerners from Tennessee into reaching out to my boss to join the call - and we're talking about tough operating room nurses!! But as a look back a little woefully today I have mixed emotions... I say - toughen up folks and cover all the bases when rolling out a new program; and who else will give voice to those who don't have the opportunity to challenge mediocrity. I'm tired of people taking the path of least resistance - let's make that I'M TIRED OF PEOPLE TAKING THE PATH OF LEAST RESISTANCE!!!! It is the path to mediocrity and it's not good for American business and it's worse for those who work in American business. I am an angry women. I Googled "angry 50 year old woman" to see if it was a common condition...I'm so glad I have a place to vent. Divorced after 23 years of marriage, childless, and no boyfriend on the horizon...a blog will suffice temporarily. Thank you for developing it!!

Anonymous said...

I know the card you wrote about. I have it in a little frame and I've placed it in every home I've had for the last 12 years or so! It means a lot to me.

I'm struggling with a lot of the issues spoken about here, too. Overall, I just don't like this whole "getting old" thing at all.

Bonny said...

How brave and honest you are Anonymous! This is how we're all feeling inside but no one wants to hear it. All we hear is crap like "age is just a number" "you're only as old as you feel"...blah blah blah
I feel old, I look old and it sucks!

Bonny said...

And another thing-does anyone else feel like they're becoming invisible?

Anonymous said...

For years, people thought I was 10 years younger. Then suddenly I'm getting asked if I'm a senior to get the discount by some stupid 20-yr-old. Hell, no! As I griped to the manager, I'd rather pay full price than be insulted!