Good Intentions, Flawed Results
When I was younger, my mom would turn to me and say “Well you made it through another year without me killing you”, right after I blew out my birthday candles. I think she was mostly kidding, or maybe she was just congratulating herself, I can’t be sure. But making it through another year is definitely something to celebrate. So now that I am approaching 50 years of not dying in a row, I’m feeling pretty damn good about myself.
Unfortunately, the rest of the world doesn’t quite see it that way. I am suddenly acutely aware of advertisements, blog posts, magazine articles and quippy talk show hosts who are so excited to inform me of the pitfalls of being 50. It’s like my birthday will signify my transformation into a decrepit, old, irrelevant woman if I do not prepare for the epic BATTLE AGAINST AGING! As a side note: BATTLE AGAINST AGING should be read in the voice of Michael Buffer (aka Let’s Get Ready to Rumble! guy)
I don’t like being told what to do, or think or feel. And honestly it’s because I don’t think most people have a clue what they are talking about. They are simply regurgitating what they have been told spiced with a few personal experiences and that sum total is what they now believe is the gospel according to (insert your name here). I’m not denying that there are some basic truths in life that are connected to actions and consequences; if you touch a flame you will get burned, if you don’t look both ways before you cross a street there is a good chance that you will get hit by a truck, if you don’t brush your teeth you will get cavities. I acquiesce on these points.
There are experts that have useful advice that you should listen to – like Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Neil Patrick Harris, also anyone who gives a TED Talk. The rest of it, the stuff people tell you are truths, well they are mostly bullshit. My general response to the barrage of “advice” is an emphatic use of my middle finger and a contemptuous look of indignation.
This notion, this complete societal delusion that I am somehow less relevant because I am 50 years old is the Everest of oxymoron’s. I have survived in this world for 50 years and have avoided damaging myself or others in any profound way but now, now after all that I am supposed to believe that the recent college graduate who I work with knows more about the world than I do. Let’s be clear, young graduate, your brain has just started fully functioning in an adult way. You do not hold a candle to me.
I’m supposed to face this birthday with some form of dread or alternatively I can run around stating that 50 is the new 30 and get some lip injections. (As a side note I would really like someone to explain to me why ANYONE would get lip injections. Honestly, my lovely women friends, it looks ridiculous. I mean RIDICULOUS. Please stop.)
I have worked hard to figure out how to navigate life and love and friendship and beginnings and endings and change. I have weathered many storms and basked in the glorious sunlight after. I have been THERE and done THAT and I have a boatload of free t-shirts to prove it. I AM all that and a bag of chips. I will not bow out of this life and go quietly into the night suffering some indeterminate list of middle age maladies.
I OWN these 50 years and I plan on owning the next 50.
In the words of the indomitable Sally O’ Malley – “I like to kick and stretch aaaannndddd KICK!! I’m 50, 50, 50 years old!
I’m 50 years old world, you have been warned.
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