The Five Decade List

2017 is here. That means I will turn fifty this year. I was not, as youngest son suggested, born in 1953. Still, where has the 50th-birthday-cake8time gone? What have I been doing all these years?

Oh, playing with dolls; learning to drive; being with friends; getting married; getting unmarried; sleeping; working; listening to music; changing diapers; making supper; taking showers; exercising; mourning loss; working some more; listening to people; avoiding responsibility; scooping the cat box; admitting defeat; walking the dog; embracing love; wondering about the future.

As I look at this looming milestone, I am alternately proud of myself and embarrassed. I think of the different iterations I have effected in my life, and I think, “Wow, I’m pretty resilient and great. ” Other days I look back, and think, “What the fuck was I thinking?” Some days I feel like I’m 92 and other days, I am certain I can’t be older than 10. It’s life.

A few years ago, I was feeling very old. Very sad. Washed up. Dark. I even began wondering how soon is too soon to move into an old folks’ home. Many people bemoan milestone birthdays and seek to hide from well wishes and the inevitable comments about how much older or younger they are than their interlocutor. Some people even hide from cake!

Not me. I’m taking a different approach.

I am currently brainstorming 50 things to do this year. These activities range in scope, and may or may not include other people. A few samples: go on a Habitat for Humanity build; see a musical; go parasailing; visit my aunt and uncle; be open to a relationship; read a book a month; write fifty new poems.

A friend messaged me this morning, sharing her intention for the new year. She has chosen a word to define her intentions in multiple areas of her life. I like it.

My approach is to intentionally experience at least fifty different, familiar and unfamiliar facets of life through my list, and to reflect meaningfully on them through the year. I want to grow, learn, and become.

Oh, and I want cake.

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Someone Old…Someone New

I have no idea how old I am. No, really, earlier this year I had to stop and calculate. (My sister would tell you that this took an inordinate amount of time – she wouldn’t be wrong.) Neither am I good at estimating people’s age – and it has nothing to do with Botox or plastic surgery.

So, what are my feelings on ageism? In short: these feelings are the same as I have about any other “ism” – not cool. Any discrimination based on personal attributes – not cool.

At the same time, I have attempted to embrace every age that I have been – provided, of course, that I can figure it out. I suppose – not unlike other people – some days I feel 17 and other days I am solidly in my 70s.

In Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom, Morrie tells Mitch that a person can be any age they have been up to and including their current one. I agree with that. In fact, my youngest son will tell me when he is “being seven” or  “wants to be three” on a given day. I’m cool with that.

I think we would all do well to take Morrie’s advice. Be your age – or any age that you know. And, anyway, Doctor Who has it right.

Join me.