Me Sensitive About Turning 50? As if! Navigating Midlife
I just bumped into an old friend. It was great seeing her! I haven’t seen her much lately since our oldest kids who were friends through middle and high school both went off to college. She looked great. She didn’t think so but I really thought she did. Isn’t that how it goes? As we age, we are harder on ourselves and more forgiving of others. Why is that?
She had cut her hair and complained she needed to grow it back because she looked like an old frumpy mom. She didn’t. Not a frumpy bone on her but I got it. I knew how she felt. I had just colored mine and thought I might need to go back to my natural color because it didn’t look right. Does it make me look older?
We talked about how fast time goes by and about aging, but agreed we and our friends looked better than our own mothers at our age. (Sorry ma’, every woman for herself at a time like this.)
This now, is the “new normal” for conversation when bumping into friends I haven’t seen in awhile. If it isn’t our hair, it’s our weight, or how our kids are so big and leaving our homes to go to college which makes us feel old.
I let myself be vulnerable in these situations and I see my friends doing the same. But this time I crossed a line towards an impending doom. I said something out loud that was so incredibly shocking it was like a gut wrenching death spiral into hell!
I waited for her astonished reaction. What the fuck is wrong with her? Did she not hear me? She just kind of laughed and didn’t really even seem to notice the intensity of what I had just said. I wanted to take it back but she had already moved on to another topic.
Oh my god! What was I thinking? Why did I go there? So, I continued to talk about the kids and husbands and summer plans too. But now I couldn’t get it out of my head. My universe had shifted.
And then I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. I had work to do. I needed to make a list!
And here I am now, drinking lemon with hot water. As if that’s gonna’ make a damn bit of a difference to the impending cataclysmic events. But it might! Of course, there’s always the chance that it will eat away the enamel of my teeth and then, according to that commercial, you can’t get that enamel back. And that would really suck. Like, what do you do then? Just eat like normal without any enamel? What am I a barbarian? But I digress.
Where was I? Oh yeah…
50! I said I was about to turn 50! I said it out loud. For the entire world to hear.
If I had just kept my mouth shut I probably wouldn’t even be drinking water with lemon right now. I might still be carefree and be drinking actual lemonade with sugar!
But I did it. I said it out loud. And now not only does my friend know but the whole damn universe knows. Not only does my friend know, but, holy crap… now I know.
Positive me: Amazing 50? A young 50? Still hot at 50?
Negative me: Fucking 50! Hide the wrinkles 50! Start wearing spanx everyday 50?
You know what?! Screw it! I’m gonna’ be fine! I’m gonna’ be a cool 50, like a Power Ranger turning 50! Ummmm, okay, maybe forget the Power Ranger part. And please be advised, I’m open to any suggestions about how to maintain a 50+ coolness factor! How, pray tell, are you dealing?