Well, it totally happened this weekend. Some time while I was sleeping and probably in the midst of dreaming about snakes or giving birth, something far more sinister occurred.
I turned 50.
Yes. I know. It’s true. And contrary to popular belief – er, that is, what I assumed was going to happen – it did not hurt one bit. There was neither pain nor hair loss nor bleeding.
I just got out of bed and started my day.
And maybe that’s where my 50s will be different from my 40s. I turned 40 in the emergency room of our local hospital, which is a story for another day, but needless to say, I was less than thrilled. But that night kind of set the course for the rest of the decade. In 10-years’ time, I’d change pretty much everything about my life. Oh, sure, I still want to lose 10 pounds and remain a dedicated procrastinator – I defy you to out-procrastinate me – but most everything else about my life has changed.
I ended my marriage, got a full-time job, started a blog, sent three kids to college, sold my house on my own and bought and renovated a new casa. I even went out on some dates and am way blonder than I was as a young girl of 40.
Are things perfect? Absolutely not. Have I figured this whole life thing out? Please, on a daily basis at least 1.3 of my children is mad at me.
But I like to think that I’m a work in progress. And even though I’ve figured out what some of my issues are, like not feeling good enough and the aforementioned procrastination, it doesn’t mean that I’ve gotten a handle on things. I get snagged thousands of times each day.
That’s why I’m in therapy.
But in a weird way, I’m kind of looking forward to what the next 10 years brings. There’s still so much I want to do. So many places I want to go. People I need to meet. And stuff I need to work through.
I hope I stop caring what other people think about me and start accepting people for who they are rather than who I really want them to be. Because getting on top of that shiz will free up a lot of time I would have used to fret and, as we all know, I am not getting any younger.
Honestly, I’m just glad it’s over. The day had been looming for about 18 months and I just needed to get it behind me. It was kind of like wanting to not be pregnant any more and just have the baby already, without all the crying (okay, I cried a little).
But so far, my 50s are going quite well. I spent the weekend celebrating and being showered with all the attention a needy Leo demands. There were lunches and dinners and cocktails and so much dancing that my feet feel like they just turned 60. Friends and family proved how well they knew me by giving me perfect gifts, like the stack of rings from my mom that I’d been lusting after to an autographed copy of Nora Ephron’s I Remember Nothing from my pal who takes such good care of me and a weird amount of booze from everyone else.
But maybe the best part of my birthday weekend was getting to spend a big chunk of it with my four children, who had no choice but to go along with it and act like they were having fun. We took the bus into Manhattan and I sat next to my oldest child, who is sometimes hard pressed to even say hello to me, and listened to him talk pretty much nonstop about his job during the hour’s ride in. We ate a delicious lunch in the Theater District that included thin, salty French fries and big pitchers of perfectly-proportioned mimosas, light on the juice. And when the check came my three oldest children surprised me and footed the bill.
Then, because it was literally (okay, not literally) 1,000 degrees on Saturday in New York City and felt like we were walking through the inside of an oven set to broil, we walked very slowly over to the Barrymore Theater to see “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time,” which we loved. We tried to go to a rooftop bar in Times Square afterwards that proved slightly challenging to locate and when we finally found the place, discovered everyone in our group needed to be 21 to enter so my highly disgruntled party and I found ourselves back on the hot, hot streets of New York. And instead of Googling the perfect place for post-theater cocktails, we ducked into the closest bar and drank cold beers and ate chicken wings while the 13yo sprawled out on a couch and watched the Olympics and everyone was happy. When we finally arrived home that night, we all went our separate ways and that did not make me one bit sad. It was time.
By my calculations, I held the children captive for nine hours, which is about eight hours and 55 minutes longer than our usual time we spend together as a family. And I guess if it took turning 50 for me to get that kind of gift, the gift of my children humoring me and going along with my one-big-happy-family fantasy, then it was totally worth it. Plus, I’ve got enough tequila to last me until I’m 60.