Saturday, May 10, 2014

fiftysomething....yes, Mom, you were right.

Who remembers the show thirtysomething?  If you were born in the 1980's, you will have to Google it, but those of you closer to my age will know what I'm talking about.

It was a show about various 30-something year olds "living in Philadelphia and dealing with everyday adult angst" (according to  I loved watching the show because it showed me what I had to look forward to. And, I could feel a bit superior since I was only a twentysomething and living large as a college graduate working in a field with an expense account!  (Go me!)

At the time, I'm not sure I thought life could get better.  Although, I do remember the age of 27 creeping up on me; it was the start of my age-related anxieties because I clearly remember being a teenager and thinking that 27 year olds were ancient. (Yeah...I know....if only....)

Before I knew it, I was throwing myself a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese to celebrate my inner child when I turned 30.  Why?  I found myself slightly depressed at that age because I hadn't accomplished all that I thought I was.  Yeah, back in the twentysomething days, I thought I was going to take over the world and be the quintessential definition of success by the time I turned 30.  (Yes, I thought I'd be bringing home the bacon and frying it up in a pan...more humor you young uns will have to look up.)

That didn't happen.

And, my 30's brought some tumultuous, crazy years.  Within the span of three years, I divorced, remarried and became a stay at home mom.

Before I knew it, I was turning 40.  And, what a strange age that was.  Yes, I had a four-year old, but when we went to my husband's class reunion, we found out that one of his classmates was a grandparent while another was expecting her first child.

But, the hour, the minute, the nanosecond I turned 40, I started to dread turning 50.  Didn't want to think about it.  Didn't want to talk about it.  Didn't want to acknowledge it.  Just....didn't.

As I got closer, I knew I needed to do something to make that day less about the weeping and gnashing of teeth and more of a celebration of me!  So, I decided to do what anyone would do.  Run the Boston Marathon as a charity runner.  What better way to celebrate my mental and physical toughness?  (Yep, still trying to prove something to someone  myself....)  And, as a friend commented on one of my Facebook posts describing this process, "Go Big or Go Home!"

So, just a little more than two weeks ago 32,455 of my new, closest running friends and a million of their friends, family, significant others and other various hangers-on joined me and my family/friends at the Boston Marathon.  And, what a party it was!

You probably know I got injured at Mile 8 and still finished the race with a huge smile (at least once I crossed the finish line.)  I didn't really think about not finishing, but I have to say I have gotten a little tired of dealing with crutches and a boot. I'm so thankful for the aforementioned husband and son who reminded me that it was all worth it.  "Yeah, mom," the son said. "Would you rather have had to spend a few weeks on crutches or go the rest of your life being disappointed that you didn't finish?"  (They are brilliant.)

I keep saying that the good Lord knew what he was doing when I got injured because it's been quite a distraction from turning the big 5-0.  In fact, the birth day itself was pretty much a non-event.  But, given the downtime, I've had the chance to reflect on the last 50 and want to jot down a few reminders my mother has shared with me. (Momma is always right...even when she's wrong.)  For fun, I threw in some other things I learned as well.

For years, my mother has wisely shared with me her philosophies on aging.

First, it's only a number.   And, really, I tend to forget that number. Kind of like when I was at a doctor's visit with my son and the doctor asked how old I was (taking a history on my son, not a freakish inquiry.)  I stared at him.  Blankly.  I couldn't remember how old I was.  (I'm sure the doctor was wonder this kid has problems....)  It took me a while and I finally came up with the number. Phew!  And, really, it didn't matter.

 IT's better than the alternative.   She has also shared stories of her peers who--over time---grew older
than their calendar age.  I've always appreciated my mother's so-lopsided-it-makes-sense look at life and now see how her sense of humor has allowed her to be approaching 80 almost effortlessly.  Deep down, even though I've struggled with my own aging process, I know I've been fortunate enough to have gotten her youthful looks (for years she got carded when she wanted to use her senior citizen discount) and slightly warped sense of humor.  My mother and I will never be confused for being older than our actual ages...and that's a good thing.  (Unless we have to argue too much for that discount.)

Friends make it all better.  Today, I have friends of all ages although I will admit to calculating how old they were when I would have been a senior in high school.  Often, I find myself surprised to learn that someone I consider a peer today would have been in first grade when I was in my senior year. (We are not going to talk about the ones who weren't even born yet.  Oy vey!)   Isn't it a wonderful thing that time changes us so our circle of peers can include such a wide range of ages?  I wouldn't know what to do without my friends of different ages.

Family is there for you in the clutch--especially if you're old.   I once joked with some students that I got into my 40's before I realized how dysfunctional my family really was.  One of them replied, "Then, it's not really dysfunctional."  Okay, point taken.  But, like any family of origin (like that smart psychology phrase?), we have our issues.  But, as I've aged, I've come to appreciate my family more and more. We are all very different. We are all in our own worlds. But, we are family.  (Cue the Pointer Sisters!)  And we will always be there for each other.

It doesn't get any better. It just gets different.  When our son was an infant, he was colicky. For seven long months.  Luckily, the hubster would come home from work and upon seeing me dazed and glazed, would take over the duties.  Eventually, I'd head to bed and if I came down in the morning and there was a whiskey glass on the sink, I knew it had been a rough night.  One of his friends wisely told him, "Everyone will tell you it gets better. And, it doesn't, really. It just gets different."  We have relied on that advice often over the years.  And, as I get older, I realize the same about myself.  It doesn't necessarily get better.  It doesn't necessarily get worse.  It just gets different.,689336554

So, here I am at the Big 5-0, raring to go (well, at least once I get out of the boot and off the crutches.) And, on this Mother's Day weekend, I want to say, THANKS MOM...not only for birthing me and putting up with all the drama and angst along the way (and, yeah. there was a lot), but also for reminding me that it's a privilege to grow old. It's all in the way we look at life. And, I hope I'll be raring to go for another 50--or as long as the good Lord will have me gracing the earth with my presence.

Catch you later at the back of the a new age group!


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