May 16 is my birthday. I was born in 1963.
That makes me 50 years old today.
How about that?
All my life, it seemed like being 50 was ancient. Old.
But here I am, and I feel anything but irrelevant. I feel good, in fact. If I tell you I’m 50, I’m not sure what you might think; but here’s the thing:
I really don’t care what you think.
That’s one of the perks of being 50; I’m okay with who and what and where I am, and earning your good favor doesn’t really matter much to me. Oh, certainly there are a few folks whose favor I value – even crave – but for the most part, I don’t really care about pleasing other people so much anymore.
That’s new and improved.
There are more new and improved things. I decided to make a list.
1. I don’t really care what you think anymore.
2. Okay, I do sort of care; but it doesn’t keep me up nights.
3. I understand my mom more than I ever have before. I really appreciate her.
4. I am grateful for every day I have with my dad.
5. The people I’d do anything for are clearly defined – and the circle is small.
6. There is another circle of people I really like; also small.
7. Everybody else; it doesn’t really matter. You get to live life as you wish.
8. At age 13, I had a crush on Johnny Carson. It made sense then.
9. I like to eat. Sometimes what I eat doesn’t like me. I get to choose to eat it and suffer, or not eat it.
10. God loves me. He’s always loved me. He offers grace. I get to embrace it.
11. Becoming a mother isn’t for everyone, but it absolutely defined me.
12. My greatest joy is Daniel-David-Sarah-Shannon-Sydni.
13. I appreciate my kids’ dad and respect him. I’m grateful for that.
14. My kids’ stepmom is one of the best things that ever happened to our family.
15. Most things that seem awful, eventually don’t.
16. I work with seven people that I trust completely.
17. I’m glad I learned to play the piano; it’s most meaningful when I play alone.
18. I’d rather see a movie in a theater.
19. One of the best days of my life was the Batman movie marathon with my husband and my boys last summer.
20. I’d like to have the body I had in 2003; but there’s nothing I have now that I’d trade for it.
21. Oreo’s really don’t taste that good.
22. Fresh vegetables taste better than anything manufactured by people.
23. I am more moved by words than music.
24. I like to grow things.
25. I am more like my mother than I ever thought I would be. That’s good.
26. I will always have a difficult relationship with money.
27. I’d rather drive a car with a big engine than a car that looks cool.
28. Chagrin Falls, Ohio, will always feel like home.
29. Making a list of fifty things is actually harder than I anticipated.
30. I enjoy pedicures; it’s a luxury.
31. I color my hair and am not inclined to stop.
32. Cooking food well delights me.
33. Serving my family food that I have cooked delights me even more.
34. I really like merengue music.
35. Savannah and Chicago are my two favorite cities, mostly because of the people I love who live(d) there.
36. My imagination cooks up crazy things that make me anxious.
37. I don’t think I am photogenic at all, and I think that’s a true thing.
38. But sometimes I look in the mirror and think, “Dang. You look good.”
39. I don’t like shoes. Really, I just don’t like wearing shoes.
40. God always speaks to me when I walk outside. Always.
41. I don’t walk outside nearly enough.
42. Living fifty years makes you start thinking about how little time you might have left.
43. Good therapeutic massages are not a luxury; they are medicinal. There’s a difference.
44. Pinot Grigio and chili do not mix well.
45. Having only one functioning eye would make life difficult; but not impossible.
46. True love is possible. I knew it when I finally found it. I thought it was something else for a long time.
47. True love changes everything.
48. I want to see the Grand Canyon.
49. There’s a difference between being lazy and moving slowly.
50. Life is an incredible gift.
Happy birthday to me, and to anyone else born in 1963. This is what 50 looks like. This is what 50 feels like.
It feels good.