“HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU. HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR DIANE/DEE/FURY/MOMMY/SIS/COUSIN/MY FRIEND. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!”
On November 18th I achieved my fiftieth year of birth. Fifty years of this journey called “life”. A half a century of experiences, stories, memories, love affairs… heartaches. On November 18th I fell in love with me. I woke up that morning and realized how bad-ass I am! Truly. Think about it… it is absofuckinglutely gangsta’ to celebrate fifty of anything – discounts, millions, shades of gray, pounds (gain or loss), life.
So since Wednesday I have been (in between running here and there) pondering on just what I will do with the next phase. You see, I am a firm believer that I have a say in ‘what’ and God has the final say in ‘when’. Shoot! I also realize He has the ultimate say in ‘if’. But be that as it may, I still make my plans, consult with Him (listen to Him laugh at some of them) and continue on. I indulge my right to free-will and place all my passion and excitement for this spectacular life into setting goals, listing dreams and preparing the breadcrumbs I will need to lay in my wake as a reminder of where I have been. I throw a peripheral eye on my past, while I apply laser-like focus on my future.
I am excited.
As I approached my birthday I had numerous conversations with folks who quite frankly, tried their best to mask their amazement and confusion regarding my excitement at approaching that age. I found myself shaking my head at their ignorance. You see I get it; I understand we live in a culture where youth is not only revered and obsessively sought after (just watch the commercials), but one where many think that to speak of my age not only loudly and publicly but with such pride and excitement, is a tad…no, grossly unwelcomed and unnatural. I got the impression I should either be outright denying it or at the very least, have the decency to whisper if it must be spoken about.
Here is my initial thinking – the alternative to aging is not acceptable to me! As a result, I look forward to and celebrate every day, every year I am granted to get older. I look forward to every grey hair, every joint ache, every menopausal symptom, every benefit the government grants to “seniors”. I will be the first in line on the day I can apply for Medicare and get discounted tickets on the bus, subway, etc. It will probably be a while before people get up to offer the “old lady” a seat on the bus or the train or offer to carry my grocery bags, but I am okay with having that done now simply because I’m cute J I look forward to crossing all the academic stages in my red –bottoms (my graduation present to myself) as I collect my diplomas… at fifty-something and sixty-something. As much as I grumble and threaten, I secretly (well, I guess a secret no more) celebrate the reality that soon I can have a little person calling me some version of “Granny”. All of it. Bring it!
Listen, all my contemporaries, do not buy into the bullshit that as we age we lose our value. In my world, the exact opposite is the truth! As I take inventory of my life, of the experiences but more importantly the decisions I have made along the way – the twenty-thirty and part of forty-year old ones – I boldly and confidently state that as much as I appreciate the value even in so-called stupid mistakes, what I bring to the world now, this fifty-year old woman is the one with exponential value. Truly. Attached to my thought-processes, decision-making and responses are the bits I have picked up along the way. The truths and realities that have clung to me like so much lint on fabric. Today my fifty-year old self scoffs at the shenanigans of my thirty-something ignorant ass!
So no, I will not be quiet. There will be no behind-the-hand whisperings when asked my age. I will not lie. I will be the woman who stands firmly, tall, boldly, straight-backed, sure-footed and dares to look you in the eye as I announce, “I am fifty!” I will be the one re-defining all you thought you knew or expected someone of my age to either do or look like. I will be the woman telling this simplistic world that, “Yes, youth absolutely has its value; no question. We need new ideas, fresh outlooks and more importantly fertile wombs in order to keep our world moving forward. But hear this – this beautiful, exciting world of ours also needs the wisdom, confidence, insight and knowledge borne of experience that can only come from those of us who have lived, learned, dared, loved, lost…and survived.”
Thank you for your contribution – good or bad – to the first fifty…