Upon turning a half a century old, I have a lot to reflect on. Some good, some bad, but all valuable in its own right. Does life really begin at 50, or is it basically just the beginning of the end?
I remember, vividly, the day I turned 25. I was depressed…so depressed. I knew, as the not-so-happily married mom of one almost four-year-old daughter with a “real” job and real bills, that I was no longer a kid anymore as soon as that clock struck midnight. I remember the week leading up to that day, crying regularly, knowing that day was the “beginning of the end” for me. I remember staying up until the clock turned, just to see if I felt different. I totally did. I felt grown, I didn’t feel like I was in a good place, and I was depressed as hell!
That year, my mom helped my then husband and friends in my neighborhood host a party for me. By host, I mean she basically planned and paid for it. She was worried about me. We still call it Suicide Watch 25 because it was THAT BAD in my mind. So bad. I really wanted to be a Toys ‘R Us Kid forever. The party happened, it was fun, and obviously, I didn’t commit suicide (because that would have been just a bit too dramatic, even for me). Life went on.
In fact, life’s gone on for me for an additional 25 years. The ups, the downs, the MANY more kids, the divorces, the marriages, the job changes. I’ve handled them all like an “adult” because that’s what I am and it’s what I’ve been since that day 25 years ago.
So, 25 years later (THE WHAT? I cannot be 50), I’m still trying to figure out this adulting thing. I’m still depressed about it, at times. I still long for that day, the one that lasted for a full 24 hours before that clock struck midnight, 25 years and one day ago.
My husband says I should wear this age with a badge of honor. A lot of people “don’t make it” here (well thanks, babe, that’s depressing). Not many have raised as many kids, have accomplished what I have, still look as good as I do (his rose-colored glasses are so refreshing to me, y’all), and a lot of people still don’t have their shit as together now as I did back then.
Sure, easy for him to say since his badge is 10 years younger than mine. Whatever. Grain of salt, but I love his sentiment and I definitely try to take his words, and sentiment, to heart.
But still, I’m 50 y’all. FIFTY. A half a century. I’ve seen a lot of shit in my life. I’ve seen global walls come down, and global walls go back up (thanks good and bad U.S. admins). I’ve seen my babies be born and grow, I’ve had my heart broken, I’ve seen failing health in family members, and I’ve witnessed the birth of my third generation. Literally, I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain, I’ve seen sunny days…OH, you know.
My life’s been a good life. The wait for the rollercoaster always seems long and annoying, but it’s always worth the ride. Sure, I still get as depressed as I did 25 years ago about taking this adulting thing to a new level, but (other than the wrinkles) I don’t think I’d trade any experience (good or bad), any bit of knowledge I’ve obtained, or any nook and cranny of this long, crazy life for anything in the world. I could ditch the heartache (that’s a song for another time), I could ditch the aches and pains that catch up with you from being a tomboy on the playground in elementary school, a cheerleader in the 80’s, the ex-wife of an abusive crackhead, the mom of four kids by c-section and two kids by marriage (step parenting is *super fun*), but I would NOT be the person I am today if I skipped any of those stages in my life.
I’m a pretty freaking awesome person, if I do say so myself.
Do I wish I were a younger me? You bet your ass I do. I was gorgeous back then, but in a way, I’m more gorgeous today (I just have to be a little more inventive when I take selfies for you to see that on the outside). Do I wish my clock weren’t ticking so quickly? We all do. I still have littles to raise, a husband to care for and love, a family that means SO much to me, and work goals I need to accomplish.
Am I ready to give up? Hell no! I’m middle aged in my mind. I watch Good Morning America, people live well into their 100’s. It’s my turn to do this 25 year old depression again, and then again…again.
So, if you see me today, know that I’m fragile. I’m dealing with half a century of emotion…of love, of joy, of experience, and of pain. Understand that I might not be “myself” today, but tomorrow, when that clock strikes midnight again, we’re all cool. Be gentle with my heart. Today, as odd as it as it sounds, I’m feeling 25 again and I’m just trying to figure out where to go from here in this next chapter of my life.
Today, I turn 50, and I’m just not certain how I feel about turning a half a century old, you know?