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Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Final Countdown: What I AM looking forward to now that I'm 50!

Phew, I made it!
What I'm really looking forward to as a reward for my 50th cumpleaño is spending another year with my wonderful husband, terrific friends, and our loving family.

Thank you ALL for making this, and every year, so very special for me!

My honey, on one of our adventures: zip-lining in Costa Rica

Friday, September 27, 2013

Countdown to 50: Things I am and AM NOT looking forward to

Tomorrow is it! I will have completed my 50th year on Earth. That's a long, long...long, long, long time. Makes me tired just thinking about it!

So, the last thing I'm NOT looking forward to: more doctor's appointments! Especially if the doctor's keep telling me stupid things like:

"It's not a melanoma, it's an age spot" (got that one this week!)

"You're in terrific shape...for a woman your age" (heard that at my last annual physical.)

"No, your thyroid is perfectly normal. You just need to exercise more and eat less" (at a gyno appointment 2 years ago.)

"Unable to sleep through the nights? That's just a normal part of aging for women" (at that same gyno appointment.)

Seriously?! Where did these doctor's get their medical degrees? Anything they can't explain, they blame on getting older. I've been getting older for my whole life and I've NEVER had these problems. I know I must have something serious, probably terminal, so they don't want to even bother telling me since I'm a goner anyway.

That's another thing I'm not looking forward to...becoming a hypochondriac. You know "they" (no, I don't know who they are) say that women turn into their mothers as they get older. If that's the case, lookout medical world, 'cause here I come! My mother is a champion hypochondriac. A big portion of her social life involves doctors' appointments.

For a funny look at doctor's appointments, watch this:

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Countdown to 50: Things I AM and am not looking forward to

With only two days to go until I'm over the hill, one of the things I'm REALLY, REALLY looking forward to is the more relaxed pace of life I'll be able to enjoy as I get older.

No, seriously. All you over-50 readers out there, stop laughing. I mean it. Life is going to slow down to a nice, easy pace. I'll have time to sip coffee and enjoy the sunrise in the mornings, putter around the yard for a bit, then sit down and write for a few uninterrupted hours. After that, I'll go out for a leisurely stroll and have time to enjoy it rather than looking at my watch, anxious about the next place I have to get to or thing I have to do. Then maybe I'll write some more before sitting side-by-side with my hubby (who will have spent an equally relaxing day), and enjoy a glass of wine as we watch the sunset. Then we'll take the time to cook a lovely, heart-healthy meal together, with lots of fresh veggies from the garden I'd been tending that morning, and then sit back to enjoy our meal and conversation without gulping it all down to rush off to the next activity or obligation.

STOP LAUGHING! I really am looking forward to it. I know the elusive, laid back life of a senior citizen is out there. I've been looking forward to that from the time I was 20 looking toward my "easy" 30s, from my 30s waiting in eager anticipation for the slow down I knew would come in my 40s, and now in my 40s, I can almost reach out and touch the slow, easy pace of life! I KNOW I'll find that in my 50s, right?

Yep, me and Matt, aging gracefully, relaxing at the rest stops for some wine.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Countdown to 50: Things I am and AM NOT looking forward to

Only 3 days to go!

Here are some more things I'm not looking forward to as I get to 50 and beyond. The video below is a hoot--I am NOT looking forward to pretty much everything on Mary's list:

  • random hair growth
  • forgetting to turn off the directional
  • non-life threatening skin growths
  • neck skin
  • forgetfulness in general

For the complete list, and for a good laugh, listen to the rest of Mary's prayer about getting older:

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Countdown to 50: Things I AM and am not looking forward to

Four days 'til the big half century B-Day and I'm continuing to count down with things I am looking forward to as I complete my 50th year and enter into my 51st (cumpleaño, remember? If not, scroll down to my post, "On Completing 50.")

Yesterday, I said I wasn't looking forward to all I'd have to spend to keep my hair its current color. I'm seriously looking forward to the time when my hair turns completely gray/white/silver, rather than the icky hodgepodge of brown/gray that I have now. When that happens, I'm going for it: ALL NATURAL! No color. I'm not sure how I'll go about growing the colored hair out from the natural gray/white/silver: will I have to shave my head and start over? Wear hats for a year? Dye it all white and let it grow out from there? Who knows? That's something to be considered at some point down the road, well after I've gone "over the hill" of 50. Maybe 60. (I did get a good suggestion from Sarah in yesterday's comments: blonde as it grows out so the difference in colors isn't quite as drastic.) Maybe I'll feel differently about it at 60 and put it off to 70. We'll see. I have some time to figure that out.

Jamie Lee Curtis was brave and went gray and looks fabulous!
But, I probably won't go that short. I'd look like an old man.

Here's what I'm hoping for when I actually do go gray.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Count Down to 50: Things I am and AM NOT looking forward to

Five days to go until the BIG 5-0!

I'm counting down by listing things I am and am not looking forward to as I crest the half century mark and start on my downhill slide.

I am NOT looking forward to the ever increasing frequency, effort, and cost that will go into maintaining my unnatural red hair. I've often been tempted to see what happens if I stop coloring my hair. Then the roots start showing and I'm shocked at how much gray is in there! And it isn't a lovely salt and pepper, as my mother's hair was at my age. It isn't a shiny silver, as hers is now. No, it's gunmetal, bland, flat gray mixed with my true, mouse-brown, bland natural hair color. Bring on the red-in-a-box and price be damned!

Mom, with her shiny silver hair, me with a "screamin' red stripe," and niece Kim,
a natural blonde who is now a sometime brunette, sometime auburn, sometime brownette.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Count down to 50: Things I AM and am not looking forward to.

Six days to go!

I suppose this is a cheat since I don't have to look forward to it: I received my AARP card a few months ago thanks to hubby turning 50 back in February. He signed me up then, so I've had my card for 7 months. Still, I will have "earned" my card.

I'm looking forward to walking into fast food restaurants, hotels, and other businesses and asking for my whopping 5-10% AARP discount!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Count Down to 50: Things I am and AM NOT Looking Forward to at 50

One week til my half-century birthday! So, I'll be counting down with a list of things I am and am NOT looking forward to at 50.

Let's just get the "biggie" out of the way. This is the year the doctor's have been warning us about! Starting about 3 years ago, doctors started hinting and, I suppose, trying to mentally prepare me for the essential medical test for the 50+ crowd: a colonoscopy.

NOT LOOKING FORWARD TO THAT! But, what can you do but laugh about it, and this certainly got me laughing!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

On Completing 50...

 A few months ago, I wrote about the trials and tribulations of turning 50. You remember that (not you personally turning 50, but my blog about it), don't you? The wiry gray eyebrows, hot flashes and insomnia, wrinkles, sags, and bags? Then, I finished saying I'd keep you posted as I sat back and used an objective, scientific eye to observe and report on the process.

Not my eyebrows, but I swear sometimes when I
look into that damn magnifying mirror, this is what I see!
Well, that hasn't happened. I mean, I've been observing the whole process, in minute, gory detail. I've just failed to a.) be objective about it, and b.) report on it. So, now here I am 13 days away from my 50th birthday, wondering where the last few months have gone!

To be honest, I've discovered that turning 50 is really quite liberating. Not in the way I expected it to be back in my 30s when I thought, "damn, that's old" and not as I expected even a decade ago ("then I'll be so old I'll be able to just let myself go and it won't matter.) Instead, it's given me a new perspective and new freedom to look at life with new eyes.

I know, I know. How can 50-year-old eyes be new? Well, after having spent many a navel-gazing hour reflecting on my life (what else is there to do while floating around the pool? I can't read 'cause my reading sunglasses are polarized so I can't see my tablet screen, and holding a book over head becomes so taxing after a page or two for us old folk), I came up with a quick summary of my adult life. I really don't know if it holds true for everyone, only for me.

In my 20s, I knew everything. I had the answers. I was so much smarter than my parents had ever been. I'd never make any mistakes. I'd charge ahead full force and conquer the world, avoiding pitfalls and obstacles because I could.

Me, at 22.
Youth is so wasted on the young.

In my 30s, I looked back on the hubris and arrogance of my 20s. What does youth know of hard choices and sacrifice. Or of hard work, for that matter? My 20s had been full of childish games and conceits. In my 30s, I worked hard and learned valuable lessons. That was my time. Before then, I thought I knew everything, but now, I'd learned--usually the hard way--just how young, naïve, and ignorant I'd been. In my 20s, I didn't know what I didn't know. That might be the only thing that let me survive that decade. With the new awareness that "the more I learned the less I knew,"  I was able to really grow and conquer the world in my 30s because then I'd REALLY learned everything.

Celebrating my 30th birthday with Julie.
She's been helping me celebrate for 20+ years now.
Despite that, we refuse to grow up!

By my 40s, I started to have some doubts about my knowledge base, but I knew I knew a whole lot more than I had before. I also knew that there would always be more to learn, that I'd have to keep an open mind forever to really continue to grow as a person. But I was confident in my ability to keep learning, absorbing, taking it all in. I'd be a lifelong learner, tackling new realms and pursuing new knowledge. The 40s would be my time to achieve life goals, have new experiences, take on the world on my terms with full awareness that I still had many lessons to learn.

Julie and I celebrated our 40th year with by getting tattoos when our day at Brewers Bay Beach
was rained out. Later that year, we did a group trip to Jost van Dyke with a group of friends
who'd all turned 40 that year and all lived in the VI at overlapping times.

So, what do I think of all that aggressive, active pursuit of knowledge now that I'm staring down the eyes of 50? Who cares? I'm exhausted. Just thinking about all that wore me out. I had to go get a glass of wine and take a break. Not only do I now realize I don't know squat, less than a drop in the bucket of all the knowledge in the universe, but I don't care, either. The world is a big and fascinating place. No one person is ever going to know everything there is to know about it and no one expects me, or anyone, to have all the answers. Anyone who thinks they do, anyone who is fully confident that they're right is either young or an idiot. I no longer feel like there's some deficit in me if I'm not certain. That's what makes life interesting--the unknown. Fifty has given me the freedom to not worry about being certain and having the answers. If it's important, maybe I can find out about it, and if not, oh well. The world won't end. I have embraced my ignorance.

I've also bypassed the entire "turning 50" trauma by switching from "American English" thinking: I'm turning 50; to the chronologically correct Spanish term: Cumplo 50 años. On my birthday in 13 days, I will not turn 50, but I will have completed 50 years of life. Thus, rendering it too late for the trauma and drama of those pesky milestone birthdays because that year is now done, completed. Over.

Visiting in NY.
And a spectacular 50th year it's been. My second novel, Ye Gods! A Tale of Dogs and Demons was accepted for publication by Casperian Books (it'll be coming out in spring 2014), we got to see family in Chicago and New York and enjoyed our Hinkey nieces and nephew visiting us here, a spectacular visit with our best friends in San Diego, had all sorts of wonderful times with friends throughout the year, and expect a few more before my 50th year is complete (zip-lining in NC with the Gosses next weekend!)

Hinkey and Masaryk visit to SC

At the Birch Aquarium in San Diego with Misty and Terry

All in all, fifty is feeling pretty fabulous right now. With age doesn't necessarily come wisdom, but perhaps more wit to deal with it all, and enough exhaustion from those previous five decades to really not care about wasting energy on the things that really don't matter.

I can't wait to see what the next decade brings!

With Shana and Sheila at the Dirty Girl Mud Run
for Breast Cancer Awareness and Research.

The main reason life just keeps getting better all the time.
(Don't be silly. The giraffe was awesome, but I meant my husband, of course!)