Today is my birthday. And as much as I can say that many women my age choose not to admit their age, I’m proud of mine.
I’m 52 years old. Not 52 years young, or 52 years better. It doesn’t need to be made into something other than what it is.
The year I was born, The Platters recorded “The Great Pretender,” Elvis made it to U.S. hit charts for the first time, and Doris Day’s serenade of “Que Sera, Sera” let all who listened know that the future was not for us to decide.
I beg to differ.
Carousel was playing in theaters, and The Edge of Night could be seen on television. Jackson Pollock died in a car crash, Eisenhower was re-elected President, and IBM invented the “Hard Disk Drive.”
Not that long ago, but at the same time, several lifetimes ago.
I have fond memories of growing up in the latter years of that decade and the earliest of the next, but would love to forget many of the years following, until high school was nearly half over. Yes, there were good things about those years, but I’d never live them again if given the opportunity.
Um, no thanks.
I’ve learned quite a bit in all this time, so indulge me, and I’ll give you the short version:
- Be an optimist. It’s more efficient. But Murphy does exist, so if you acknowledge that and prepare yourself, things actually work out.
- Really bad things can happen to you and you will get over them, but may always struggle to find even a thread of patience with those who insist upon wallowing in self pity. Try anyway.
- You can find beauty in just about anything with little or no effort. People who can’t see it aren’t looking close enough.
- Be generous with yourself. It makes no sense to wait around for someone else to do it.
- Absolutely nothing horrible happens when you leave dishes in the sink at night, or your bed unmade in the morning.
- Acknowledge and work on your own shortcomings and you’ll be so busy you won’t have time to criticize others for theirs.
- It is more than possible to enjoy your own kids as teenagers. I’ve done it three times, and wouldn’t trade those years for toddlerhood if you paid me.
- Life is too short to eat packaged food made with highly processed ingredients. Learn how to cook with fresh ingredients. Yes, you have time. You’re welcome.
- The concept of Family is not something to be taken lightly. A bottle of wine can help.
- Quiet times during the day are the best, even if they’re only five minutes long and in a dark closet.
- It isn’t possible to watch Pride and Prejudice too many times no matter how much my son rolls his eyes.
- It’s important to pay attention to what’s going on in the world. It doesn’t always make sense, but ignoring it makes even less sense.
- Good friends are priceless.
- Deep and lasting love is about Learning, Appreciation, and Compromise. Being silly frequently doesn’t hurt, either.
- It is more than possible to appreciate the way your body looks, even though it’s rounder and more soft than it used to be, and lined and marked where it used to be smooth. Well, mine is.
So, Happy 52nd Birthday to me! Since most of the Bloggosphere seems to be made up of twenty and thirty somethings with very young children and who often write about aging, I hope this helps you know that life is good after 39 — in fact, better. It’s all about attitude.
And and occasional masque using French clay and lots of moisturizer.