Turning 50. Yipee!

50 or SO what?

50 or SO what?

I just turned 50.  I didn’t freak out or cry.  I didn’t buy a sports car or get a facelift.  Things are different, however.  In just a short time, I’m finding fifty-year-olds surprisingly friendly. “Welcome to the club,” most of them say to me. Gosh, nobody has ever welcomed me anywhere like this crew. I even got a special card from complete strangers promoting the 50 and up club called AARP. I didn’t have to ask! Wow. It sure is nifty to be fifty with all these great friends. I’m noticing some other changes too.

 

"Welcome Card."

“Welcome Card.”

First, a couple of my older siblings sent me birthday greetings, an unusual occurrence. Maybe because after all these years of me trying to hang with the big dogs they see me as an equal.  That’s what it was like when I was nine and they were nineteen.  One older sister sent me a bouquet of black roses made of duct tape and Papermate pens; I’m not sure black roses are a common experience for anyone. Beats getting a box of Depends and a heck of a lot more useful.  I will laugh with every note or check I write.  My boys won’t take them to school either.  My younger siblings sent pretty bouquets, also not a usual occurrence. I don’t think I ever got this much attention at any age from my loving siblings.

 

Can't lose these pens.

Can’t lose these pens.

The second thing I’ve noticed at fifty: I care less, about everything. Or as one member of the 50s welcome committee stated, “Welcome to the club of who gives a s#$%!” Maybe that’s why I don’t feel like I’ve got to do something important in the New Year like climb Machu Picchu, lose ten pounds or please everyone I meet. I thought I would feel this way at 40, an overnight sensation. I wanted it to happen. Looked for it to happen. It didn’t happen. I still cared, just maybe a little less because somebody who crossed the forty-year-old border before me said I would.

 

For my 50th birthday I didn’t have any expectations. I wasn’t looking for pressure and angst to click off automatically. I wouldn’t have even noticed except I didn’t feel a tug to set a new goal on New Years or my birthday, practically one in the same since they are days apart. I usually have oodles of plans.

Pretty in Pink at 50!

Pretty in Pink at 50!

Feeling nothing is kind of cool and kind of unsettling. I’m not alone. Another of my experienced 50-year-old friends said, “I used to be so on top of holiday cards and scrap books, not anymore.” Me too! I was so grateful for the selfie sensation making it possible to send out a less than perfect photo in our holiday card. (I did not look good, even in black and white to hide the wrinkles.) So, I told her I feel the same way and I think it’s because we just don’t care. This was five days before actually turning fifty. I’m just now making sense of it all, because I’m three days into fifty.

 

Thirdly, I hear and see more clearly. Suddenly, I’m having conversations and I hear the real message, reading between the lines so to speak. I’ve always had a pretty good sixth sense but now the volume is cranked; I am inside the person’s head. I switched oral surgeons because the first one I met seemed as though he didn’t believe his recommendations. I could not let him touch my child’s wisdom teeth if he didn’t like or respect his career. I’ve also noticed people I saw as a genius, were not as smart as I thought. They just stated information more confidently so I believed them over my gut, not any more.

 

With all this not giving a s#$% and seeing through the bull s#$% I relapsed into 40-year-old behavior for a second; I worried I was becoming cynical, a Debbie Downer. My husband, nine months older and more experienced set me straight, “You are wiser and more confident.” My older and wiser self believes him and I’m very happy about my new perspective. Fifty is pretty nifty and comes with lots of new friends, sibling attention and a shiny red membership card.

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The University of British Columbia was the last stop on the Summer 2014 college tour.  The other schools we toured included:  University of Oregon, University of Washington and University of Puget Sound. As long as we were in Seattle, we thought a “quick” drive across the Canadian border to Vancouver would make a fine stop. (Not quick!)  …

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