Writing about age in my last post got me thinking about how I was feeling in years past. Thank goodness I have a tendency to write small articles that I end up shoving in a file on my desk top. This morning I opened up the file that said Turning Fifty. I read the first article. Aside from the consistent theme that it is really time for me to grow-up, I think I have come to terms with my old age. In two short years, my boys have changed so much, but so have I. So, does this mean that in two years from now when Kyle leaves home I will feel differently than I do now? And what about my 13-year-old? When he goes off to college, I'll be 56-years-old, certainly there is the possibility that I will be grown up by then. God willing, I guess I'll have to wait and see. In the mean time here is the article I wrote two years ago almost to the day.
To me there is nothing extraordinary about turning fifty. My husband of seventeen years just did it a week ago. He had no fits of anguish or rage. He didn’t bleach his hair, wax his graying chest hair, or bang a blond (at least not to my knowledge). I gave him a card that read, “Fifty is the new Forty….And I’m the Queen of England.” I don’t think I realized how true that card was until today. Exactly three months, to the day, before my own fiftieth birthday.
The day started out innocently enough. I had a meeting about my youngest son at his school and then errands. But it was my time. And after a long summer, “my time” seems pretty strange. I ended up in a boutique in a posh area of Marin County. I just wanted to look around and peek at the upcoming fall fashions. Since leaving New York thirteen years ago, I feel a need to at least attempt to keep up with the trends. I was met head on by three Ross Valley house wives chatting in the dressing room.
Now, I have never felt out of place in my life. I grew up in the heart of Beverly Hills, moved to Manhattan and managed to make friends and feel like part of the party wherever I went. Marin County has been a little different. But I have managed to find my own friends who I think like me even if they find me a bit quirky. Which to me is so funny because I think of myself as quite ordinary. These three blonds really didn’t have time for me.
I found myself a pretty white shirt that I tried on in the middle of the store because I just didn’t want to go back to the dressing room and listen the gals chit chat about the upcoming Ross Valley fund raiser. Similar moments have happened to me in the past, but today for some reason I felt like I was trapped in a Fellini film. They sized me up and decided I was not one of them and that was that. Fine with me. Fine with me until I met up with the perkiest of the bunch while we stood in line to pay for our recent acquisitions. I heard her say that her birthday was in December and growing up she just hated her birthstone. Her birthstone is turquoise, I know, because it is my birthstone. I told her that when I was growing up, turquoise was cool. Innocent enough. She looked right at me and said that when she grew up turquoise was not at all cool. She went as far as to say that she does remember her mother just loving the stone!
I was stunned. She didn’t even have the decency to pretend we were about the same age. I scrutinized the lines on her face and the texture of her hands. Did I look older than her? I think not. At least not that much older. And today was a good day. I had washed my hair, even blown it dry and was feeling O.K. Make-up might have helped but who can be bothered?
I left the store quickly and didn’t really think about the encounter again until I sat myself at a bookstore with a cup of coffee, a sandwich and a good design magazine. I looked up and saw a middle-aged man working intently on his computer with smudged reading glasses sitting gently on his nose. I liked this guy. This was my type of people. I felt better. After I picked out a book on Mother Theresa for my son I found myself driving towards home.
My mind wonders when I find myself doing mindless acts. So you can pretty much say my mind wanders a lot these days because 90 percent of what I do is mindless. What hit me today, hit me hard. I am confused. I haven’t been confused for thirty-five years. But now, hitting almost fifty, I am confused. Am I not supposed to be getting wiser as I age? Isn’t that the one great advantage? Who am I? What do I want to do with my life? Do I really care what people think of me? OMG, I feel like I am going through puberty again. I laughed out loud in my car. My oldest son just went through puberty. My younger son is just starting. Now their mother has to go through it too. Haven’t I grown-up yet?
To make matters worse, bursts of anger can explode out of me unprovoked at anytime. Yes, worse than my teen-age son, I roll my eyes at the stupidity of whoever is around me. This time there is no one there to reprimand me, so I get away with my hissy fit. “It’s just mom going through the change.” HAVEN’T I ALREADY DONE THIS? DO I REALLY HAVE TO DO THIS AGAIN?
This time I am not rebelling. This time they call it menopause. I wasn’t so good at it this the first time. Maybe I can try and hold on to my dignity. I am almost fifty you know.
Quickly my mind wanders to my best friend of forty-five years who is still living in Beverly Hills. She is my age exactly, gorgeous, and weighs maybe 102 pounds soaking wet. And she just went in for a tummy tuck. What the hell for I want to scream. But somehow I understand it is what she needs right now because SHE IS PROBABLY CONFUSED TOO.
Then I think of my friend who lives near me. She is a few years older, and thus wiser I always thought. She is training for a marathon and is going to run eighteen miles tomorrow in a practice run. I think eighteen miles is a long way to drive. WHAT IS SHE THINKING? Could she also be confused?
I need to call them and tell them we are going though puberty again. They’ll understand even if no one else does.