I am over the age of 50. That makes me a member of AARP. I never applied to be a member of AARP, it just happens. Like death and taxes. One day you’re 49 and the next you are 5 decades old and you get an envelope in the mail telling you that you belong to a club of old people. What?! I didn’t join the club. I don’t want to be a member. I am still young. There must be some mistake as I am not an old person. But, the truth is, I am. I am at least halfway done with life and I can’t decide what I think about that fact. On one hand, the aches and pains that used to come and go depending on my level of activity now just seem to hang around a lot longer. I’m not sleeping well at night. My hair is laced with grey (which I promptly cover-up at Juut, thank you very much). My friends are planning weddings. Not for themselves but for their kids. Some have even become GRANDPARENTS. WTH?! I’m not ready for that. I still feel – at least emotionally – like I did a few decades ago. I haven’t gained the wisdom or the sage-like perspective that I thought came with age. I am still the same dork I was in my 30s but just in a squishier container. Ugh.
I was talking to a friend this morning who mentioned that she recently heard a female lecturer who stated that she no longer accepts engagements to speak if they make her wear a suit or make her eliminate portions of her lecture. She told the audience to be who they are and to not let others limit you. I think that by the time one is 50+ you do learn to be more authentic. You become less flexible in your willingness to do things you don’t want to do. You stop going to social engagements you don’t want to attend. You stop worrying about keeping up with the Joneses; you don’t care if you’re not wearing the latest fashion-forward trends; you realize that if people aren’t enriching your life, it is time to move on.
The hard part is having your kids move on with their lives and you realize that all your role as an active parent is over. You keep your fingers crossed that all of those life lessons you imparted and the molding that you did during their formative years has taken root. You hope that your kids make good life decisions and that they live full and satisfying lives. That they choose partners that will support them and enrich their lives. You watch and support them when they ask for it but boy oh boy it is hard to flip that switch from active parent to infrequent life coach. Then you look at yourself and try and decide what to do with all that extra time and emotional effort. In my case, I channel a lot of my maternal energy into my dog. He hears more baby talk than a canine should have to endure. I am doing more art and trying to read more books. I am nesting a lot more, tweaking my home so that there is no need to ever venture out at night. I go to work, I come home, take off my bra and make-up and it pretty much would take an act of Congress to get me to go out at night. I am now over 50 and that means I get to binge watch Netflix without the fear of missing out on something more important. I get to make craft cocktails anytime I damn well please and I get eat gummy bears and Cheetos for dinner if I want to. Hum, maybe being over 50 isn’t such a bad thing after all. AARP, here I come.