Standing on the stairs waiting to get into my apartment building, two young twenty-something girls walked past me. They smelled like Coppertone and future with their flip-flops and cute bathing suit cover-ups. Their hair was long, and undoubtedly they used a product that made it look like perfectly effortless beach hair. I stood there in the sun with a pashmina over my shoulders and sweat pants because I was cold upstairs in my apartment. I was only outside for a second helping Rob, and I wasn’t twenty-something. My skin is starting to thin, and my blood is even thinner. As they politely said hello to the old lady standing on the stairs, I wondered if they knew they had so much in front of them. Everything that was behind me was right there in front of them for the taking. It made me a little sad.
It’s weird being almost fifty, but still feeling like you are thirty-something. There are so many things you feel like you can still do. Then you look at the clock; it’s 6:00 pm and you realize you’ve eaten dinner, watched the news and are starting to wind down for the night. Your fifty-year-old self couldn’t imagine at 8:30 pm, getting showered, dressed, putting on a full face of makeup, and going to the newest place downtown. The place that served pretentious drinks called “Pious Aspirations” which is essentially a Cosmopolitan for $12.00. Your fifty-year-old self will never feel that thrill from the cute guy at the end of the bar offering to buy you one of those $12.00 drinks. Instead, that same cute guy is going to hold the door open for you and smile sweetly at you because you remind him of his mom. When I was in my early thirties with long brown hair, big brown eyes, and a cute car, I would almost always have a creepy truck driver honk his horn at me. Now if someone is honking their horn at me while I’m driving, I stick my hand out the window and shake my old lady fist at them.
I like being an almost fifty-year-old woman. I like the security it brings me. I like not having to go out there and hustle for every dollar I make. I like not having to have two jobs to make my rent. I like being in a long-term, comfortable relationship with my husband. I like not being told to eat something green every day. I like crawling into my bed at the end of the day and feeling great. I feel great about myself, my day, and I like not having to worry about tomorrow. I like the comfortableness that age brings. I still have those big brown eyes, but I like my short gray hair.
In the blink of an eye, you’re fifty. You have adult, children. You get cold when the fan blows on you. You take a sweater to the movie theater in the summer. You like to be home as the sun is setting. You enjoy climbing into bed with the same guy for over ten years. You enjoy lower car insurance. You start getting AARP flyers in the mail and actually bring them inside to look through. You are wiser. You are more content with who you are. You are more aware of the world around you, and you stop actually to smell the roses. You occasionally, look at a long flight of concrete stairs and grab the handrail, so you don’t go flying down them and break a leg, an arm or, God forbid, a hip. You can eat ice cream for dinner if you want to, because, well, just because. I miss my twenty and thirty something self, but I’m in love with my almost fifty-year-old self.
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