50 is looking at me from around the corner. She’s not pretty.
I should say that these days, I recognize that 50 is no longer considered old. And most of the time, I don’t feel old. I should also say that I’m quite grateful to have relatively good health, and a lot of lovely people in my life.
And I’ve been happier in my 40s than any other decade of my life. So maybe that’s why I’ve got my claws in them, hoping that if I hold on tight enough with my hands (which, I should note here, have so little collagen left in them that the skin flaps in the breeze of a strong hand dryer like a Golden Retriever out the window of a moving car), that somehow I’ll just stay here.
I started my 40s with 6- and 2-year-old sons, who are now in high school and about to head to middle school. That’s probably good, because I don’t think I could pick up even the smaller versions of them these days. You know, tendonitis in my shoulder.
As my 40s progressed, I developed arthritis in a knee, broke one ankle (and then in a supreme stroke of bad luck – and clumsiness – broke it again just 16 months later). So I guess the good news here is that I leave my 40s with an expensive souvenir – a titanium plate and a handful of screws – that I didn’t come in with. And some super cool orthotics for my shoes (which, in case you were concerned about me breaking another ankle, need to be flats these days).
I learned in my 40s that I can no longer eat whatever I want (which, by the way, would probably be pasta and ice cream) and still fit into whatever clothes I want (which would be skinny jeans and a white t-shirt. And since I can no longer find a white t-shirt that is much thicker than dollar store tissue paper, this is overall just a pretty bad look. And not just for me).
A great night’s sleep is now elusive. If anyone within about a one-mile radius wakes up at 2:00 a.m. and turns on a light, I’ll be up for an hour. The bright side of this is that I can grab my phone and spend the hour productively, taking quizzes on Facebook about what kind of tattoo I should get, or which country I should be living in. My only hope is that it might be daytime in whatever that country is.
The one really deep wrinkle I have is about a half-inch vertical line next to my right eyebrow. My main concern, though, is that it’s just going to continue to deepen, and my face is just going to crack in half right down the middle. And moving further down my face — now I understand why Nora Ephron wrote a book called I Feel Bad About My Neck. Because I do.
I feel bad about my eyes too. I’ve been wearing glasses since I was seven, and contacts since I was 16. But now I can’t see much at all in the dark (thanks, iPhone, for putting that flashlight app on there for people like me who are trying to get through a dimly lit parking lot at 9:00 p.m. — because, really I can’t stay out much later than that anymore). And I have reading glasses scattered about the house; I guess it’s not bad enough that I can’t see anything far away or in the dark. Now I can’t see anything close either. At least I still have a superb sense of smell.
I’m sure there’s more, but you know, I can’t remember what.