Wisdom isn't an old guy on the top of a mountain with a loin-cloth and waist-length hair. Wisdom isn't an answer. Wisdom is a question. I went to see a shrink once. And I was so disappointed that the shrink didn't have a big bag of answers. I came to be very grateful for it later, that what they have is a big bag of questions. You have the answers. Wisdom is the constant questioning of where you are.
Yesterday we had a little advance celebration for my 50th birthday which comes later this month. When I was a kid, 50 year olds were, in my mind, ladies in polyester house dresses with weekly wash and sets – steel coloured hair sitting in uniform rolls around puffy, long-suffering faces. I don’t remember ever picturing myself as that matronly 50 year old, but then when you’re nine, 50 is a million years away.
I still refuse to refer to myself as “old” or “getting up there” because it’s true that once you start calling yourself old, you get old. And I can say, with gratitude, that I continue to like myself better as each birthday comes and goes, despite the effects that damned gravity has on my outer aspect. And boy do I love what 50 has become – we’re active, vibrant, sexual, vocal, important, participating members of our communities.
Roll on sisters. Whether you’ve already seen 50 come and go, or will be someday soon, you’re beautiful. In fact – us gals in the 50-Club – beautiful thing number 29.
Beautiful thing sighting today: Two elderly ladies sitting on a bench at the mall waiting for a taxi. One has a walker. The other one reaches over and pats her forearm, not in a mild way, but with a robustness that comes with years and familiarity. Giving the arm a squeeze she leans in and nudges her friend with her shoulder and says something in Italian.
I don’t know what she said but the gesture said, “I love hanging out with you pal.”
(that'll be number 21)
Last evening I’m having dinner with my girls and we’re watching The Who perform during the Super Bowl halftime. I remark that while Roger’s voice has lost a bit of its loudness, the band still rocks it as powerfully as they ever did.
I mention to the girls that I actually remember when people questioned whether this band could legitimately perform these youth anthems in their 30s. And they asked the same question when they got to their 40s. And their 50s…
“It won’t be long these guys will be in their 70s” I say as Pete kicks out a burning solo. “Can they still be valid doing those songs in their 70s?”
“Yeah sure, why not?” was the thought all around.
I’m travelling down the path toward 50, and feel healthy and still youthful in my way of life and attitude. As such I truly believe that age is a number on my birth certificate, and does not dictate a way of life. If you act old, you’ll be old.
It’s kind of nice to know my twenty-something girls think this too.