A few weeks ago, I attended a 50th birthday bash replete with beer, karaoke, ‘80s music, wigs (of course) and a freshly minted AARP card. As a drunken reveler wrapped me in crepe paper while singing “99 Luftballons” in German (don’t ask), I realized that my friend’s party was the first of what promised to be a slew of half-century parties over the next few years as I, myself, will turn 50 next year.
I needed to pace myself. Nurse a seltzer.
Fifty? Seriously? I’m in this strange mash-up of a grand denial and a “no kidding; I’m 50, kiddo” kind of headspace. Many days I wonder when I stopped being 22, and other days I feel like, oh have I been there and, oh, have I done THAT. Many lives have been lived.
As I live out this final year of 40s, it has already been a scary mix of illness and renovation. (Literal and figurative – we’re renovating our kitchen! Right after cancer! I am crazy!) My body is recovering, my mind is considering new directions and my hair is unexpectedly short and white-gray. From a certain angle, I look like Mike Pence. Not a look I never planned for, but there it is. We roll with it. I imagine that’s 50.
But I don’t know — yet.
Earlier this year, we did a “25” issue, honoring our youth and the youth that surrounds us, confounds us, inspires us. Here we are 25 years later. We ask the age old Talking Heads query: Is this our beautiful house? Is this our beautiful life?
I’m hopeful that I begin my 50s bursting with ideas, focus and direction, finally understanding what it is I’m meant to do with my life. Right? To dedicate my life to social good! To be the new bass player in the Pixies! Problem is, I’m now old enough to have been in a band briefly and realized that it was as much about unloading equipment at 3 a.m. as it was singing “Gouge Away.” Whomp-whomp. Ok, I’m in a bit of a first-world Eyeore funk. I’ll admit it. I’m allowed. I’m almost 50, dammit.
For more perspective, we turn to our awesome writers who talk about the big 5-0 in their own defiantly individual ways, thankyouverymuch.
- Nancy Davis Kho turns 50 in the most Gen-X way possible
- Carolyn Edgar gets her first ink at 50
- Stacy Morrison is blonde in a way she has never been before
- Susan Ito respects her 50-year-old body for what it can (and can’t) do
- Laurie White asks 15 women what 50 means to them
MORE AGE-Y GOODNESS:
- At 50: Loving Pamela Adlon’s new show Better Things, a fun, dark series that’s a “welcome flip of the bird” on parenting, ageism, sexism.
- At 51: Sarah Jessica Parker is now talking divorce and the city. And it looks like a bummer.
- At 50: Star Trek is our age. Weird.
- At 47: “I am the first generation of this kind of woman: the kind of woman whose traditions and values are being written right now.” — Stacy London
- At 100: Beautiful portraits of those 50 years beyond.
- People who turned 50 this year that will make you go WTF? Janet Jackson! Not Dee!