I’m sitting here watching the Olympics with a bottle of Advil in one hand and a fairly decent wine in the other, as they talk about how distressingly old the 35-year-old athlete is and what a marvel it is that she can still stand without, you know, her knees breaking or her hair falling out mid-performance, and my snarl is so apparent that my husband asks me what’s wrong.
So I thought it would be a good time to list all the reasons that being in one’s 50s is so freakin’ amazing… lest I forget and this snarl becomes permanent like a facelift gone wrong.
1. You now know that achievement isn’t everything.
You can probably just enjoy life now without needing constant validation. Your hormones aren’t telling you to rise to the top of the chimpanzee troupe so you will survive. (Or the Bonobo troupe – did you know they are female dominated and they resolve most things through affection and, well also some sex, but yeah, not through fighting. Look it up! Start a Bonobo awareness group! Because if you’re a parent, then your kids are probably gone and you’re empty nesting and you can do ridiculous, superfluous things like that now! Which brings me to…)
2. If you are a parent, you’re probably empty nesting!
*(And if you’re not, your friends who are, are suddenly very available to hang out with you!) But if you are…. This. Is. Good. Yes if it’s your first year you’ll probably cry every time you uncover a toddler photo of your kid in a Yoda Halloween costume as you clean out your basement (see #4) — and I mean the first Yoda, not baby Yoda because you’re that old — but eventually you’ll remember: OH RIGHT. I LOVE TO TRAVEL! Go book something. Even if it’s just to stay with a girlfriend for the weekend. But make sure it’s spontaneous. So you can smirk and say, “I can be so spontaneous these days!” And your 30-40 year old friends with kids will be jealous and you’ll feel a tiiiiiiny bit better as you watch them take Zumba without pulling their hamstrings.
3. You probably have more money now. Spend some of it!
This can be on a fancy coffee or a new home, I have no idea what your financial situation is. But we can stop at least acting chintzy. You ain’t got that much time left, girl, so start treating yourself like it’s your last few decades… because, um, it is. Let’s enjoy it.
4. Cleaning out your basement makes you realize you’ve had a rich life.
OMG, look at that pink pussy hat you saved even though you only wore it to that one protest! Your best friend’s under water wedding pictures! That Christmas card from a friend with all kinds of pandemic jokes in it that at the time weren’t in the least bit funny but now that we’re almost through it, it’s kind of charming. That program you saved from seeing “Book of Mormon,” unadvisedly with your mother-in-law. You have had a rich life! Look how cool you are!
5. You have friends that you’ve known since college.
And that’s over THIRTY years now. Good god. But this is amazing because they get you. They remind you that yes, you’ve always had a bit of trouble getting through January so don’t freak out, it’ll get easier when the days get longer. They knew your mom when she was still dying her hair. They remember that time you broke up with that guy who gave you that STD in your senior year of college. They drank wine with you, hidden in a little travel mug at your kids’ endless violin recital and no one knew. You don’t have to explain the backstory when you’re having problems with your relationship because you’ve been telling them the backstory for 20 years. And you know theirs. 30-year-olds don’t have this. Now gloat.
6. And finally, as everyone on the planet keeps trying to remind themselves: You’re a grown ass woman
The least of which is the fact that you get to say, “I’m a grown ass woman!” like all the cool people, loudly and emphatically whenever something comes up that you don’t want to do or even do want to do. In other words, you get to make your own decisions and if others don’t like it? They can kiss your grown ass.
So. There you have it. And that’s a pretty good list. I’ll take it. With my Advil. And wash it down with this fairly good, expensive glass of wine.