Tuesday, June 01, 2010


So today I turn fifty and I thought I ought to say something about this momentous occasion. I don't have any particular wisdom to impart so I'll just share some random thoughts about the whole thing. To all my peers, NHS class of '78, this one's for you:

- First of all I have to say that fifty really is old. You can no longer put a good spin on it and saying "Fifty is the new forty" does not make it so. No matter how you slice it you are well into middle age and on your way to old age. But I don't find this dismaying--instead I find it liberating.We are grownups and we can stop running so fast and let those younger people carry some of the weight. At last we have arrived.

-At fifty you should stop trying to suck your stomach in. As a friend once said, "The other day I noticed the cat was sitting on my lap. Then I remembered I don't have a cat." The point is, by 50 everyone has a cat sitting on his or her lap. Stop trying to fight it. Enjoy your cat. Exhale.

-We are happier: new studies out just this week declare it so. Happiness peaks at 18, declines rapidly as the real world throws its crap at us and doesn't pick up again until we are 50. So if you feel as good as you did your senior year in high school, you are probably 50 or older. Life IS good.

-People who fight too hard against aging look foolish. Madonna and Melanie Griffith come to mind. Yes they might be thinner or tauter but they are also kind of freaky. They do not look better. So do not try to be like them. As my friend Christie Mellor says in the title of her book, "You Look Fine, Really". Most people would rather look at Meryl Streep than Madonna. Embrace your inner Meryl Streep.

-And finally, when you have an older sister, mother, and grandmother still alive and all quite active, how old can you really feel? Yes, when my sister got her first AARP card (8 years ago) she said it made her feel old. Then my mom pointed out that when your first child gets her AARP card you feel old. Then my grandma chimed in saying that when your first grandchild gets her AARP card you feel really old. So how old can I feel? We have many more years ahead and miles to go before we sleep. Just ask my grandma.

Happy birthday to the class of '78. Happy birthday to us all.


  1. Happy Birthday to a 50 year old with no cat in her lap!

  2. I didn't notice any cat last time I was there either, happy birthday!

  3. Ha! Love the line about your Grandma's observation. Classic. Happy B-day, Judy!

  4. A friend told me fifty is the old age of youth and the youth of old age. I like the sound of that. It's as though you get the best of both worlds. Although, she also says that women don't sweat. They glisten. While standing behind the plate to umpire a recess kickball game melting in the humid Iowa heat like the Wicked Witch of the West, I wasn't glistening. So, she may have merely lucked out with that first expression. Or, like horoscopes, you believe them when they're good ones.
    Happy birthday, Cuz!