I may be a bit excited about turning 50 this year. Honestly, I remember being in my 20’s and wondering if I would be young enough to still want to party on New Years in 1999 (I was pregnant with the Ozman and in bed by 10. I found it annoying as F! that Texans wanted to shoot off 30 minutes of fireworks when the clock turned to a new century. Didn’t they know I was sleeping???!!!) OH, also, this year we made it until 11 or so on New Year’s Eve. What I’ve learned is to be efficient when it comes to partying. Drink wine; get sleep. Done and done.
For some reason, 50 is special. Now, admittedly I have a couple of more months and shit could turn before then. If so, that sucks. But according to USAW, I’m a 50 so I get to behave as if I’m a 50. Suck it 40’s! So in the spirit of being a 50, here are some lessons learned in the last half century:
Learn: my Grandpa took painting lessons when he was long past retirement. I remember that being a cool thing. I have some of his paintings, they are treasured. Never stop learning. I know too many 30-somethings who think they have nothing to learn. They are among the stupidist people I know. I have worked among engineers long enough to know that they hate to admit when they don’t know something. In my opinion, it is their biggest weakness. Allowing yourself to learn is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. If you have a low enough self esteem where you believe admitting you don’t know something makes you look bad, well, too late. You already look bad. If only to yourself. Never stop learning. Learning is cool.
Live with passion: find what you want to be passionate about and hit it hard. This is between you and the universe. Your passion and you answer to no one. I believe this is the biggest stumbling block when people want to follow a passion, they are afraid of what those close to them will think. Look (shit get’s serious when you say, ‘look’), I just saw an episode of House Hunters where the husband had about 9 boxes of board games because he writes a board games blog and needed one whole room just for his games. I thought it was stupid. But this is his passion so F! me. You go guy! There is a club full of people here in town called the Milwookies. Needless to say, they are a bit crazy for Star Wars. I thought they were morons, even if they are actually quite smart in various fields. But the whole Star Wars thing was a bit much. Guess what? Who cares what I think! This is something that brought a very eclectic group of people together to form a very strong friendship. Good on them (but I was still relieved when I didn’t have to go to their parties anymore. It was too much for me and their parties always had the shittiest food possible which would send me on a fat girl bender for about 2 weeks.) Go after your passions, F! the detractors. And on that note…
…Never allow others to disrespect what you’ve worked for. Ever. This one is personal. Years ago, when I decided to try to compete in weightlifting, I called it Olympic Weightlifting (now I say nothing unless asked what my next competition is. Just easier that way.) When my mom would ask what I’m doing and I would say, Olympic Weightlifting, she would snarkely (totally a word) say, “OH, are you going to the Olympics?” No, no I’m not. Ever. Unless it’s as a spectator. But guess what. There is a very large space of ‘watch what happens’ in between nothing and the Olympics. Maybe an America Master’s championship. Maybe a World Master’s silver medal. Maybe just simply the respect of others in the field for working hard and being coach-able. Maybe training hard for a Master’s National Championship. If nothing else, I’ll step up on that platform. (There was a bit of fuel on the fire here for this one when both she and my dad would go on and on about how awesome my brother in law did in his softball beer league. They went to the games. Sometimes, even being a forgetful 50 doesn’t make you forget the hurtful stuff you’d like to;) Heh.
Be trustworthy: I have mentioned before and I guess I’ll say it again, when something is told to me in confidence, it goes to the grave. If someone else asks a direct question about it, I will look them directly in the eye and say I don’t know anything about it. Many things exist only between me and someone else. This makes it non-existent for others. You may call it a lie. Don’t care. I have been affected this year by people I trusted who shared personal information with others as gossip. I don’t know why. These were people I thought were safe. I was wrong. Lesson learned. It hurt a bit, but you know me, I bounce back.
Make your word count: this goes a bit to the above. When I give my word, I mean it. Others around me know that. The more you water down your word with half truths; non-action, and failing to follow through with things you’ve said you would do, the less your word means to those around you. Do your co-workers see your word as solid but those at home don’t? If so, you’re missing the point. This is probably colored slightly by the hypocrisy of living in a Pastor’s home, but it’s a good policy to be the same person in every situation. Do what you say and say what you do. Sounds simple, eh?
If people are shitty, they won’t change: move on. Fast. Even if people aren’t shitty but bring stress or frustration to your life, move on. We’ve learned a lot about this in 2016, mostly due to things we were going through here. What are the situations that brings more stress than we had realized into our home? Ya, avoid those. Even if, at times, they are fun. It’s okay to love people from afar, wish good things for them but understand exactly what the relationship brings to you and knowing when it’s not awesome. NOTE: strive for awesome.
Take time to heal: mentally and physically. Look, we live in a fast world with so many distractions to keep us far from being grounded that to take time to heal is almost looked at negatively. What the actual fuck is wrong with healing? One thing social media does is give us a birds eye view of when someone is on the path to crash and burn. People may have even seen it in my training the last few years (thank a lot for saying something. Dicks.) We’re athletes who believe in pushing hard to meet goals and especially as Master’s athletes, we know the clock is ticking on what we’ll be able to do while watching that performance line start a steady line downwards. Sucks. But we must take time to heal. From injury; overtraining; illness; a season of competition; bad coaching, to name a few. And that’s just physically. If needed, we must take time to heal our mind. Negative self-talk; painful personal situations; betrayal. Whatever it is, stop using the world to avoid healing. Heal. And then move on. Live a beautiful life. Stop living in your pain. What a shitty way to go through life, refusing to step away from your pain. Heal. It is very likely that you are loved. Live loved.
Invest in your tribe: I’ve written about this a lot lately. I can do better at this. I have some ideas, time will tell if I’m successful. We have an amazing tribe and in many ways, Matt and I are still walking the earth together because of them. That’s how vital they are to our world. I worry sometimes that I don’t give back enough to what they give me. I hope I do. But I can improve. I’ll let you know at 60 if I’ve been successful. Heh.
Take care of your home and your car: seriously. Maybe it’s because being homeless as a child and with children was a very real possibility at times in my life and/or maybe because I’ve only had three cars in my lifetime (my 2005 Tahoe only has 210,000 miles on it which means I have another 2-3 years with her. Matt took her to get the oil changed about a month ago because it was past due. The oil changer guy came in and said the oil actually looked good and didn’t really need a change. Matt told him to change it, that the reason everything looks good is because of the care I give my car. True story.) I remember when I moved here, I was talking to Matt’s mom and whined a bit that not one piece of furniture made the move without a nick or an actual chunk taken out of it. Her reply? “That’s okay, it’s just stuff.” Uhhhhhhh, no. It’s not okay. It’s MY stuff and I take care of my things. I didn’t grow up in a world where stuff was just shit that could be replaced constantly. If I broke my doll, I now had a broken doll. There was no clergy money tree out front. So I took care of my stuff because I knew that it’s all I had. Same goes with my car. Now, it does have bumps and bruises and probably dog hair all over the back of it. But she’s loved and I’m thankful for her steady performance. I’m also thankful for an amazing mechanic up the block who helps me take care of her. I once read an article where a potential boss would ask to take an interviewee to lunch if things were going well and then make that person drive to see what kind of condition their car was in. I liked that. If you treat your car like a garbage can and your home is falling apart around you while you sit and watch 5 hours of television a night, it speaks volumes to what kind of person you are. Barf. Don’t be that kind of person.
Live with romance: this has been a big one for me lately. One of the hardest things for this former single mom is to quiet the masculine side of my personality. I had to be mom and dad for many years and many of those years were tough. I had no time for frivolities and I kind of forgot how to even want those. And now I’m a 50 and married to a wonderful man. So I not only WANT to girly up, but I need to. However, I need help with that. So I’ve asked for more romance from the Bigg guy and he’s working on it. But I don’t want other women to wait until they’re 50. More Nora Roberts, less Stephen King. Heh. Not really, but kinda. Feminists want women to believe that they can do everything a man can do and then some. Well, sure. Whatever (rolls eyes.) Somewhere along the last 40+ years, no one came back and said hey wait a minute, I like being a woman who is taken care of by a man. I like being the weaker sex (sure I’m weaker to Matt but not to many other 50’s chicks in the world. heeeheeee.) I want to be nurtured and treated as if I’m something special. Why is that bad? Probably because the feminazi’s would come back with YOU TRAITOR, HOW DARE YOU LET A MAN OPEN YOUR DOOR! Matt and I were at his favorite beer bar one winter night a couple of years ago. A couple around our ages (I’m horrid at guessing peoples ages) came in and the man helped the woman get her coat off. Yes, he also helped her get it back on when they left (yes, we stayed there a while.) It was very sweet and something I haven’t seen in quite a while. And for those living without a partner right now? Romance yourself. No, pervs, I don’t mean that. If you don’t have anyone buying your flowers, go buy some yourself. I love flowers, especially bedside flowers. Lily’s and tiny roses and carnations in a pretty vase on my nightstand gives me joy and makes me feel girly all day long. Don’t let anyone tell you that wanting to feel pretty is a silly thing. Hell I tell my beautiful friend, Victoria, every time I see her that I’d dress so much prettier if we lived closer. But we don’t, so tank tops and leggings it is. But I’m working on it.
Be authentic: I’ve written enough about this. Do it or don’t, but believe me, you’ll like yourself a lot better if you live with your shortcomings out there in the open rather than live in a bubble of bullshit. ‘Nuff said.
Lastly, but certainly not least (and don’t call me Shirley)…
…A good night’s sleep is everything. I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a good sleeper. Or at least, I wasn’t. 7-9 hours a night is standard for me now. Something I learned back in November when I backed way off of my training is that I was only sleeping about five hours a night but felt pretty refreshed. My body adjusted to a need for less sleep and I thought that was pretty cool. Once training started ramping back up, so did the need for more sleep. And I get it. Matt is looking into getting a sleep study done and hopefully finding more restful sleep. That would be good for him. Nothing good comes from being overtired. Nothing. Chronic fatigue poisons everything physically and mentally in your life. If you need a nap, go take a 10 minute nap (I adore 10 minute naps.) Value sleep. Give it the attention it needs. Your life will thank you.
OH! Here’s a few honorable mentions:
Eat right. If you don’t know what that means, find someone who does. Food is the biggest drug. It can kill you or it can cure you (to a point, obviously.) It can age you and it can help keep you “young.” It can make you feel like shit or like a Ferrari. Be a Ferrari.
Be loyal, but not to assholes. If you think your loyalty is wasted, take inventory on the situation. Could be that it is.
Let your children make mistakes. Being a bulldozer in front of them their whole childhood will make them fear life and will be your greatest failure. Trust your parenting. When they stumble, they may call for help. Help them without bailing them out (especially if they need bail.) Teach them how to walk the earth without you. And then be thankful when they can, but won’t want to.
Be proud of yourself. Yes, others being proud of you is good too. But others can feed you only so much. Feed yourself. Take pride in your life. If your life isn’t one to be proud of, fix it. Then be proud that you’ve adjusted.
Be nice. Even on the Facebook.
Try. You may fail, probably will along the way. That’s okay. Failing doesn’t mean you’re a failure. It just means you had the balls to try. Adjust, then try again.
There ya go. Words of a half centurion. They may mean something or may mean shit. But hey, I’m probably older than you so show tutu some respect! Heh.
I’m nearly 50. I’m past being photographed falling out of bars.