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Biting off more than I can chew

IMG_20170327_141052Part of a fairly frequent countdown to 50.

83. See what I did there? I’ve gone from a “daily countdown to 50” to a “fairly frequent” one.

Who’s surprised, really? I mean, a 100-day countdown is a fairly lofty project, really, and while I’m sure there are more than 100 reasons to look forward to my 50s, trying to locate them all while under pressure is kind of intense. It’s like going to the doctor with a full bladder because you know you’re going to have to pee in a cup, and then not being able to produce once you’re in the bathroom.

It’s exactly like that. Pressure is the devil.

I still hope to do a mostly daily countdown – provided I can perform under pressure – but 50 for molly3don’t be surprised if I miss a day here and there. Like yesterday. And Friday.

It was a bad weekend to be blogging – for no reason at all. I was out with a migraine on Friday (I get “weather headaches” like I’m a walking barometer – anyone else get those?) so Saturday’s post was a two-fer. Saturday morning I was part of a project covering the transfer of the final pediatric patients from our old children’s hospital to our brand new building, and then yesterday … Yesterday I was a sloth. I did manage to make it to the laundromat, but most of the day was spent watching season 3 of  “Grace and Frankie” on Netflix (if you haven’t see that show, you really should, it’s awesome).

Everyone needs a quiet weekend every now and then, and looking forward to my “summer of 50,” those kinds of slothing opportunities won’t come very often. Margaret Cho, Willie Nelson, Keith Urban, farmer’s markets, day trips – my summer is getting pretty booked.

And I like it that way.

 

 

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50 isn’t all that old – is it?

50 for molly3

Part of a daily countdown to 50.

86. Migraines are the devil. That’s my post for 86 days out. They’re evil.

85. I got a text this week from a high school friend who said she’d been reading these posts and they were making her feel old, that it “doesn’t seem possible” that we should be this old.

I totally agree. I certainly don’t feel the way my younger self perceived 50 would feel, I don’t think I look like I’m nearing 50 – at least, others seem surprised to hear that I’m close to that milestone.

Actually, I still kind of think of myself in my late 30s-early 40s. You know, not a kid anymore but nowhere near retirement age, either.

And then I think of my kids. And their friends.

How is it that I can have kids that are going to be 25 and 22 this year? (When I was 25, I had been married for two years and had just given birth to my first child.) How is it possible that several of my kids’ friends have kids of their own? Or are buying houses?

How has it been 30 years since U2 released “The Joshua Tree”? I remember several of my friends from college were going to see them in their concert stop in Kansas City that year and I begged and begged my parents to loan/give me money to buy a ticket. The concert came and went I didn’t get to go – only to learn a week later that my parents had, in fact, given me the money for the tickets. (We didn’t have ATMs then, and forget about online banking.)

How has it been 34 years since I first got my driver’s license in Missouri, or 32 years since I cast my first vote? How has it been 36 years since I first started paying into Social Security with a non-babysitting job? I should be 36, not have 36-year-old memories.

Now, suddenly, I feel old. I need a nap.

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Some things never change

20170323_094736

Part of a daily countdown to 50.

87. We’ve all heard the saying, “with age comes wisdom.” I’d say that’s mostly true – I’ve learned a lot over the years and often catch myself using another old saying, “if only I knew then what I know now.”

Sometimes – more often than I’d care to admit, actually – I find myself making the same mistakes, generally with the end result being the same injuries.

When I was 15, my parents sent me to modeling classes – not because I was some super-thin raving beauty (even at my thinnest, in photos above, I was a size 11 – well beyond the requirements for even “plus size” modeling) but, well, they thought I needed to learn how to walk properly.

It was a safe and correct assumption: I grew way too fast – I hit 6’0″ by the time I was 12 – and so did my feet – a women’s size 12, also by the age of 12 – so “balance” and “grace” weren’t exactly in my vocabulary. Before the classes, I’d fallen up a flight of stairs and ended up with a knee brace for six weeks, tripped over several of my sister’s dolls, got hit with a softball while trying to catch it because my feet got tangled up in each other – you see where this is going.

Fast-forward 35 years and I’m still having the same accidents, or at least the same kind. I’ve been sleeping in a queen-sized bed since college – which means I’ve made the bed thousands of times, walked around the bed even more. Yet I still somehow manage to break my little toe once every two or three years by ramming it into the leg of the frame. I still run into tall bookshelves in my office, or into door frames as I’m walking through them. Apparently I think I’m living a life-sized pinball game.

Not convinced? Here’s another one: I started curling my hair when I was in high school – with the exception of a few ill-conceived perms in the ’80s, that means I’ve put a curling iron to my head about 12,000 times, give or take a couple hundred.

Yet, without fail, every time I get a new curling iron I have to break it in by burning my forehead. Every. Single. Time. My arms are as long as they’ve always been. The barrel of the curling iron is the same size. Yet for some reason, I can’t seem to stop rolling my hair when the hot piece of metal gets too close to my face.20170323_161959

I just got a new curling iron this week because the cord on my last one split. Here’s what happened the first time I tried to use it. >

That shiny stuff on the injury is a first-aid ointment that will hopefully take some of the sting out. It works – until I go to spray hair spray. Ouch.

(And yes that’s me in the morning, sans makeup and with still-damp hair. Ten years ago this photo, if it appeared at all, would have had me with makeup and styled hair.)

I still also burn the roof of my mouth on that first piece of pizza, pull hangnails even though I know they’ll bleed, run my knees into the legs of the table and occasionally forget to duck when putting something in the back end of my Escape.

So there’s that.

 

 

 

 

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Staying out on a school night

20170322_193334Part of a daily countdown to 50.

88. Weekdays have always been “school days” to me, so the nights – even after my kids grew up and moved out – have always been “school nights.” When the kids were little, our weeknight evening activities were limited to those that ended early, were school functions or were special occasions, like birthdays.

Most of the time, though, we stayed in because “it’s a school night.”

As they got older, those rules began to get more lax – sports, youth groups, even just hanging out with friends sometimes kept them out later, and as long as they were getting good grades and good sleep, we made it work.

My weeknight routines began to get a little more lax, too. It became OK to go out with friends after work, or to go see a movie.

The older I get, though, the harder it is to go out on a school night. Sleep almost always seems the better option.

Sometimes, though, there are exceptions. Gaelic Storm is one of those exceptions. They were in Iowa City this week and I won two tickets to see them. On a school night.

No regrets.

Here’s one of my favorites  (one of many – which probably doesn’t make them “favorites”, right?) (not from the Iowa City performance, though they were even better now.).

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Zzzzzz….


Part of a daily countdown to 50.

89. Remember when we felt like we were getting away with something when we’d stay up late on a weeknight?

Yeah, that doesn’t happen much anymore. 

It’s 8 p.m. and I’m staring at the clock, wondering what is acceptable for an early bedtime for the under-50 crowd.

I’m betting that won’t change much when I join the over-50 club …

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What do you mean, “senior”?

50-card

I love – and give credit to – eCards. They’re my favorite.

Part of a daily countdown to my 50s.

90. I found this article over the weekend as I was starting to freak out a little about trying to come up with 90 more things to say about turning 50 – the good, the bad, the funny. It’s one of those wonderful lists that are easy to read and even easier to relate to, but I have to admit I was taken aback when it was from the website seniors.lovetoknow.com.

Um, no. I’ll accept that I’m turning 50. Fine. Can’t really do anything about that. But “senior”? I’ll be damned if I’ll be OK with that, not just yet. It hasn’t been that long ago that I had to convince myself that I was really of the age that dating a 50-year-old man was appropriate – just a few years, to be honest. But even then I didn’t consider 50 to be senior. (Of course, I also don’t think of my parents – ages 71 and 77 – as senior citizens, either.)

50 for molly3So here’s the list – with some amended to include comments.

  1. You’re less fearful – although I still hate going into unfamiliar dark areas by myself. (Thank you, Criminal Minds.)
  2. You’re not afraid to have opinions – or, as the recent election cycle has proven, to share them.
  3. You know yourself
  4. You have a greater appreciation of life
  5. It’s easier to laugh at yourself – especially when you have so much material.
  6. It’s easier to laugh at others -<snicker>
  7. It’s easier to take life less seriously
  8. You stop caring what other people think – I do, but I don’t.
  9. You stop sweating the small stuff
  10. You have a lifetime of wisdom to help you make decisions – and yet I still can’t decide what to have for dinner.
  11. You are more at peace
  12. You’re less critical of your body and weight – well … yes, and no.
  13. You know that eating right and exercise are the best medicine
  14. You embrace your imperfections
  15. You make jokes more often
  16. You get to use the excuse: “I’m set in my ways”
  17. You have a reason for forgetting things
  18. You have a reason for losing things
  19. You have a reason for telling the same stories
  20. You can be as grumpy as you wish
  21. You can learn to dance
  22. You can learn to sing – which is amazing, because I could never learn this before.
  23. No one cares if you’re a bad singer
  24. People expect you to be a bad dancer
  25. Your inner confidence shines – a good friend once told me several years ago, “the sexiest thing you can wear is confidence.” I haven’t taken it off since.
  26. You can go home early without offending anyone
  27. You can enjoy being settled in life
  28. With kids out of the house, you can be more spontaneous
  29. Your kids stop expecting big gifts from you – Ummm??
  30. AARP discounts are everywhere – No. Just … no.
  31. Other age-related discounts and free stuff for seniors – Quit calling me a senior, dammit!
  32. Younger people will help you more – What? Am I suddenly stupid?
  33. You have more time to explore new hobbies
  34. You can wear red hats that don’t match your clothes – I look awful in hats.
  35. You can wear glitter or funny sweaters and laugh at yourself – But why would you?
  36. You can wear glitter or funny sweaters in public with pride – No. No, you can’t.
  37. You can go gray with your hair – Nope.
  38. Retired life is just around the corner
  39. Relaxation
  40. Nap time is fun again
  41. Waking up too early and watching a sunrise
  42. Resting feels natural
  43. Buying more comfortable clothing – This screams “Frumpy!” and I’ll have no part of it, thankyouverymuch.
  44. Fewer comparisons to younger folks
  45. The amazing things you’ve seen that younger people have not
  46. Your wisdom
  47. Your advice
  48. Your ability to let go
  49. Your ability to forgive others – This is true. Except for the author of this list, who is probably some college kid working an internship thinking he needs to appease the older generation. Yes, you. I was you, once! Fifty IS NOT OLD!
  50. Your ability to forgive yourself – I forgive myself for that rant.

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Goodbye, my youthful attributes

50 for molly3

Part of a daily countdown to my 50s.

  1. There are a lot of things I’m looking forward to in the coming decade – I’ve had a lot of personal growth and I see more of it coming – but there are definitely some things I’m going to miss. Hell, I’m missing a lot of them now.
  • My eyes. It’s been about four years since I got tired of squinting at the TV trying to see the score of a football game or moving my phone around just so I could read a text without difficulty and decided to go to the eye doctor. I was expecting glasses, but I wasn’t expecting bifocals. Those are for old people – you know, people whose kids are grown, who are … oh. Nevermind. I’ve gotten used to using bifocals, but I don’t know that I’ll ever get used to admitting that I have them.
  • The ability to stand up without noise or difficulty. I used to love sitting on the floor – I’d turn down a chair in favor of the floor if there weren’t enough chairs to go around, and I spent many Sunday afternoons playing solitaire on the floor. I could stretch out, lean against the sofa or a wall, it was all good. Now, I cringe at the thought. Getting up from the floor now means using the sofa or the wall as a brace to help boost me up. Low-sitting chairs and sofas are the same. Part of it is due to osteoarthritis, but I know age plays a part, too.
  • Not knowing what osteoarthritis feels like. I had just done a story about a woman who’d had surgery for OA and thought how painful it sounded. Then I went in to talk to my doctor about a constant pain I’d been having in my knee. I did have a torn meniscus, he said, but we couldn’t do surgery because of advanced OA. Yippee.
  • My memory. I’m not at risk of Alzheimer’s, but I have to admit I find myself sometimes telling a story and I get to a point where I just stop and … it’s gone. The word I was going to use has disappeared from my brain.
  • Being the youngest at the office. When I started my first journalism job in 1989, I was the youngest person in the newsroom. Despite working at a newspaper with somewhat of a revolving door – it was good training ground for rookie reporters – I managed to stay the youngest, or among the youngest, for quite some time. Now I find myself working alongside coworkers who are the same age as my children. It’s … humbling.
  • Being able to have just one drink too many and not have a headache in the morning. This one needs no explanation, really.
  • My metabolism. Why can you put five pounds on in a week, but it takes a month to take it off? I blame new math.

There are more, I’m sure, but I’ve forgotten them. And I need to spend the next three minutes trying to stand up so I can go switch my laundry.

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