Musings from Mama Bird
50. Tomorrow, I turn 50. Notice I don’t say “celebrate” 50. I actually haven’t “celebrated” many birthdays since I turned 40.
What’s in an age, I ask. We grow up hearing, “You’re only as old as you feel.” Well, today, I feel old. Old, old, old. Tomorrow, I’m sure I’ll feel older.
I’ve been reading “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne. You know, that book that tells you whatever thoughts or vibes you toss out into the cosmic energy come back to you and then some. And believe me, I’ve been trying here. Unfortunately, life doesn’t always cooperate with your best intentions and volleys them right back in your face.
I’m one of the last of the legendary Baby Boomers, the ones who will break the bank of the US economy. I’m one of the kids who rode her purple Hollywood Schwinns with baseball cards attached to the spokes of the wheels with clothes pins. The girl with a talking Barbie who didn’t dress like a hootchie. The child with the polio vaccine scar on my left arm (still there), who survived Fifth’s Disease (whatever that is) and chomped on Vicks cough drops that tasted almost as good as candy necklaces and cigarettes and Boston baked beans. I’m of the generation of kids who shared bedrooms with siblings in a home where one bathroom served an entire family’s needs. (That’s probably one reason why my generation is so good at sharing and compromising.) In my bedroom (that I shared with my sister), my only connection to technology was a green AM clock radio and a record player. We didn’t have cable TV, and our home was cooled by window fans, which is probably why our generation enjoys old black-and-white movies and never, ever takes central air for granted. When we were young, we didn’t have curfews. Didn’t need them because mostly, we weren’t allowed to be outside after dark.
We dug Donna Summer and AC/DC. We watched “Roots,” then read the book. We had recess and gym class, and no president’s wife would ever dream of telling our moms they can’t bring baked goods to school to celebrate their children’s birthdays.
AT (almost) 50, I’ve tons of role models, sisters thriving in their fifties, women paving the way for me. Oprah. Ellen. Rosie. Love them or hate them (I happen to love them), at least you can look at them and say, “Damn, being 50’s not half bad.”
I know age, like most everything, is a mindset. So on this, my last night of being a woman in my forties, I vow to imagine myself as a young, vibrant woman (with an AARP card). A woman who is always evolving and aspiring and dreaming, and occasionally watching those dreams come to fruition. A woman grateful for the people in her life, her children, the experiences (both the good and the bad) of being a mother, a wife, a daughter, sister, friend.
When I think of my life, my successes that were my own and my failures that showed me a better way, I see myself as a woman strong, bold enough to take on challenges past and present, loving my people, loving myself.
So tonight, before I go to bed, I will put it all out there in the universe: I am vibrant. Relevant. Strong. Loving being 50. Hopefully, tomorrow morning, I’ll believe it.
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