Credit: Dominique Browning (I think) http://www.slowlovelife.com/

Credit: Dominique Browning (I think) http://www.slowlovelife.com/

Well, it totally happened this weekend. Some time while I was sleeping and probably in the midst of dreaming about snakes or giving birth, something far more sinister occurred.

I turned 50.

Yes. I know. It’s true. And contrary to popular belief – er, that is, what I assumed was going to happen – it did not hurt one bit. There was neither pain nor hair loss nor bleeding.

I just got out of bed and started my day.

And maybe that’s where my 50s will be different from my 40s. I turned 40 in the emergency room of our local hospital, which is a story for another day, but needless to say, I was less than thrilled. But that night kind of set the course for the rest of the decade. In 10-years’ time, I’d change pretty much everything about my life. Oh, sure, I still want to lose 10 pounds and remain a dedicated procrastinator – I defy you to out-procrastinate me – but most everything else about my life has changed.

I ended my marriage, got a full-time job, started a blog, sent three kids to college, sold my house on my own and bought and renovated a new casa. I even went out on some dates and am way blonder than I was as a young girl of 40.

Are things perfect? Absolutely not. Have I figured this whole life thing out? Please, on a daily basis at least 1.3 of my children is mad at me.

But I like to think that I’m a work in progress. And even though I’ve figured out what some of my issues are, like not feeling good enough and the aforementioned procrastination, it doesn’t mean that I’ve gotten a handle on things. I get snagged thousands of times each day.

That’s why I’m in therapy.

But in a weird way, I’m kind of looking forward to what the next 10 years brings. There’s still so much I want to do. So many places I want to go. People I need to meet. And stuff I need to work through.

I hope I stop caring what other people think about me and start accepting people for who they are rather than who I really want them to be. Because getting on top of that shiz will free up a lot of time I would have used to fret and, as we all know, I am not getting any younger.

Honestly, I’m just glad it’s over. The day had been looming for about 18 months and I just needed to get it behind me. It was kind of like wanting to not be pregnant any more and just have the baby already, without all the crying (okay, I cried a little).

But so far, my 50s are going quite well. I spent the weekend celebrating and being showered with all the attention a needy Leo demands. There were lunches and dinners and cocktails and so much dancing that my feet feel like they just turned 60. Friends and family proved how well they knew me by giving me perfect gifts, like the stack of rings from my mom that I’d been lusting after to an autographed copy of Nora Ephron’s I Remember Nothing from my pal who takes such good care of me and a weird amount of booze from everyone else.

But maybe the best part of my birthday weekend was getting to spend a big chunk of it with my four children, who had no choice but to go along with it and act like they were having fun. We took the bus into Manhattan and I sat next to my oldest child, who is sometimes hard pressed to even say hello to me, and listened to him talk pretty much nonstop about his job during the hour’s ride in. We ate a delicious lunch in the Theater District that included thin, salty French fries and big pitchers of perfectly-proportioned mimosas, light on the juice. And when the check came my three oldest children surprised me and footed the bill.

Then, because it was literally (okay, not literally) 1,000 degrees on Saturday in New York City and felt like we were walking through the inside of an oven set to broil, we walked very slowly over to the Barrymore Theater to see “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time,” which we loved. We tried to go to a rooftop bar in Times Square afterwards that proved slightly challenging to locate and when we finally found the place, discovered everyone in our group needed to be 21 to enter so my highly disgruntled party and I found ourselves back on the hot, hot streets of New York. And instead of Googling the perfect place for post-theater cocktails, we ducked into the closest bar and drank cold beers and ate chicken wings while the 13yo sprawled out on a couch and watched the Olympics and everyone was happy. When we finally arrived home that night, we all went our separate ways and that did not make me one bit sad. It was time.

By my calculations, I held the children captive for nine hours, which is about eight hours and 55 minutes longer than our usual time we spend together as a family. And I guess if it took turning 50 for me to get that kind of gift, the gift of my children humoring me and going along with my one-big-happy-family fantasy, then it was totally worth it. Plus, I’ve got enough tequila to last me until I’m 60.

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37 thoughts on “I’m 50, Dammit

  1. Happy birthday and welcome to the “club”! It’s time to take care of yourself and to work on being better than you used to be. And who care what others say, this is your life, right? Show off that AARP card – well, maybe just sneak it to people to get that discount 🙂

  2. That sounds like a perfect birthday Amy. And once again I can totally relate, especially to getting 9 whole hours with your kids. Have a great year!

  3. oh how i love this. i’m still a smidge closer to 40 than 50 but i can already see my 50th going down a similar path. children being corralled and beer and wings as the capper. sounds like a fab day i look forward to reading about your life in your new decade. happy birthday!

    • Oh, Gigi!! It’s like you got a brand new ring!! I’d say you’re a World Class Procrastinator and maybe that’s why we like reading each other!! Thanks for the birthday wishes … xo

  4. Happy 50th!! I need to extend your celebration and take you out when I get back from vaca! Thanks for paving the way for me. xo

  5. Wow- couldn’t have said any better!! I will be following in your footsteps in less than 2 weeks and while I have secretly dreaded the big 5-0, all I hope for ( other than a great night planned with the girls), is a weekend with the hubby and all 4 kids before life takes them here there and everywhere else. Okay, a card would be nice too.
    Happy birthday to you! Love reading your posts.

    • Jackie … first of all, happy almost 50th! Believe me, it feels better when you’ve climbed over that mother and get it behind you. And, you’ve got all your bases covered: out with the ladies and then some solid family time. Keep me posted with how it all goes and many, many thanks for reading and chiming in. xo

  6. Happy 50th!! I, too, was tormented for about 18 months before I turned 50. But then I did … and it wasn’t so bad. And in Feb., I turned (gulp!) 60 and I’m actually thrilled! I’m still self-employed (as a graphic designer) and busier than ever, I’ve got my health, I’m down to my last year of two college tuitions and I’ve lived longer than my father (who only made it to 58). Great things are in store for you in this new decade! 🙂

    • Sharon … 60 DOES seem like a gulper but, then again, so did 50 about 10 years ago and now here it is and I’m like, “Meh.” It’s all relative and really, you’re thinking is sound. Good health. Busy doing stuff that makes you happy. Dwindling college tuitions. Thanks for the good wishes and of course, reading along!! xo

  7. Happy Birthday to a girl who has become a real inspiration to me! So glad you had such a wonderful celebration with your kids – that’s what it really is all about. And I can relate – I insisted my 4 children, the dog and I squeeze into my oldest’s Jeep to head to a friend’s pool party because we were going together as a family dammit! 🙂 No A/C and the roof still on – it was a sweaty box but I had them all in one place with me. Hope this year brings many magical things your way.

  8. As always, you nailed it. Happy too when the day was behind me but like you, still have much to see and do. Thank God for our children (minus the bad days!) It’s been a pleasure to be your friend and I’m proud of your resilience and “can do” attitude. Keep truckin’ and by all means, keep writing. I look forward to more great tales and adventures from Amy.

  9. HBD Amy! I know you have more celebrating to do and it is well-deserved…keep it going! The celebration with your family sounds like it was just perfect! My 50th was exactly as you described; I was so happy and relieved once it had FINALLY arrived and then (phew, breathe) life simply goes on…..
    Wishing you all the best in health, love and happiness !

    • I was literally acting like I was going to turn 50 and explode or something. Glad it didn’t come to that. Thanks for the birthday wishes and hope we don’t have to wait until Nick’s in high school to cross paths on the bleachers!! xo

  10. The devastating birthdays are the ones that end in 0 so you have another 10 years before having to deal with one of those again.

    I had an Aunt that used to say that no matter how old you are now, in 10 years you will look back and think how young that was.

    I’m 56 so in my eyes you are just a baby!!!

  11. So yes, I have a slight procrastination problem as well. It’s part of the reason I’m finally reading this post after having the tab open since you posted it. Oh man, what a perfectly perfect celebration. It looks like 50 and you might be arm and arm for some of the best days yet. Go get ’em, sister. And I hope that one day soon, we’ll get together to chat about writing, divorce, boys in old man bodies, and motherhood. You deserved this moment and many more. To this next lap around the sun, go get it, it’s all yours! Happy Birthday! <3

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