My friend Kelly and I are about the same age and our daughters are within two weeks of each other. We went for a walk this morning. We realize that we are older than we feel. Kelly looks like she’s in her thirties and she and her family, like ours are all active and energetic. They’re going to Australia as a family to see their daughter who is studying in New Zealand.
I remember what it felt like to be twenty. What does it feel like to be fifty?
1. I can’t drink as much. There is no doubt when I was in my twenties and thirties I could do shots like a pro and get up in the morning and go back to work. Now, if I drink too much, I start to feel like I’ve been run over by a truck and running is miserable.
2. I have to plan for things more. I miss waking up and saying, I think I’ll drive to Mexico today. I’ll be back in a few days and then taking off across Arizona, driving down, parking on the beach and then the whole weekend would rock out. Now, I have to make plans.
3. I’m much smarter now. I’m not kidding. I made a lot of stupid mistakes that I don’t make now.
4. I feel differently about friends. When I was younger, I liked everybody, I just wanted someone to go dancing with, to hang out with. Now, I want to be around people who challenge me but also people I get along with. I don’t want to hang with people who I have to point things out to like, Wow, that’s racist. We had this guy at the house. He used the “N word.” I had to say if he used it again, I was kicking him out. I don’t want to do that. I’m too tired. I realize there are lots of assholes in the world, but I want friends who are cool people.
5. I don’t like wasting my time doing stupid things. If I’m say at a reading, and a bunch of people just want to go and shout at each other in a bar for a few hours afterward, I know that I will spend a lot of money, have a headache the next day, not remember anything that was said, not remember who was there and wish I were home watching a movie with my honey and eating strawberries. I know that sounds like I’m not very adventurous, I do go out with friends and have fun but I don’t need to just go out for the sake of it.
6. I like celebrations. My birthday is in April and my friend Susie and I have plans that include having Mark doing the driving to a Mexican place we like and then us doing the drinking and Mark doing the paying. I want to go to karaoke afterward and dress up super skanky and show everyone in the bar how well I can sing. Maybe Nicelle will go. Mark is always good with squiring three women. On Sunday, for my book launch reading at Skylight, I plan to really get crazy and wear a ridiculously short skirt which I hope Nicelle will instantly post on Facebook.
7. I love my family and friends and I know those relationships matter.
8. I’m not worried so much about what people think of me. In my twenties I thought, What if they don’t like me? Now I think, I wonder if I’ll like them?
9. I believe in the wisdom of Slaughterhouse Five: Focus on the good parts of your life.
10. There are things I haven’t done in my life that I wanted to do, I know I can still get my game on.