Opinion: Fifty reasons to celebrate


It’s finally happened, friends. I hit the big 5-0 this week and am now officially eligible for full AARP benefits. Naturally, I celebrated with a hands-y mammogram and a successful bone density test. Happy birthday to me! I am one step closer to that senior living community lifestyle I have dreamed about for so long.

But seriously, I don’t feel 50, at least not what I thought it would feel like 20 years ago. I can still jog a few miles with only minor incontinence issues, I can walk up and down stairs with very few knee creaks, and apart from hating everyone and everything after 8 p.m., I am generally content most of the time.

Nor do I think I look 50. When I flip through photos of my grandmother at the same age, I see a gray-haired matron straight from central casting. But if I put my red mop in a ponytail and bravely forgo eyeliner, I have a good shot at being carded. Maybe not in a Bloomington bar but definitely at Meijer. And though I wear comfy sweats around the house, I keep my “public” wardrobe fairly on trend, thanks to two brutally honest daughters. Harsh criticism equals fashion kindness apparently.

Fifty is the new 40, after all, and I’m planning to embrace every second of it. There’s a certain gravitas that comes with meeting the half-century mark. I have experienced love and loss, witnessed compassion and cruelty and raised four moderately well-adjusted young adults. I even survived ‘80s bangs and a Skid Row concert. Think of the wisdom I can impart!

AARP, my application is on its way!

Peace out.