Yep... it's official... half my life is over. Today I turn 50. There's no denying it now. Optimistic you say? Perhaps MORE than half my life is over? Nope. I come from good stock. With the exception of my mother, every woman in my lineage in the last century has lived to near or past 100. The odds are good.
I felt it sneaking up on me for about two weeks. I realized it was upon me the day I got "the" letter.... the invitation to join AARP. Yes, I knew it would arrive but somehow the very day it did arrive I was still very surprised. "Is this for ME? Am I really old enough to get the very best discounts on hotel rooms? And senior coffee! I'm eligible for senior coffee!" Yes, it was a shock. But I settled into my new position in society.
Then I had a true "curmudgeon" moment on the Metro in Washington DC last week. While riding in from Fairfax to the Convention Center to attend a scholarly conference, that in itself a dead give away to my age and disposition, I sat next to two "twenty something" male political marketing types on the subway. They were having a quite lively discussion of current techniques employed in political campaigns to discredit one's opponent in an election. Innuendo of sexual impropriety seems to be the order of the day... well constructed insinuations that clearly imply wrongdoing without crossing the line into libel. Apparently it's quite an art constructing these lies in a way that they are entirely legal and nearly impossible to rebuff. I was aghast! Had they been sleeping during their (obviously very recent) undergraduate ethics class? I found myself quite literally fighting the almost overwhelming urge to blurt out, "Young man! You should be ashamed of yourself! Don't you know that this country is founded on principles that include fairness and honor?" It was excruciating. But soon one of the alcohol induced loose lips children exited the train and quiet returned. I was left with my incredulity at the lack of ethics operating in politics these days. I felt old. And tired.
This week is the anniversary of my mother's death. She died in 1990....so I've managed the past 16 years without her wise counsel and steadfast friendship. I was privileged this year to spend part of the week with a woman who has become a mother figure and mentor in my life in recent years. Ironically she is the same age my mother would be, a similar physical stature and with a wit and intellect that keeps me hopping. I stayed busy, took lots of Tylenol for the incessant headaches that always accompany this week and lived through it yet another year.
So today really is the first day of the rest of my life... just like every other day. But this one is special.... the first day of the second half of my life. I hope I can do better with the second half than I've done with the first half. I hope I can be a better spouse, a more loyal friend, a more dedicated minister, a more courageous preacher, a better money manager, take better care of my health, and find a way to work on a Phd.
But today I'm resting up for the journey. The movie White Christmas is on TV. The bills are paid for today and I'm not seperated from my beloved Lillian at least for this weekend. Tomorrow I'll start the rest of the road.
Painting used by permission. © 2006 Judy Somerville RHINESTONE COWGIRLS DON'T CRY
airbrushed acrylic on canvas 50" x 65" For information you may contact
Judy Somerville: e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org