As of this week, I am 56, officially closer to 60 than I am to 50. This is different from when I turned 36, looking at 40, and had a serious discussion with my friend as to whether or not we should still be wearing mini skirts. We now had daughters and certainly didn't want to look as though we were trying to compete with them. (Really? They were 10 at the time, so unless we were planning on rocking some jeans from Limited Too...) Yes, this is different from when I turned 46, looking at 50, and came to realize that my every six weeks hair cut would now have to include a color. This is different because I am 56 looking at 60 and 60 is SERIOUS BUSINESS. Sixty is grown-up time. Sixty is if you want to do it, stop talking about it and move your ass, time.
The problem is there are days I can't remember what it was I said I wanted to do. Was it watercolors? No, it couldn't be based on what I brought home from the Paint While You Drink Wine, party place. Is it an ocean with clouds above or a blue sky with snow capped mountains below? Who the hell knows or gives a crap? Horseback riding! That was it! Ahh, but these knees. Along with skiing, fencing, and salsa dancing, it ain't gonna happen. Those are what I call my Christopher Columbus dreams, in other words... that ship has sailed.
I went for a physical. For those who haven't tried it lately, finding a primary doctor is sort of like getting a private visit with the pope. You have to apply, you have to have the right insurance, you then have to wait six months. That is, so they can run the background check on you and see what kind of shenanigans you are up to on Facebook. Then, when the 12-year-old nurse filling out your intake form asks you how many alcoholic drinks you have per week and you answer "four," because wine is good for your heart and doesn't count, she may look at you and say "Really? I don't think so. According to Facebook, you had seven Saturday night alone, at Bonefish."
When I finally made it into the inner sanctum, my doctor took one look at me and said, "Your thryoid looks full, let me feel it," and after she pokes around says, "Oh no, you just have a very full neck, it's just your anatomy." So...thanks. When I was younger my doctors all looked old and wise, able to protect me from the hideous diseases that may try to penetrate my young glowing skin. This doctor looks like Miley Cyrus. How can this child have PATIENTS? I think I saw her mother in the lobby waiting to drive her to a playdate when she was done with appointments. Also, she's pregnant. She radiates health and new life as she tells me she is starting me on a cholesterol drug and by the way, was I doing any kind of exercise? I may want to incorporate exercise into my daily routine, she says. Does riding a spin bike every day for 45 minutes count? Because that is what I do and I am thrilled that my efforts are paying off.
So off I go with my prescription for Lipitor, a BMI formula and a goal weight. And I feel OLD. Because as I'm driving to CVS, I realize I am never going to be a young intern at a New York City publishing company. I am never going to law school to become a ruthless, albeit fair, Tory Burch-briefcase-carrying, divorce attorney. I'm probably never going to be the owner of my own woman's magazine. I'm never again going to wear a bikini or my Steve Madden black stilettos with a dress that hits me mid thigh, which I rocked just a few short years ago. I'm entering a new phase of life and frankly, physically it sucks.
PHYSICALLY. What can I tell you, I don't see an upside, BUT... mentally? There is some good news. Mentally, for me, it's a whole new ballgame. Because though I do feel slightly panicked when I look in the mirror and see one more wrinkle and one less eyebrow hair, I look at the rest of my life and feel a sense of contentment.
This hit home for me on a recent vacation to Canada. (Super nice place but they have yet to discover grapefruit vodka. They have blueberry vodka? I would love to know if you or someone you know actually drinks blueberry vodka!) Anyway, when I was younger and I went on vacation I always wanted to stay. "Wouldn't it be great, " I would think, "To live here on Waikiki Beach," or "Here in the mountains," or "In this little Italian village." You get the idea. And yes, it probably would. But now, though I enjoy seeing new places and eating the food and trying local wines (because who drinks blueberry vodka?), I am always ready to go home.
It's not because my stuff is there, though I do miss my Wilfa coffeemaker immensely. It's because, finally, I have found my peaceful place. I am happy here. I no longer look ahead to where do I want to live next, how much more of a house can I buy, how much more stuff can I get? I no longer worry about keeping up with the Joneses, and yes I'm sorry and embarrassed to say I was one of those people. I don't worry about finding a new, better place because to me, there is no better place. I am happy with what I have, where I am and who I'm with.
I enjoy my children immensely. When I'm with them I think, "These are good people." The kind of people I would want to be around, even if they weren't mine. I enjoy my writing, and look forward to the characters who have yet to introduce themselves to me. Sure, I wish I looked younger. Sure I wish I could stop the clock ticking away on my face and body, but would I trade that for the peace and contentment I now have come to cherish?
Uhm...I know you want me to say "Of course not," but give me a minute... I'm thinking.