So after this blog post I'm going to shut up about being fifty. I know most of you are really sick of me telling you, "Hey, I'm fifty!" Frankly, I'm sick of it too. But I still can't quite get my head around it, this age I'm at. Instead of taking stock of all that I've done, and the things I keep intending to do, like lose those last ten pounds I've been carrying around since 1984, I thought I'd make a few confessions. I want to commence the next decade feeling that I have less and less to hide, and therefore, be burdened with. If you are someone who has nearly unsubscribed from this blog because you didn't like my cheeky side, well, I'd suggest you skip this post and wait for the next one. Here we go...
I have a deplorable memory. I try to warn people of this, but I keep forgetting who I've told. So I'm just going to announce it to the world here. It will take me half a dozen encounters before I remember your name. I am constantly walking into rooms and wondering why I'm there. I've even left a room in frustration, remembered what it was I meant to do and, by the time I'd returned, forgotten again. Seriously. My mother has a really great memory. In fact, she usually reminds me of what happened during my childhood and adolescence, most of which I've forgotten. Except for that time I stepped on a slug in my bare feet, right after she told me that's exactly what would happen. I'm just glad she wasn't around when I went to college and grad school. I have vague memories of stupid behavior, and it would probably make good material for a book, but if you knew me between 1984-1994, your secrets are safe with me - if, in fact, we had any. My friend Roxanne had this adorable habit of taping the Spanish word for just about everything in her house on the thing itself. Someday, I will do that as well. Only my words will be in English.
I let my kid swear like a sailor. I don't ascribe to the "Do what I say, not what I do." style of parenting. I teach by example, which means my son is fluent in profanities. When Z first discovered bad words he was, naturally, just starting to talk. Rather than try to explain to a three year old, who is loving every word coming from his mouth, that certain words mustn't be said - even though we said them all the time - we convinced him that those potty words could be spoken but only in the potty. This worked fine when it was just me and C at home. We got busted when he started singing "F***- y, f***, f***" while pooping with the door open on vacation with my extended family. At least now that he's nearly seven, he understands that these words mustn't be spoken in public or around his friends. We talk a lot about context and appropriateness. For instant, he doesn't get to ask for a f-ing cheese stick. I'm not cool with that. But if he stubs his toe on the way to the refrigerator, well... Sometimes I question my decision to let him swear when I hear him shout four letter words while looking for the right Lego piece. But nothing drives us into hysterics faster than when I whisper in his ear, "You're sh** tons of fun, man!" and he replies, "I f***in love you mom!"
My youthful looks are not natural. I am starting to feel like a real fraud when people gasp and tell me. "You don't look fifty!" I could say it's the exercise, the water and the daily avocado. But I'd be lying. It's BOTOX! I started getting poison injected into my face a year ago and I'm never going back. The wrinkles I acquired in my thirties and forties - worrying about getting older - have essentially disappeared. Now that I've confessed, I do not have to feel like a liar. From here on out, when people act surprised that I'm old enough to be a grandmother, I'll just wave my hand and say, "Oh, it's just the Botox." And they'll assume I'm joking!
I have a secret love for Beyoncé, Rihanna, and, yes, Britney Spears. I'm deeply ambivalent about this. Mostly because their lyrics talk about not taking crap from deadbeats and working hard to get what you want - but they sing these songs while wearing practically nothing. Do they really think they're going to attract the kind of man who helps with the laundry by dressing like pole dancers? Since I've gone through a lot of lows over the past few years, these women are helping me cultivate that little bad-assitude that lends a nice zing to my day. I usually listen to Girl Power music when I'm going to the gym on my kick scooter. Sometimes I'll even sing the words as I whiz past people on the sidewalk. This qualifies me as certifiably ridiculous, especially for a fifty year old woman. But you know what? Screw it. I'm fifty.
I was addicted to online dating. When sites like Match.com popped up I remember thinking, 'Oh, now that's a great idea. Too bad I'll never get to try it.' But not long ago, a twenty-two year old barista told me about Tinder. The first few weeks I was on that site I had a split personality disorder. One of me was locked in the bathroom texting a man who asked that I come watch him bare knuckle fight. The other was pounding on the door pleading for me to take a shower and pay attention to my son. I was ever so relieved when Tinder started charging for its service so I could quit. Then I discovered OK Cupid, which uses mathematical algorithms to show you who you are most likely to get along with based on how you answer their questions. This made the decision to meet for coffee really quite easy. I would search for whether my suitor thought flag burning or book burning was more heinous, and I had my answer. But internet dating took up way too much time; texts, emails, coordinating dates, going into London. I shut it down. I had a relapse one night when I was premenstrual and wanted some attention. I watched my inbox fill up with requests for a conversation and it was like smoking crack (I confess, I have never smoked crack, but I can imagine it was like smoking crack). I'm glad to say I've been clean and sober now for over six months, mostly because I met a man who laughs at all my jokes, even the lame ones. Hey people, priorities change when you're fifty!
Whew. Now that that's over I can get on with this next decade. It already feels like a good one. I'm getting paid to write! Yeah, almost enough to buy beer! Some day soon I'm hoping to afford Prosecco from my royalties. Until then, head down, back to work. Have a wonderful Christmas!