Thursday, August 30, 2007

Senior Economics

I've heard all about "fixed incomes." Tonight I had my first lesson.

Steve and I planned a hot date at the Sounds baseball game. As we were walking toward the ticket booth, a man stopped us and offered us two vouchers for free tickets. Score!! We obtained our free tickets, and walked in. I was thirsty, and requested liquid refreshment. Score #2 - bottle colas were only $1 (this was also $1 beer night, but that did not interest me.) Finally, upon leaving, we were pleasantly surprised to find out it was bread night (Score #3). Meaning: one of the bakeries pulls up a truck and unloads loaves of bread free for the taking. We took ten. For the two of us.

So, for the price of $5 (Steve had Dippin Dots), we were entertained, refreshed, and fed for awhile (except Steve will distribute the other loaves to the equally cheap people who work in his office).

Now if I can just learn to eat dinner at 4:00 pm . . .

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Strange Bedfellows

My grandmother used to say she woke up with Arthur Itis. (What can I say about Southern humor?) As my years increase, I am realizing what she meant. Apparently I met Arthur's cousin, Tendon Itis, in Minnesota, and brought him back with me. Unfortunately, the Itis family is just one of those who seem to be moving in with me.

For instance, there's Minnie Pause (sorry, kids - you might want to skip this one). Minnie moved in when Aunt Flo moved out. Flo had her friends, but Minnie brings her backup girls - Ima Hot Flash and Moo-Dee Ness. Ima obviously wants new sheets, as she continues to suggest taking my legs out under the covers, then back in - out, in - out, in - in an attempt to wear the sheets out. Moo-Dee just doesn't give a crap - oh wait, maybe she does now - nope, she doesn't.

Minnie wants to claim she's "liberating" me, which has its advantages. However, there is a price to pay, that being her boyfriend, Bi Polar. In other words, he offers her support by providing sweating/freezing, highs/lows, crying/laughing, screaming/whispering, and dozing/mania, sometimes in the space of five minutes. Obviously he and Moo-Dee have a thing going on.

There's also Harry Chen. One day I look in the mirror, and there he is, his little black self, sprouting in various places on my lower face. My laser hair lady says not to pluck, as your body obviously wants to have hair in that location (and she retains her job). My question is, why does he move in now? Shouldn't I have the freedom at 50 to stop plucking? Why can't Harry move to another location, like some bald guy's head?

Then there's Memree Loss. At least I think that's her name. She moved in one day when I was driving to the store. I think. Only I found myself headed in the opposite direction of the store. It really didn't matter anyway, because when I finally got to the store, I forgot what I was going for. I would have turned around and gone home, but Memree's best friend, Aydee Dee pointed out the bookstore, which I headed for, but then she showed me another place that I stopped at. I would tell you what it was, but I forgot.

I can't forget to mention Watcha Eaton. This character has taken up residence in my digestive system. He decides which things I should no longer consume. However, the sadist refuses to mention his preferences to me until AFTER the offending food has been sent down to his department. Apparently Watcha has been taking lessons from Moo-Dee, as he gets extremely angry when the wrong food comes down. He chooses to express his anger in often violent and unpleasant ways. He obviously needs a therapist.

I'm sure there are lots more where these guys come from. I've heard they come from places like He Ring Loss and Falls Teeth, but I'm hoping not to go there. In the meantime, I'll just share the space with my present bedfellows. My new best friend, Am Pulbut, assures me there is plenty of room in her space, and can make more if needed.

And they say I can't make friends!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Liberties and Limitations

The best things about being 50 are the seemingly limitless liberties one has. I can vote, rent a car, drink alcohol, patronize bars, get into any and all movies, and join AARP. However, just as I can do nearly anything I desire, there are certain consequences to my actions - at my age. For instance . . .

Over the course of three days last weekend, I walked sixty miles in Minnesota. When Lynnette and I were walking the final two miles of the event on Sunday, I decided I was very thirsty. I proceeded to guzzle the entire contents of my water bottle, basically in one gulp. This proved to be a poor choice, my increasingly painful cramping stomach reminded me with each step of the last mile. My fifty-year old intestinal system was telling me that moderation would have been the better idea, in order for my fifty-year-old stomach to process the water. After crossing through the banners that signified the ending point of the walk, I lay on the ground for thirty minutes and recovered. You would have thought at my age, I would have learned my lesson. But you know what they say about old dogs ...

After arriving back home in Nashville yesterday afternoon, I wanted a Quarter Pounder meal (large size) from the Golden Arches. I have abstained from this meal for awhile, in hopes of losing a few pounds. But yesterday I thought I deserved it - after all, I certainly must have walked off the calories that would be ingested. Once again, I did not heed my previous experience, and inhaled my chosen meal, blissfully ignoring the fact that my body had been physically stressed for three days. The meal was delicious - until about 3:00 am this morning, when once again my digestive track reminded me that it is no longer that of a teenager. After a few hours of reading time in my private "study", I once again could walk upright.

At 50, I have the freedom to do whatever I want. However, some of those things may come at a price. Yes, I slept on the ground in a tent for two nights - and it took me a few minutes to get on all fours to hoist myself up to swaying on two legs in the mornings. Yes, I can eat or drink whatever I want - but my body may refuse to process it in the way I remember. Yes, I can choose to enter any length of jogging event wherever I choose - but my ankles will probably be screaming for days afterward.

As a teenager and even a young adult, I would do things with scarcely a thought about them afterward. Events were undertaken and rarely had any residual detrimental effects. I could eat anything and do anything - as long as I was allowed to do those things by those in charge.

Now things are different. I am the one in charge, but I have to think more about how things may affect me physically, mentally, and emotionally. I am going to have to consider the possible consequences and may have to pass on some things. I have to consider my age, my circumstances, and my past experiences. But all this consideration isn't a bad thing, because it means I am thinking about me - isn't that part of what being 50 should be about anyhow?

Monday, August 27, 2007

Being Fifty

I imagine the conversation going like this:

Inquiring Person: "So I heard you turned 50. What did you do to celebrate?"

Me: "I really tied one on. I spent the weekend walking 60 miles to raise money for breast cancer. You?"

Only the conversation won't be imaginary, because that's what I really did. When I first proposed to do this event, I thought myself unique. As it turned out, I met two other women on the walk who planned to do the same thing for their fiftieth, and another woman turning 57 who had the same idea. Imagine that - women who are facing a milestone and choose to honor that achievement by participating in an event that could change lives. Now I know why people use the term "Fifty is Fabulous". Indeed we are.

On my fiftieth birthday, I walked 19.5 miles. That night, I slept on the ground in a two-person tent. The next morning I woke up and thought to myself, "I am now in my fifties," and I smiled. Fifty feels good.

Being 50 gives me a sense of empowerment. I don't feel as pressured to live up to the expectations of others. Two years of counselling have helped me feel more self-confident and focused about who I am and what I want. I still have a lot of thinking and planning to do - but I am on my way.

Being 50 gives me a sense of freedom. My forties were spent rearing teenagers. My youngest turned 21 this year. While I will always worry about my children because I am their mother, I feel a sense of release as I let them experience and develop their adult lives. I can now select my wants and desires to be at the top of my list.

Being 50 gives me a sense of adventure. Without the constraints and responsibilities of my earlier years, I have the time to seek those opportunities to expand and explore my horizons. I have the chance to experience the things that maybe only I want to do.

Being 50 gives me a sense of time. I have the time to relax, the time to think, and the time to do what I want. I value the memories of years past, but also recognize the uncertainty of my future. Time becomes a little more precious, because I realize so much of my time on this earth is gone. But I also realize how much I have to offer in the time I still have.

Being 50 gives me a sense of gratitude. I am thankful because I can see all the blessings I have received, and I am confident of all the blessings I will receive in the future. I am aware of the blessings in the little things and can recognize and cherish them.

I am now 50. What a great way to spend a year!