On My Last Week of Being Forty Eight
Saturday October 17, 2009
It hit me this morning as I was sitting with Steve eating breakfast at my new favorite restaurant. The Blue Plate Diner is a small, quaint, diner located in Union Pier Michigan. It is just like I would want my diner to be. The muffins and sweet breads displayed in a way to entice the incoming patron is reminiscent of a gourmet caterer that I worked for years ago.
As I was looking at spell-binding black and white landscape photos that grace the brightly colored walls it hit me. I am soon to be forty nine. I only have one more week at forty eight. I quickly announced that realization, with a shocked response from Steve…”that’s right!” Yep, that is right.
My mind quickly ran ahead over the next week with a “to do” list of all that needed to be done before I hit the last year in my forties. I am not afraid of fifty. Quite the contrary, I look forward to being the big 5 0. Seriously, I am. I looked around the restaurant and quickly took note of the number of women who are over 50. All of them settled, confident, they have settled into their own skin, chubby, saggy, tight, formed, fit, wrinkled, smooth, all types. It didn’t matter. I looked around and saw confidence. As they put their glasses on to read the menu and discuss how ridiculous the talk of the emaciated-ly overweight Ralph Lauren model is. You see in my opinion when you hit fifty, you suddenly get it. You come into your own. You have hit that point in your life where you can say, “damn-it! I am me and if you do not like what is in front of you, take a flying leap and F*** yourself!”
You see prior to fifty you are still in the hanging on mode. Hanging on to what you didn’t get done in your twenties or thirties, hanging on to the one that got away, as if you were to blame for falling for a total dip-wad in the first place. The forties have a certain stigma, “like am I getting old, am I still a thirty+ plus something? Oh my I am too old to be young again.” You are concerned as to what is forty suppose to look like, behave like? You long to be told that you look at least 36! Seriously like a couple years makes that much difference. But is does, in our minds as we fear losing our beauty, our place in society, a couple of years matters.
Fortunately this week I met a couple of remarkable women. One was a doctor, and two were women in finance. As I sat across from them, I suddenly felt like an infant. Not only was I a little younger than them, I was an infant. These women got it. They stopped worrying a long time ago. They somehow managed to just say, “this is my life. What I do with it is my business!” They must be right, as they were all women who exuded success. The doctor, (my new hero) shared with me that she was over 70! Seriously, she looked younger and in better shape than most fifty year olds. She proceeded to share with me that she was a school teacher and at the age of 41 she asked herself if she seriously wanted to come home from work every day for the rest of her life and cry. At forty three she entered medical school and she has been a successful practitioner since. She then told me that I am far from being too old and that I can do whatever I want. The others were women who grew into who they are. So they have figured out what they wanted to be when they grew up and did it. Me, I am an infant and I am still figuring that out.
So this week, I will continue to do what I do best. Be me. Now, do not get confused. I am not saying that being me is all that good. I have more than my share of baggage. I am still trying to define myself. But, for the most part, I kinda like me, a lot!
As I have moved about quite frequently over the past 5 years, (not by choice mind you) I have entered into the zone of no identification to re-identification to true-identification(it is a cycle a metamorphosis). Seriously, when you have lived for almost 44 years exclusively in the same place and then move first into a big city, you seriously are void of any history. People do not know you, they don’t want to know you, and so therefore, do you know you? You are no longer on the outside the person that you know. You are now viewed through their eyes, and your view of yourself becomes altered, much like light through a prism. Rather than being a focal point of balanced colors, you become a stream of independent colors all based on whatever role you are fulfilling on a given day.
I am glad to be where I am. My self-identification is become that beam of light, with all the colors dancing around and melded together. So as I spend the next 7 days of my life fulfilling all that I did not get done in the prior 358 days (now do you think I am a procrastinator?) I will be preparing for the joy of being 49. Quite frankly the alternative is to not live. So, as long as I have breath in me, I will continue to continue on, singing, dancing, teaching, cooking, painting, writing, creating, loving, growing, changing, nurturing, and defining who Mary E. Rapier LaLuna is. Hopefully, I will get smarter, tougher, and gentler, grow in innocence at the same time developing a savvy and insight that prepares me to be a wiser woman.