I just turned fifty.
How is that even possible? I look at my daughter and I remember being fourteen. It feels like high school, college, various jobs, various vacations, my wedding ... everything has gone by in a flash. As far as my baby growing up is concerned, well, that flew by too. It's just what they warn you when you're a very new and very tired mommy.
"The days go by slowly, but the years go by quickly."
So in honor of this monumental milestone birthday, I'm going to list fifty reasons why I'm grateful to be fifty. Here goes ...
1. I stayed up late to watch the moonwalk with my parents.
2. I can finally laugh at the fashion disasters I used to choose, buy and wear.
3. Once, thanks to my best friend's mother, I got to meet Mr. Rogers.
4. I don't have to feel guilty if I want to go to bed early.
5. I've probably read 10,000 books.
6. And seen 1,000 movies.
7. And another 500 plays.
8. I don't even try to wear high heels anymore (except on very special occasions).
9. I have dozens of wonderful friends (I know this because of all the Facebook greetings they posted on my birthday).
10. I no longer pretend to like things I don't like.
11. I no longer pretend not to like things I do like.
12. I've seen Elton John in concert 10 times. (I'm still standing.)
13. I'm a published author.
14. I've won a lot of awards.
15. I was one of the first kids on the block to have a Macintosh computer.
16. My daughter friended me.
17. JFK was still our president when I was born.
18. I live near the ocean.
19. I got to say "good-bye" to my dad.
20. I discovered that I actually like tempeh, tofu and quinoa.
21. I once swam with sting rays.
22. I've been to Hawaii.
23. I won the in-law lottery.
24. My daughter is healthy.
25. My daughter is beautiful.
26. My daughter is brave and strong and generous.
27. My daughter is not always happy but she isn't any more unhappy than any other fourteen-year old. (Does that make sense?)
28. I'm addicted to Mad Men.
29. I've watched every episode of The Sopranos, The Gilmore Girls, and Sex and the City.
30. I performed at Mayor Koch's inauguration.
31. I performed in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
32. My husband and I have been married for almost twenty years and he can still make me laugh.
33. My new asthma inhaler rocks.
34. I have a fabulous funky jewelry collection, which I wear with the implicit understanding that sometimes "More is more."
35. We have the opportunity to support some of the things we care about.
36. I have family members who are more than family, they are friends.
37. I have friends who are more than friends, they are family.
38. Five years ago, I beat c-diff.
39. A couple of years later, I found an antique complete set of Dickens on eBay for $50.
40. I am halfway through said set.
41. Fifty years and I still heart New York.
42. Never an outdoorswoman, I nevertheless discovered that I also heart zip-lining.
43. Between Hunter Elementary, Hunter High and Tufts University, I got me one fine education.
44. We enjoy better living through technology — especially my Keurig coffee machine.
45. I actually campaigned for Shirley Chisolm, one of the first women and the first African American to run for President.
46. I've also met Gloria Steinem, Bella Abzug, Betty Friedan, and Barbara Seaman.
47. As a mother, an employer, a voter and a member of my community, I have an opportunity every day to live up to the examples they set.
48. Then there's chocolate. Lots of chocolate.
49. And wine. Lots of that too.
and, my fiftieth thing, paraphrasing my mother-in-law, is that ...
50. Getting old may be a pain, but it's so much nicer than the alternative.