I turned 50 last month. Now I’m an antique.
Did you know that AARP sends you a membership card the second you hit the half century mark?
I hate you, AARP. I am decades away from retiring. Leave me alone.
I still have small children, therefore I am not old.
Usually, I don’t feel old. I’m healthy, I work out and hopefully I’ve still got a few years before I have to buy Depends.
But I have my senior moments. I walk into the kitchen with great purpose; I just can’t remember what that purpose was. Is it time to buy the gallon-size jug of Geritol at Costco?
I feel old watching my kids fly up the stairs to our apartment. They go from zero to third floor in 10 seconds.
They get upstairs faster than I can lift my head to see where they are.
Kids are good at making you feel old. “There was this old guy at the park," my 12-year-old son says.
“How old? Forty?” I ask.
“No, closer to 30, I think.”
I remember watching Jack Benny as a kid (as a rerun, I’m not THAT old). He made a big deal about pretending he was 39 years old when he was obviously older.
I got the joke but couldn’t fathom why anyone would choose to be 39. Why not 20? Or 29? But 39? That seemed so… old.
But not now. Now I get it -- 39 is a good age. For most of us, we’ve found our career path, had kids if we wanted them. We’re still young enough to travel and play all of the sports we’ve always played. And if you make a mistake at that age, no problem… you still have a few decades (presumably) to recover.
Fifty is different. Turning 50 is waking up in the morning and facing death in the bathroom mirror. Suddenly you’re no longer human; you’re a ticking clock.
Time to whip out the bucket list.
High on my bucket list lately has been trying to find someone to spend my golden years with. I don’t want to die alone.
I want someone to plan vacations with, to talk to, to hold my hand.
But dating as a single mom is tricky. You can’t just meet someone like you did in your teens and 20s or even 30s and say, “Hey. This feels good. Let’s see how it goes.”
Because there are kids to be considered. As a single mom, priority one is always protecting the kids’ hearts.
So my policy is not to introduce my kids to anyone I date… for about a year. But now they are old enough to notice when a date call comes in and they have lots of questions. They could fill in for Barbara Walters.
“What’s his name? What’s he like? Is he funny? Does he like to ride dirt bikes? What did he say?”
Funny. I didn’t think to ask the dirt bike question, I tell them. “And as for what he said? He said, ‘Your kids ask so many questions. They should replace Barbara Walters.’”
“Who’s Barbara Walters?”
That’s another thing that makes you feel old. Your kids don’t get any references beyond the past 10 years. They have no idea how hysterically funny most of my clever remarks are. Turns out I tell mostly old people jokes.
They just look at me like examining a dinosaur in a museum. “Huh?”
In fact, I used to tell my kids when they were younger that when I was a kid, dinosaurs still roamed the Earth — and they were really annoying. “Really?” they asked me, eyes widened.
I suppose 50 will seem young to me when I turn 80.
So stay tuned. By then I’ll really have something to complain about.