I have a new wrinkle on my face. Given that it is on the left side of my jaw, Botox would simply freeze my mouth either open or closed so it’s not an option. I’m sure this line comes from the way I sleep so I’ve been propping myself up on a pillow lately, face pointed toward the ceiling, with the goal of not rolling to the left or the right in my dreams.
I have a new puppy too. Blueberry, at 5 months (3 1/2 in people years) has such unbridled enthusiasm for life that it sometimes makes my head hurt. And my body. When I was out walking her the other day, Blue managed to wrap her leash around my legs so tightly that when I took a step I fell flat on my face. The face with the new wrinkle. I flipped onto my back in the street, squinting up at the sun and thinking WTF? Then I untangled the leash and struggled to my feet, no worse for wear except for a ragged hole in the knee of my new jeans.
At fifty years old, I have no parents left living. This situation is not remotely funny, nor is it unusual, at least from what I see written by my high school and college friends on Facebook about their experiences with death. I have lost friends too: Two died in their early 40s, and the sweet-faced, talented producer of the KCBS-TV morning show I used to co-anchor died of a stroke two weeks ago. He was 52 years old. I mourn these lost souls and miss them–and then life catches up again and moves forward.
My neck is chronically injured, a herniated disc, and the resulting nerve pain in my arm is unpleasant. I cracked a rib waterskiing last weekend, which hurts like hell but is healing fast. I will have cataract surgery this year, my genetically inherited eye problem getting bad enough so that I have trouble seeing even with glasses. But I’m told I will see like I did as a kid when it’s over.
Sometimes, it seems like we age so slowly that it’s easy to miss that we are losing time at all. Didn’t I just turn forty a week ago? And thirty a month before that? Twenty years ago I was childless, unmarried, and working as a news reporter in Chicago–so much has happened to get me where I am today.
My life at fifty includes so many blessings it is impossible to list them, but I will attempt an abridged version. My husband, while he sometimes annoys me by being too smart, is so sweet and supportive that it’s easy to believe we will be together until death do us part. My children, while I sometimes want to lock them in a closet for being smartasses, are healthy and make me laugh every day. My sisters are both living beautifully and I have several close friends whom I trust. My mother-in-law shares her clothes and jewelry and laughter so freely with me that I know she loves me like a real daughter. And my father-in-law? Well, he is just Dad.
Lucky me, lucky me, lucky me, lucky me, lucky me.
And so on this January 26, 2015, I say, bring it on, Fifty. Hurt neck, cracked rib, bad eyes, injured heart–it’s all part of living a full life. And tonight, when I go to bed, I’m going to curl up in the most comfortable position I can find, despite the deepening wrinkle that shouts my age to anyone who cares to look. And tomorrow, if my luck holds, I’ll wake up one day older.