As of next week, I will be half a century old. It's a little hard for me to wrap my head around because it seems like just a few minutes ago I was in my 30s. And my grandmother - who lived to be nearly 103 - said that the time just keeps getting faster and faster as you go. I've still got an awful lot to do, so I guess I'd better get busy.
Looking back, I don't have a lot to offer in the way of wisdom gleaned (it's just gone by too fast. See above.) But if I could tell my 20-something-year-old self anything it would be the following:
1. Don't be afraid to look stupid. When I think of all the time I wasted, all the things I got wrong or did badly, all that I didn't learn, all because I was aftaid of looking stupid, it makes me want to scream. Don't do it! Don't be afraid to ask stupid questions, or to reveal that you don't know what you're doing. It's (probably) the only way you'll ever learn anything, and there's a lot more to learn than you can possibly imagine.
It's possible that that being afraid to look stupid is the stupidest thing a person can ever do, but as I haven't yet tried all of the other ones I'm not in a position to say.
2. Take care of your health. Exercise especially. Also good nutrition, and sleep. I went through my twenties without getting regular exercise and it's one of my biggest regrets. It affected my energy level and outlook on life - things you can get back later, but you can't get back the lost time spent feeling crappy.
3. Don't waste too much time and energy on the opposite sex. They're generally not worth it. And when one is, it's not work. It's just right. I learned that from my friends Suzanne and Shay-Shay, and it's a lesson that has served me well.
That's about all I've got. Maybe I'll have learned more in another 50 years.
My mom called me up a few weeks ago wanting to know what I wanted to do on my birthday. She said that my sister who lives in Minnesota was planning to come out for my dad's birthday (he's turning 80 - I wonder how long he thinks it's been since he was 50) and that the three Sisses could all do something together to celebrate my aging. She suggested that we all go to a fancy hotel in Pasadena and get massages, sit in the sauna and maybe get our nails done.
I know she meant well, but when you're pushing 50 you just don't have time for that shit. Here's what I'm doing instead:
I've wanted to do trapeze ever since I saw Wings of Desire back in 1988. It's still one of my favorite films. And I'll be damned if I'm still saying this as I approach my 70th birthday. So I'm going to get together with Kerry Wee (who I met in my ballet class) and instead of sitting on our butts in a fancy hotel, my sisses and I are going to get up in the air and do some aerial acrobatics.
Strangely, when I put this to my Minnesota Sis, she told me that her plans had changed and that she was now looking forward to sitting out the rest of the winter at home, holed up in her apartment with her two kids, husband, dog and cat. Next to a frozen lake. So she's out.
My other Sis has muttered various excuses too, but it's going to be harder for her to get away to a frozen wasteland as she lives about five minutes away. Also, more to the point, she's only a year younger than me. So her 50th is just around the corner. And I've made it clear to both Sisses that the degree of enthusiasm they put into celebrating my big birthday will be the degree of enthusiasm they get on theirs. It's one of the very few perks of being the oldest.
So get stretching Sisses.
UPDATE: One of my Best Friends and honorary Sis, Silke, has upped the ante in the Sis of the Year Competition and decided to come all the way from Colorado to join me in my Aerial Escapades. Will anyone else join her? Honorary Sisses or otherwise? It's way too early to call this race...
UPDATE II: Looks like Jennifer may be on board too. That Minnesota Sis is starting to look a tad shabby.