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~ The Big One! ~

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I’m not going to pretend that turning 50 isn’t a bit freaky. Even saying 50 feels weird. 50, 50, fiftyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!!

The anticipation leading up to a new decade is always daunting. But now that I’m here, 50 doesn’t feel the way I imagined it would. 50 always seemed to be the entryway to “old.” My impression of 50-somethings were frumpy older characters on TV shows or the schleppy older neighbour down the street; basically, anyone who is frumpy, old and schleppy. But when I look at my almost 50-year-old friends and famous folks who are turning 50, I see fit, vibrant, and very hot guys and gals!

Among many others, Julia Roberts, Nicole Kidman, Lisa Bonet, Jason Statham, Jamie Foxx and Liev Schreiber are all 1967 babies. Not bad company at all. True, I’m no Nicole Kidman (though M would counter, “She’s no Bonnie Kim!” Yup, M’s good like that). Besides getting some help from great makeup artists and lighting directors, Nicole clearly has exceptional genes on her side. I mean, have you seen her in the HBO series Big Little Lies? Gorgeous!

Sure, there are moments when I feel a bit creakier and crepier than before but, for the most part, 50 isn’t looking or feeling that crappy at all.

So, in no particular order, here are some of the best and worst things about turning The Big 5-0!

The best thing about turning 50 is the fun party M is throwing me. Food, drinky poos, ping pong, and a bunch of people I enjoy eating, drinking and ping ponging with, gathering together to celebrate MEEEEE!!!!!!!!! Playing ping pong (is it “playing ping pong” or “ping ponging?”), brings out the kid in me, and triggers fits of laughter and other curious vocalizations. At the end of the night, my face will have an imprint of every joyfully expressive moment. That’s the ironic pay-off for having fun – looking old when I’m feeling young.

The worst thing about turning 50 is when I tell people I’m turning 50, and their reaction is something like, “Wow! Happy Birthday!” and not something more appropriate like, “What?! Get the fuck out?! You don’t look a day over 35!” Throw a gal a bone people!

The best thing about turning 50 is, aside from falling asleep on the couch before 9pm, getting tipsier than usual after just two cocktails, and how ridiculously easy it is to throw my back out (opening the cheese drawer in the fridge anyone?!), I don’t physically feel the way I thought 50 would/should feel. I can basically do everything I ever did, I’m just more selective. I mean, there’s no point in both of us getting up and crossing the room to close the door, turn out the light or get my vodka martini with extra olives, etc.

Seriously, if I don’t continue to demonstrate the combinations in my dance classes full-out, I’ll be just a few pas-de-bourrées away from parking my 50-year-old ass in a chair, from which I’ll end up teaching the entire class, banging a stick to keep tempo, shawl draped across the chip on my shoulder, cigarette dangling between my snarling lips, nursing a diet coke and reminiscing about my glory days as a “dahncer.” That’s right, I’ll adopt a nondescript European accent and I’ll be bitter.

The worst thing about turning 50 is I’m often the oldest person in the room.

The best thing about turning 50 is I don’t always look like the oldest person in the room.

The worst thing about turning 50 is it’s sometimes hard to watch those who are older than me, getting older.

The best thing about turning 50 is I say what I mean more often (which can also be the worst thing).

The worst thing about turning 50 is I’ve lived more than half my life.

The best thing about turning 50 is my priorities have become crystal clear.

The worst thing about turning 50 is I have less patience, so I can get bitchy on a dime.

The best thing about turning 50 is I can still turn a head or two!

The worst thing about turning 50 is how invisible I feel in the world sometimes.

As 50 approaches, I don’t have all the answers. I’m kinder to myself. I’m a good person. I have faults. I value good health more than ever before. I don’t forgive easily, if at all. I’m usually self-aware and sometimes a ding-dong. I believe we get what we give. I believe we get in our own way most of the time. I hate complainers, especially when the complainer is me. I think a lot about the world, people, stuff. I’m protective. I have love in my life. I wish I was as generous as my dad.

Happy birthday to all you ‘67 babies!


~ So, this is happening… ~

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My underarms are depressed. The other day, as I stepped out of the shower and wrapped a towel tightly around me, I noticed something highly inappropriate out of the corner of my eye: CREPEY SKIN!

Not to be confused with CREEPY, “crepey” is the word I hear uttered in every anti-wrinkle cream commercial, by a model that’s likely in her early 20s, trying to convince this older gal that my skin will look smooth and elastic like hers, if I shell out hundreds of dollars for a tiny vial of miracle serum. And why does this fountain of youth always come in such a teensy vial with such teensy instructions that force me to pull out my fucking reading glasses that I finally had to buy because my fucking eyesight is also “not what it used to be?”

“Crepey” refers to the sagging, lacklustre, loose skin that seems to appear overnight on the reluctantly aging body. For the record, I’ve officially registered “crepey” skin under my arms, on top of my shoulders and on my kneecaps when I’m in downward dog. MY KNEECAPS!

As a bonus, I’ve also noticed that my eyelids are sinking into their sockets. It’s hard to describe, but especially when I’m tired, my eyelids seem to collapse into my skull. My face, the one part of my body that I want to keep plump, is deflating into an unamused sinkhole.

Grey hair? Not so much on my head, but in my fucking nostrils. And hidden in my eyebrows. Then there was the completely random, rather coarse hair I found on my ass a little while back. For days I’d felt what I thought was a scratch, on my right butt. When I finally looked at it in the mirror, I was startled to see a fucking hair. Huzzah!

I used to have great skin. No seriously, my friends, even strangers on buses used to tell me how great my skin was. Of course at the time, I couldn’t see what they saw. Do we ever? But looking at photos of me in my 20s, I totally see it now.

I always looked younger than my age. Probably an Asian thing, but it was always, “What?! You’re how old?! You don’t look such and such an age!” Lately, when my age comes up, I wait for the obligatory shocked reaction but alas that, too, has diminished. Now I get “Ma’am,” more than “Miss,” which, for the record, never feels good. Every so often I get thrown a bone, like when I was carded at the liquor store by a gal who was probably around my age. I chuckled as I handed her my ID, and I swear her body jerked a little from the shock of seeing my birthdate. She chuckled too, a little embarrassed and said, “Well, just be thankful you look young!” Trust me sister, I do. Or at least, I did.

Aside from these cosmetic changes and some physical discomforts, I still feel pretty youthful. Being a dancer has a lot to do with it. The whole rolling around on floors in stretchy pants, and general artsy vibe keeps me feeling young. These days, however, I’m in studios with people half my age, or younger. But I’m only reminded of it when someone says something like, “I was totally in kindergarten when 9/11 happened,” or “I’ve never used a payphone.”

Today is my birthday. I’m 48. Here are some things I’ve figured out so far:

Freckles become age spots after 30; grey hair does multiply when I pluck them, plus when they grow back, they stick straight up, like fucking beacons in the night; hangovers last more than one day; 28 was way harder than 38 or 48; repeating stories and forgetting names makes me feel old; I care less about what people think, but I still care too much; I’m continually gobsmacked by people’s capacity to love and to hate; getting matched with M on EHarmony, on my birthday, six years ago was the best present of my life; eating good food and wine is a transcendent experience; when people show you who they are, believe them (I borrowed that one from Maya Angelou); we all have cellulite, and we’re all afraid of something; getting older is easier (and way more fun!) when you have some great gals to commiserate with; and food tastes so much better, when I don’t give a shit about the calories.

Happy birthday to me! So far, so good.

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