The Soapbox Papers

The Soapbox Papers is my two-cents worth.

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Location: Beloit, Wisconsin, United States

I am a cross between Tinkerbell and Calamity Jane.

Monday, September 20, 2004

The New Thirty

It's become popular to refer to the age of 50 as "The New Thirty" -- and I suppose it is because so many Baby Boomers have hit the fifties. It sounds dreadful, so they disclaim it. These folks haven't learned yet that there is a grace that comes with fifty, a serenity, if one allows it; even the least of us has accomplished something on the way to being 50. I passed fifty flying -- and barely gave it a nod. There is no shame in fifty. And at 50 you start getting mail from AARP, which gets you discounts and other instruments of power if you choose to spend the $10 a year.

Look. Fifty is fifty. That's all there is to it. These cases in which we live are showing a little wear and tear, some of their parts are wearing out, malfunctioning, and being attacked by outside sources. All we can do about it is hoist it all up, take a Centrum Silver vitamin, and get by as best we can. The spirit, that ageless thing that lives within the cases we show others, stays at whatever age one chooses to stay. Sometimes it is traumatized, sometimes it is rejuvenated, the spirit shows itself, if one cares to look, past the encumberances of aged bodies. I can't dance anymore. But I can chair dance, and I realize that one of the regrets of my life will be that I did not dance more when I could.

After fifty you've got to make modifications. I can't drive a 5 speed anymore - I can no longer rely on my foot to hold the clutch in - but I can drive and I do get around. I can't eat as I did once, either - after 50 the body often changes its needs, rejecting what were once considered 'comfort foods.'

I know some people who have "old souls." They have a wisdom that does not correlate to their ages. It's as though they have been around a time or two, learned life lessons via osmosis or some other mysterious process. They are the blessed ones among us. Their purpose seems to be to make the rest of us smile, to cheer us, to remind us where we have been. The don't often strive for greatness, because they are calm in their souls, they are content with being happy and in sharing that happiness. Money isn't important to these folks, either. If they have it, that's okay, it makes life easier and more pleasant. If they don't, they get by as best they can and always seem to have enough to share anyway. Amazing people, these "old souls." I mention them here because they are ageless.

Age brings out vanity in people like nothing else. It's a standing joke that women lie about their ages, and men go through 'midlife crises' -- It seems to me that there has always been a joke about getting older. I celebrate it. It wasn't easy getting to this point in my life. There have been challenges presented and met, fires lit and allowed to burn down to warm embers. Nope -- the fire isn't out - just resting, waiting for the next gust of life to fan it back into flame. There is a certain peace in knowing this. One can stop worrying about it and get on to other things.

And there is a wisdom that comes with fifty that one does not have even the seed to at 30. Wisdom is knowledge applied - experience - and only time can bring this about. It used to be that young people actually went to their elders in search of answers to life questions. It doesn't happen much anymore, and, in fact, in many ways, it is wisest to seek out the young ones for some of the more technical answers. But the younger folks are impatient with 50, don't seem to respect the years of just living that makes fifty and beyond so much better than thirty.

Fifty is somewhat set in its ways. Fifty knows what works and what doesn't and in which situation. They don't know all the answers, and don't pretend to; but in fifty-plus years they have learned where and how to find the answers. That is a wisdom unto itself.

It's late. My cat, Liberty, is mowwowing for me to go to bed so she has a place to sleep - against me. Sleep is important at 50 and beyond. It holds many diseases at bay by allowing the body to totally rest, and it allows the brain to do its sorting and filing processes that aid in memory and other things that appear to fade somewhat after 50.

So say it loud and proud - we're 50 (or more) and we're here - get used to it!

Yours for a nightcap --
Smokey




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