via Daily Prompt: Fifty
I just have 52 more days left of my forties. I know this for a fact because I have counted. This should tell you how much turning fifty years old is bothering me. On October 13, 2016, I will have been on this earth a half of a century. Let’s just let this sink in for a minute. I know, it is hard, isn’t it? I have been trying to wrap my mind around the fact I was turning fifty since my 49th birthday last year.
To be honest, I have never liked milestone birthdays. They always make me a little sad, because I always feel like I am leaving something behind. I refused to celebrate my 20th birthday because, even though the teen years were traumatic for me, I was sad my teen years were over. I practically took to my bed when I turned 30 because, when you are 20, you are still considered young. People in their 20s’ are expected to make mistakes and fumble around while they try to figure out how this life works and how to be an adult. However, by the time a person reaches the age of 30, the learning curve is over and the person is expected to suddenly morph into a confident, competent adult who has their life figured out. I just wasn’t ready to turn thirty. Even though I had a career and was in a great relationship, I didn’t feel like I had anything figured out. I needed another year or two of my 20s.
Strangely enough, turning 40 didn’t bother me that much. I felt like I was finally the confident, competent adult I was supposed to be when I was thirty. I thought my future was bright but, then, my battle with Multiple Sclerosis and seizures worsened. My forties haven’t been the walk in the park I thought they would be. My mother died when I was 41. The very next year, my MS became worse, and I started having seizures again. I hadn’t had a seizure in 14 years but, suddenly, I was having at least one seizure every two weeks.
After this started, my 4os were filled with one Doctor’s appointment after another. Each time I went they prescribed new medicines, new tests, physical therapy and if they didn’t know what to do, they referred me to yet another Doctor. Maybe this is why turning 50 is bothering me so bad. I feel like I got cheated out of my forties. We have all heard the saying ” forty is the new thirty”. Well, for me, forty was the new ninety. I want my forties which are supposed to feel like the new thirties. I feel cheated.
It didn’t help for me to read the article series which is being published in the Washington post detailing how the death rate for women between the ages of 25-65 is increasing. The death rate for all other age groups and for the opposite sex is decreasing but the death rate for women in my age group is increasing. As I sat and read one part of the series, I started thinking of all my female friends and female acquaintances who have passed. Some were older than me but not by much. Some were even younger than me. Then, I started thinking about friends I know who are battling cancer or other life-threatening diseases. Two of those friends are younger than me. It is scary.
I don’t mean for this post to be morbid but this has been on my mind. It was on my mind even before I read the Washington post series. It is hard for it not to be. When I was a little girl, I always wondered why the older people in my life would read the obituaries in the newspaper first. They would turn to the page which contained the obituaries, even before they read the headlines on the front page. I always thought it was strange but now, I find myself doing the same thing. Maybe, it is natural for a person to become a little morbid as we get older. I mean, I am a realist. My Dad died on his 66th birthday. My mom was 69 when she passed. When my Dad celebrated his 33rd birthday, his life was already half over. Because neither of my parents lived to be in their 70s’ or 80’s and I am already having health problems, I probably was not gifted with the longevity gene.
But, there is nothing I can do about it. Unless I die in the next 52 days, I will turn 50. There is nothing I can do to change this fact. The only thing I can do is continue to live my life. None of us truly know what the future holds. I just have to try to live the best life I can possibly live. I need to remain as active as possible for as long as possible, try to keep a good attitude, and be as good a person as I can be. I need to remember to cherish every day of my life. I need to spend time with family and friends. I need to laugh often and love even harder. If I do these things, maybe my fifties will end up being the best decade of my life. Just, maybe, my fifties might be the new forty.