Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Embracing 50

In the months and weeks leading up to my 50th birthday I thought about how amazing it is what time and children do to your life.  Motherhood, marriage and daughterhood have completely changed my priorities.  I miss that selfish girl from my 20's, but I'm so glad I have her to reflect on from time to time.  That girl knew how to have a damn good time! Too bad she wanted so desperately to get married. Like she was missing something. Ha! I laugh at her now.  Especially, when I think of my niece who is in her 20's and spending it traveling the world, without a care about getting married or having children. I am so impressed by and proud of her.

I always thought I would do something fabulous for this special birthday. Maybe I would go to Paris! Maybe a girls trip with my closest girlfriends.  Maybe I would have a big party.  But as it came closer, through mental exhaustion all I could do was think, I just want to sleep for my birthday. How boring am I? 

Having grown up not really celebrating my birthday because of my mother's religious beliefs,  which in turn became my beliefs that I never quite felt comfortable with.  We were a part of the Jehovah's freakin Witnesses until I turned 17 and had finally had enough of that bullshit.  I just could not see why I had to be continuously judged by a group of people about the way I lived my life.  I hated the all invasiveness of it all.  Hence, I am scarred for life.

I finally started celebrating my birthday at the age of 17.  I had the first the birthday party since my 5th birthday. I vaguely remember my mom planning a surprise party for me. That was when she and my dad were still together, before she turned to the Witnesses as her support system.

After reclaiming my life and independence from that religion,  it was like my birthday was a national holiday. I couldn't get enough attention from my family and my friends. I felt like I had missed out all of those years. I had to make up for lost time.

During my 20's when I still lived in Los Angeles where I grew up, my birthday was a month long celebration that I couldn't stop talking about the entire month before. I made sure everyone remembered. I may have been a little obnoxious about it. (Right Jenny and Mary?)  But my friends indulged me and so did my family.  There was a special dinner and/or lunch with each and every set of friends in my honor. Occasionally, there was a party and it was all about me!

As I turn 50  of course, it's hard to believe. I'm still a young party girl in my head. Except now, most of my partying takes place in my car, as I drive around in circles within a 10 mile radius of my house doing all of the mom things.  I dance unabashedly to my 80's and 90's tunes, from rock to R&B to rap. My boys hate my dancing and loathe my music choices. That doesn't stop me. I play it louder when they're not in the car. 

This year leading up to the big day, all I could think about every day was just how tired I am.  It's been a busy few months with trying to pull together services for Red, dealing with his behaviors and crappy, ungrateful attitude. I felt a special kind of mental exhaustion  Some days I was so tired, I wondered if I was dying. Seriously.

I  desperately wanted some peace and quiet. I had nothing left over for planning anything special.  All of my planning and coordinating was for my family.
All I really wanted was...not to have to do anything for anyone
Not to listen to or solve anyone else's problems. 
Not to buy anyone's groceries.
Not to drive anyone anywhere for any appointments. 
Not to cook, make sure anyone eats or takes medication. 
No meetings or phone calls to coordinate anything for anybody.
Not to talk or have to listen to anyone talk, and talk and talk. 

I mused of days of freedom to do whatever I want. Just a few days ...a month, or the rest of my life.
A girl can dream right?

I even found myself having frequent thoughts about quitting my job. Sorry dudes! I quit. I'm outta here. Find another sucker to be your mother.

Back in the days when I had an actual career, if I got tired of a job, tired of a boss not appreciating all of my hard work, that was it! Good bye! Sayonara baby! Moving on to bigger and better things. More money. More opportunities.  Something new. Some place new.

Sadly, this is not a job that one resigns from.  Lord only knows we can't afford a replacement. Someone might take the job, but I don't think they would stay long.

A part of me is still that little girl who would have a big ballyhoo for her birthday.
I just did not have it in me to coordinate such an event that would include everyone that I love, or at least a good portion of them.
I couldn't make a decision about what I wanted, or where I wanted it.
I knew for sure that I didn't want a party for the sake of  saying, I had a party, with only my local friends in Texas and I love my friends in Texas. However,  this place still doesn't feel like home to me. I wanted to be surrounded by my people.  The ones whom I love and who have loved me most of my life.

Lately, my husband hasn't had the bandwidth between work, travel and our family drama to put something like that together.  Especially for a high maintenance, control freak, wife like myself.  He will love that I have admitted this, in writing no less.

But you see that one of the wonderful things about age and maturity...
You know who you are, flaws and all.
I embrace the beautiful mess that I am.
It's glorious really.
I know what I want
I know what I don't want.
I know that I don't have to settle, just so that I can say I did this or that.
I don't have the time or energy to just go through the motions.
If I could not have it all, I'd rather not have it.
I don't surround myself with people, just for the sake of  having people around.
I spend what little free time I have surrounded by with people who I truly connect with.
I spend time with those who I know truly love me, flaws, craziness and all.

I have come to value true friends.
People who never go out of their way for you, but will come to the party to have a good time are not your friends. They are people you know.
People who will actually reach out when they can see that you're down ...those are friends.
True friends are there for you through the good, the bad and the crazy.
True friends are able to pick right back up wherever you left off, no matter how much time has passed since you were able to spend time together.
True friends don't keep score.
They will call you out of the blue to say hey, I was thinking about you. Let's get together, even though it's been months, or years.
My family sometimes teases me saying, "You know your friends are crazy."
I absolutely know this.
Being crazy is kind of a requirement to be my friend.
I don't judge my friends for their choices in life.
They don't judge me for mine.
We love each other for exactly who we are.

For my 50th, I didn't get that totally relaxing week or month, to myself. I chose to spend a fun-filled weekend in New York City, just me and my husband.  For someone who wanted to simply sleep for her birthday, that may seem like an odd choice.  The city that never sleeps. 
Hubby: There's always a lot of traffic on 34th Street
Me: Is it because of the miracle? 
I knew that we needed to reconnect and we had put this trip (that had already been paid for) off due to family obligations last year.  It would not require a great deal of planning, decision making, coordinating or a huge expense.

I got to sleep in, but our days were packed with activity from walking, to subway rides, taxi's, a Broadway show, "It's Only a Play", drinking and dining our way through Greenwich, all over Manhattan, to Mintons, Jazz Club in Harlem.  We even traveled as far north as Yonkers to have dinner with my sister-in-law and her family.

On my actual birthday, we took a long walk through Central Park, sat, people watched and listened to all of the accents being spoken, from German, to Italian and Russian.  The whole time, all I wanted to do is pull out my laptop and write. Wow! So many stories were walking through that park.
Me and Hubby -Central Park
We had a great Italian dinner, followed by an evening of jazz. When all was said and done, I was physically exhausted. But this exhaustion was a good exhaustion.  It did not come from mental anguish or frustration.  It came from living life and creating memories.

The Big Apple was there and I took a bite.
Central Park April 6, 2015
Fabulous at 50! 
I still plan on finding at least a quiet weekend to myself someday in the near future.  I need a vacation to recuperate from my vacation.

Wishing you all Love and light....