After hitting the half century mark a couple of weeks ago, I've thought about aging quite a bit. Ending my forties actually came as a relief. They were the absolute worst decade of my life, and I've had this niggling hope that maybe all the drama, grief and trauma will ease up for awhile. If not, I've got a much better idea of just what I can handle. Coming through the illnesses and losses and remaining somewhat intact has actually given me a greater sense of self-respect.
What to do next and how to do it with the available resources are still the big questions, and I confess the answers are slow in coming. One of the things I don't like about aging is building the energy I need to do everything also takes more time, and the deadlines seem much shorter than they used to. I don't care too much for the aching joints, the deteriorating vision, and the little memory slippages. (Dang it, I left my glasses in the living room!) The self consciousness at job interviews when I'm the oldest one there, including the interviewer, isn't too much fun either. Everything has a downside.
Simple feminine vanity has actually been a comfort at turning 50. I've heard this quote attributed to people as varied as Abraham Lincoln, Gloria Steinem, George Orwell and Coco Chanel, and it makes me feel good. "Nature gives you the face you have at twenty. Life shapes the face you have at thirty. But at fifty you get the face you deserve." Granted, I now spend more time preparing my face to be naked at bed time than I used to spend on my daily makeup. Being able to look myself in the face, know every flaw and still feel good may have only come because I have aged. That may be worth the AARP card.