On June 5, I turned 49. Knocking on 50's door sounds old when I view it as a chunk of time; almost half of a century. Fifty, like every decade that seemed too old and impossible for me to enter, beginning with 30, becomes more youthful, appropriate -- not so old -- the closer I get to it. Looking back at the milestone years, especially viewing photographs, I think...Man, I was young. Why was I so self-conscious of my appearance? I also recall what was happening in my life -- the things that troubled me, left me feeling dissatisfied, unfulfilled. What could have possibly given me stress? I should have enjoyed more and worried less. Moved through the struggles and challenges, breathing, and knowing everything was going to be all right. Not easy, but all right.
I spent my birthday mostly solo. My teenage sons had long-laid plans with friends to spend the day and evening at a local amusement park, celebrating the end of the school year. My husband had to work; although he offered to do anything I wanted. I wanted to get my nails done, which I did at 7:30 AM. I wanted to see a movie that I knew neither my husband nor 9-year-old son would likely enjoy. And, I wanted to shop for and choose a new mountain bike. The time alone truly appealed to me.
The movie was Iris. With freshly painted red toenails and Tiffany Blue fingernails I made my way to downtown Salt Lake City, battling traffic generated by the Utah Pride Festival and a public funeral service at Temple Square for an LDS apostle who died earlier in the week. The contrasting attire and general energy contained within cars and spilling onto sidewalks amused me. Midday, at the Broadway Centre Theatre with seven other viewers -- all older than me by at least 20 years -- I was touched and inspired by Iris Apfel and her husband Carl. It was the perfect documentary to watch on a day that began with me baking my birthday cake (after returning from my early morning nail appointment), thinking about aging, and contemplating new boobs. All things I'm perfectly comfortable with.
I'm far from a fashionista like Iris, although I enjoy creating and playing with aesthetics and style. But Iris Apfel is more than her fashion icon label; she's a woman who's lived life fully, is intelligent, curious, and well-matched with her adoring husband, Carl. She knows who she is and is unapologetic, yet not nasty or unkind. I just love her. And Carl. Maybe you will, too.
One week into being 49, I've handled the mundane -- scheduled windows and carpets to be cleaned, received bids on house repairs, grocery shopped and laundered for the family -- and fielded a TB scare (yes, as in tuberculosis -- I don't have it). I've also laughed with friends, run on trails, worked on my novel, read entertaining fiction, and looked out very clean windows. All with brightly colored nails, and a renewed tenacity for life, dreams, and fluidity...
...while a sheepdog who loves me patiently waits for my attention.