I'm 50 now. This is not old, even though the kids will say it is. (Why, oh WHY did I think procreation was such a great idea?) I've always loved the idea of being married for 50 years. It was a big shock to me to be divorced, because I had worked so hard to avoid it. But then, somehow, I wound up married to Tim, despite all my protestations, despite all my careful planning to be a little old lady with a nice garden and cats. Tim and I are happy people, and I remind him frequently of my plan to be married for 50 years. After all, we're both the same age. We only have to live to be 91. And when we're married 50 years, I want a big party. After I get that party, why he can do what he wants. If he wants to lay down and die, well, I'll be sad, but I'll be okay with it. He needs to take good care of himself though. I want that party. If he dies before that, I'm going to kill him.
Anyways, there are benefits to being 50. Probably the biggest one is that the kids are grown up, and while they stop your heart on a fair regular basis, they don't live with you. This means you can have your heart attack, and then take a deep breath and go do something else. When the number one (and two...and three, etc. etc.) cause of your heart attacks lives under your roof, that's harder to do. Another thing about being 50 is that you find yourself looking life straight in the eye. That's not a bad thing either. In my case, this translates to: "You know, I've never done that before" which is followed by a deep breath -- and then I do it. Just to see. Just to say that I've done that.
Once I took care of an elderly woman who was dying. Boy howdy, she was a strong willed and stubborn woman. The agency had a hard time finding people to take care of her because she could be mean. She once threw a birthday cake at me. Much to her surprise, I stayed anyway. She did not realize that I was strong willed and stubborn also and therefore saw those traits as strengths, not charactor flaws.
Hers was a long and protracted dying, and it was awful. She refused to accept the diagnosis and fought the good fight, and for a long time. When she died, I sat in her quiet house with her body, waiting for her daughter to drive in. I studied that face. I wrote a poem. "She stood upon a precipice. She didn't want to die. Finally, no choice, she leapt...to discover she could fly."
If you are a wise person, you learn from others. In this case, I learned a lot about life from her death. At 50, I am taking leaps of faith. And I'm discovering that I can fly.