Oh, gosh, I was looking through old columns. I remember when turning 50 seemed like a big deal. This one brought back some happy memories, of Ken and Peryl, and of a time when it seemed like when you turned 50, why it ought to mean something. Two years ago, 50 was a big deal. Now I'm 52.
First, Tim got hit with it. Then a full month later, it was my turn. I am not talking about the flu. We both turned 50. I was not bothered by it, because I've been comforting myself with the proverb 'with age comes wisdom', so I expected that when I turned 50, there would be some sort of *poof* and I would suddenly be wise, because I've been sort of an oblivious, bumbling fool on a fairly regular basis up to this point.
Tim's a sensible, practical guy, and if something gets screwed up at our house, you can pretty much bet the ranch that Tim was not anywhere around. (You can also pretty much bet that I was.) But when we had his birthday party, we had some of Tim's friends from his days at Sheffield High School. Imagine my surprise to discover that I wasn't the only person who had been young and stupid. Renee, Larry, Denny and Sue had a lot to tell about Tim's young and stupid days. It was great fun to listen to the tales. (This leads me to the very next question...why is it so hilarious when you hear young and stupid stories about your husband, but when your son calls with a young and stupid story of his own, it makes you mad? But I digress.)
Back to the whole 'with age comes wisdom': I was really feeling pretty good about turning 50, and heaven knows, I was sure anxious to become wise. Then our neighbor, Ken, told a story about how he fell off the scaffolding when he was siding his house. He was on the second story level when he sailed off, head first, into some bushes by his house. Peryl thought for sure he was dead until she saw his foot move. He was banged up pretty badly, and managed to scare poor Peryl witless. He told me he felt so bad about it all that he went out and bought himself a hat with STUPID printed across the front. He said that whenever he gets to feeling less then humble, he gets out his hat and wears it around for awhile.
I went away from their house in a pensive mood. If 80 year old Ken still does stupid stuff, what hope did I have of suddenly becoming a sage at 50? I began to worry about it. On the fateful day, I turned 50. I waited all day. Just as I feared, there was no darn *poof*. I was really unhappy about this.
I was walking through the Walmart when it struck me. I am surely wiser than I had been say, 30 years ago. Maybe, instead of a *poof*, wisdom was a process. The more I thought about this, the more certain I was that this was true. I began to compile of mental list of what I have learned on the way:
I've learned that most people do the very best they can.
I've learned that no matter how hard you try, someone can (and most of the time, someone will) find things to criticize. Ignore them.
I've learned that if you hang around a gossip, you can bet your sweet bippy that when you are not hanging around them they will be gossipping about YOU. Avoid gossips.
Prayers get answered, so pray.
True love isn't effortless, but it is sure worth the effort.
Words are not always necessary.
A mother's work is never done. They may be in their 20's, but there will come a time when they'll need to hear the truth. Your job is to speak it. They may not listen, but you need to say it anyway.
When you love your job, it infuses your whole life with joy. Like many folks, I've worked a lot of jobs that I did not love, out of sheer necessity. My advice? Keep your eyes open, looking for a chance to do something you love. If you get a chance to do it, do not hesitate. Go for it.
Laughter is the very best medicine, but a hug follows in a very close second place.
We all have an obligation to help others.
The most important person is not a person at all.
When you listen to a frustrated farmer vent his spleen and he suddenly reaches across your truck to shake your hand, there's not a lot that is more honest than that.
There is nothing more comforting than to spend a winter night wrapped in an afghan with a really good book, and a purring cat on your lap.
I've learned that a dog knows more about love than a lot of people.
Caffeine is good.
You'll know that you are a good mother when you hear it from your grownup kids.
I wandered into the restroom while still mentally compiling my list. I caught a glimpse of a confused man in the mirror while washing my hands. Never at a loss for words, I cheerfully said, "Well, one of us appears to be in the wrong place." At that moment, I caught sight of the urinal. It struck me as such a Debby thing to do...trying to find evidence of my own wisdom while standing in the men's restroom at Walmart. I burst out laughing. The man left. Quickly. I may have frightened him. It would appear, friends, that I will live for a long time, or that I am destined to die dumb. I don't know. I'd like to write more, but I have to borrow a hat from my neighbor.