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May 19, 2008

The Year of Turning 50 -- It's All in My Head

Joanne In 149 days I will turn 50. 

Yes, 49 and change is my chronological age, but I'm discovering that, at least in my head, 50 isn't my mother's 50, anymore.

I've already been told by a good friend that I look "freakishly" young for my age, so I'm definitely embracing that!  And as the mother of a second-grader, I am generally surrounded by other adults who are least a decade younger than me.  Plus, there's one more thing -- I'm not 49+ in my head.

Some would call that denial, but in mentally I'm somewhere in my mid-30's.  Why that age versus another, I don't know, but that's how I feel.  So, as I creep closer to the mid-century mark this year, I've decided that I will NOT be turning 50 this year!

Because, really, what's the point?  Sure, AARP has already tried to force its membership on me.  I know I'm in good company, though my abs definitely could use a little work. 

Yes, I know all the sayings -- it's better than the alternative and I may as well enjoy the ride.

My problem is that, unfortunately, 50 in my head IS my mother's 50 and my grandmother's 50.  My mom had me when she was just 19 years old.  On the day I was born, my grandmother was a week shy of her 40th birthday (obviously I broke the pattern of early motherhood in my family!)  So I have vivid memories of both of them when they turned 50.  My grandmother was prematurely gray, so she always looked like an old lady to me, even though she wasn't.  But by the time I was ten, she was well done with rearing her own children and firmly on the path of grammy-dom.

While my mom didn't act 'old' when she turned 50, her children were all adults at that point, as well.  So in my mind, there is no WAY I could be 50 because 50 = done raising children. 

I, on the other hand, am firmly ensconced in the world of all elementary school things -- soccer practice, playdates and emerging girlhood traumas.  A world where a skinned knee is still something that needs a kiss more than a bandage and where likes and dislikes turn on a dime.

I know being on this state of semi-denial won't really change anything and that I'd better really start getting some more exercise if I want this aging mind and body to be in good shape for the years when PunditGirl is no longer a child.  But if I can find a comfy mental space to make the transition, is that such a bad thing?

Original 50-Something Moms blog post.  When Joanne isn't  obsessing over the big 5-0, you can find her writing about motherhood and politics at her place, PunditMom.  In her "spare" time, she's also at MOMocrats and BlogHer, where she is a Contributing Editor for Politics & News.

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