And... it's another birthday. This one? 52. Fifty-frigging-two.
You know that expression, "You're as old as you feel"? I'm starting to understand it, because no one who is 52 would ever be able to say they feel as old as that actually sounds when you say it out loud. No one believes it is ever going to happen to them: the being older than 50 phase of life.
But... it is what it is. And it's fine. I was saying to Georges today that I think I am the poster child for late bloomers everywhere. I've been a late bloomer my entire life. I figured out what I wanted through my life choices and experiences (both the good and the bad, and even the ugly), and changed course whenever I wanted to or when I felt it was in my best interest to do so. I've changed careers several times and changed where I've lived even more times.
At 43, I saw 44 and 45 coming down the pike awfully fast, and decided I needed the biggest change of all: to move to Paris to write, as I'd always wanted to do, and to see where THAT might lead me. And look where it DID lead: I'm still here, and I'm not alone.
This morning, the first words I heard from Georges were "Happy Birthday, mon amour". I got 52 kisses (26 on each check) from my adorable Garçon. A little while later, the two of them went out, and when they returned they had a huge bouquet of flowers and a shopping bag, because Georges is cooking up a surprise dinner tonight; I don't even know what's cooking! And then we went out all together for brunch and a walk. I talked to my mom and sister on the phone when we got back to the house, and I'm being birthday-bombed on Facebook even as I write this, which is really sweet. So much love, caring and thoughtfulness surrounding me, from every direction and on two continents (maybe even more!) I'm a lucky woman.
So what does turning 52 mean to me? I'm ambivalent about it, actually. I'm not thrilled to be getting older -- is anyone, after the age of 30? -- but it happens to everyone and I'm learning to accept what is. Hey - I'm alive, I'm safe, and I'm loved. My intention is that 52 is the year I am published, so I've got that to look forward to. My goals at this point are pretty simple and pretty clear: health, love, travel, writing, and appreciating the life I have for as long as I may have it. Seriously, what more could I possibly want? (Since someone else already won that $590 million Powerball jackpot yesterday, I mean. And I didn't win any money in the French scratch-off lottery ticket I bought today, either.)
I tried to think of something cool that is associated with "52" - and this is what I came up with: a little B-52's! I used to LOVE LOVE LOVE this song, it always lifts my mood, and when my nephew Steve was really little, about 4 or 5, we used to sing it together while sitting in his parents' driveway in my little red VW Cabriolet convertible, with the top folded down after washing the car together. You never saw anything as cute as that little red-headed boy doing a fist-pump every time they sang "Love Shack BABY!" When Steve got married nearly two years ago, we even danced to it at his wedding because he still remembered it!
My own tin roof may be getting a bit rusted now, at 52 (and that's what the coiffeur is for), but you know what? I've still got the moves.
So on my birthday, let's all dance to some B-52's -- the Love Shack, baby!