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I recently discovered that I am old. How, you say? How can a person not know how old they are? It’s not that I didn’t know the actual number. Of course I know that. I’ve been in a constant battle with gray hair. They all must die, even though they think they’re slick by showing up in  places other than the top of my head. But I still find them. And it’s not that I haven’t noticed that I’ve been through a few things in my life and  have shared things I’ve learned with the younger generation. I’ve done that.

It’s just that I don’t feel old on the inside. And  I don’t think I look old on the outside, but you know.. sometimes you tell yourself what you need to hear. But it seems other people saw the same thing when they looked at me. They would say, "Oh Stephanie, you haven’t changed a bit!" Pull-eese. How can you have grown children and not be up there in age? All that smoke folks have been blowing up my butt has done nothing but cured my brain like a Easter ham .  

So, I’m sitting here looking at two numbers. Alone, they don’t have much of an impact. The numbers in question are the number five and the number zero, who some suggest isn’t really a number at all. But here they are.. a five right next to a zero. The big  five-oh. 50. Saying it out loud leaves a funny taste in my mouth and I’m surprised at that. I have never been a person who stresses about age. I’ve just been moseying along, going through life as best as I could. Even most of the men in my life have been younger than me, including the one in my life as I type this.  But then, it hit me. Come December 2012, I will turn 50 years old. I don’t quite know what to do about this. I can’t lie about my age. Well, I could.. but, like I said, I have grown children. My oldest son is almost  30. I don’t want folks to think I had him at 12. Not for my sake, but my mother would look like she didn’t do her job. Can't do that to Mrs. E.  

50. Wow. It’s a heck of a milestone. I should only feel pride about it. My two sons have both graduated from college and are working and taking care of them selves. They are both doing well in comparison to other young men. I’m so proud of them. I guess the question is.. am I proud of myself? Sure, I have a great job and wonderful friends, a man in my life that I absolutely love, family, including a mother who is still living and we’ve finally settled into a mature relationship.  And I do right by all my family and friends, or at least I try to. I guess the question that is bugging me is, have I done right by me? Have I been honest with myself about who I am?  If I haven’t by now, then shame on me. Are there things I’ve wanted to do but were afraid of doing? Things I like to do but are embarrassed to admit? This is crazy. I’m a grown ass woman! I shouldn’t be afraid of anything but God Almighty and Equifax.  But here I sit with clip-on earrings because all my life I’ve been afraid of getting my ears pierced. Clip-ons! Shame on my old ass. Buying earrings at Claire’s boutique with 8-year-old girls, who by the way, have their ears pierced already! I’ve pushed an entire human from my hoo-hah and can’t get a tiny hole in my ears to hang trinkets from. I should give myself a time-out for this alone.

You know what? This is it. Before the numbers flip to 5-0, I’m gonna do a few things. I’m going to start my list toward the 50 yard line and make some things happen. Down by down, 10 yards at a time. Here are a few things on my to-do list:

1. Get my ears pierced.

2. Sing in front of people…even if it’s Karaoke.

3. Finish my novel

4. Have full fat ice cream on a Tuesday.. just because

5. Write a tv sitcom script

6. See the Grand Canyon

7. Go to Fiji

8. Eat a cheese burger and not feel guilty afterward.

9. Celebrate for no reason

10. Stop making excuses for any and everything

11. Jump in the ocean and not care if my hair is soaked to the roots

12. Forgive my Ex’es…all of them… YES, YOU TOO. Not that you deserve it, I mean.. How can a man just?.. Wait a minute… maybe I’m not there yet…Forgive MOST of my ex’es.

13. Make sure the people that I love, know that I love them

Not an earth-shattering list. Only two food-related items, so “yay” for me.  And honestly, I probably won’t make it to Fiji in the next month, but certainly before I turn 5-1. I guess the main thing I’m trying to do is be honest with myself, about myself. To live the life I want to live. I don’t want to keep making life decisions out of fear and obligation.  Bottom line, be true to myself. So here I go… on my way to the 50 yard line.

Special shout-outs to the Melrose High School class of 1980 who have all turned 50 this year.  We made it this far. Let’s take on the next 50 with dignity, grace and much Memphis attitude.

Checking off the last item on my list first, here are a few people I would like to tell that I love them:  Justin and Brandon Williams, Jeri Williams. Antonio Jr. Darin Florence, Evelyn and Tashawn Reed, Kimberly, Derrick and Darren Payne, Janice Calvin, Sybil Wilkes, Yolanda Starks White, Lue Calhoun, Marcelina Olan, Ema Crystal , Samantha Chalmers, and Tom Joyner.  I love me some ya’ll.  I hope you are all in my life on the other side of the 50 yard line.  Now excuse me while I go get some ice cream. It’s Tuesday.


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2 thoughts on “The 50 Yard Line

  1. wellsk1959 on said:

    I’ve passed that landmark three years ago, and I was never afraid to approach it. I look at it this way–I rather be 53 and living than 53 and dead. And while I’m still living, I can improve my relationships with my wife, sons, mom and siblings. I have too much to do to worry about how old I am.

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