I recently heard Oprah say that life for a woman begins at fifty. (Of course, ten years ago she said the same thing about a woman turning forty... but whatever). Anyway, I think there may be some truth to that. Still, if that is true, I've got precisely eighteen years to kill before my life really begins, so I figure I'd better have a plan for the interim.
In my twenties, I made some mistakes. A few faux pas, an oops here and there. So, I've got my thirties to fix all those mistakes. In a word, my thirties shall be all about restoration (sounds good in theory, looks good in print). Then I'll turn forty, and my forties will be about enjoying the journey - walking my son through his teen years, taking he and his friends out for pizza Friday night after the game, chaperoning class trips along with my endearing soul-mate of a husband (role yet to be cast). And then finally, climactically, I will enter into my fifties, and I will have arrived. Ta-da!
Or something like that.I have a few very dear friends who happen to be women in their glorious Fifties - sagely in their wisdom, almost ethereal in their beauty. There is a stunning sort of beauty that seems to come from knowing better. It is a relaxed assurance that illuminates their faces with a certain elegance that cannot be feigned by the younger set - it can only be earned by putting in one's time. They have forged their way to this place of justified contentment, and now they are basking in it.
I love to look at their hands - feminine and yet worn with years of loving service. How many lunches have they made, how many tears have they dried, how many times have they folded in prayer for those whom they love? (I look at my own hands differently since I have become a mother. Our hands become magical, you know, when we use them to nurture children, whether our own or others' children whom we love. Suddenly our magic hands can fix toy trucks and budge sticky zippers and cut peanut butter sandwiches just right.)
Anyway, I may have another eighteen years to go before my life can officially begin at fifty, but parts of me seem to be getting a head start, starting with the head itself: today, yet another proud wiry white hair poked its way up out of the crowd of blonde ones, daring me to yank it out. I didn't. I suppose it's a right of passage.
On the flipside, last week I got pulled over for speeding on my way to the office, and for the first time in a while, I wasn't able to charm my way out of a ticket. I guess maturation does have its disadvantages...