Monday, May 12, 2014

Mid-life, no crisis

This is the week I celebrate having been on this lovely planet for 50 years. "Celebrate" may be too strong a word; it's more like I nodded to it in passing. (Some of you might have noticed that my birthday on some sites, like Goodreads, don't agree with what I'm saying here; that's because I don't like to give out my real birth date for no good reason.)

While I'm not thrilled about turning 50, as a lovely woman who works at my local library always says, "aging sucks, but it's better than the alternative." I have a wonderful life and am in decent health and shape, so I'm happy to be alive and hope for 50 more years of wonderful life and decent health.

A milestone birthday is a good opportunity to pull out the embarrassing photos, so here ya go.
Mom and me...1964.
I'm probably 3 or 4 months old here...what were they thinking, letting me loose like this?
This is my favorite photo of Dad and me. He's still as goofy to this day.
I was amused...and standing, so I must be close to 1 years old by now.
Around 2-3 years old at a park. Up until my late 20s, I remembered this outing and that dress clearly (now I only remember it as a memory of a memory). As the day wore on, the chain on the dress became detached bit by bit until it completely fell off by the time we left the park.
I was about kindergarten age here, 4-5 years old. This was taken at my favorite aunt and uncle's house. My cousins were my best friends.
December, 1973, our second Christmas in Canada. Even if I didn't give the year, you probably could have guessed by the shade of orange my mother was wearing. Holy Tacky Decade, Batman.
High school graduation, 1982. I won some prize for having the highest grade in some class or another, but that big grin was just because I was SO FREAKING HAPPY to get out of that hell-hole.
Summer, a present to myself for completing my degree at UBC, I went on a 6-week trip through Europe with a friend. This was on the ferry from Brindisi, Italy to Athens, Greece. The captain was having a good time posing with me and my friends...
My sister and I used to joke that we were twins joined at the elbows (and separated by 4 years). This was us in 1989 at my wedding. For the record, I did NOT force my bridesmaids to wear that color or style. I may be the only bride in history who let the bridal party choose their own outfits.
Judging by the height of the kids, this must have been around 2001 or 2002. 
With the family and my father-in-law in 2007 or 2008.
On my 46th birthday in 2010, wearing the dress I wore to my grade 12 prom.
2012...good I've aged.

March, 2014, at the Riverwalk in San Antonio, TX
May 2014...50...sigh
I'd like to think that I didn't just fritter (mmmm, fritters...) away those 50 years, so I'm going to share some things I've learned.

1) Read and listen carefully. Some of the biggest avoidable blunders you'll make are because you didn't read or listen carefully. I still have this problem, but I know when I have myself to blame.

2) Choose friends wisely, and your spouse/partner triply so. I think I've succeeded with this 90% of the time. I've only made (and un-made) one insane friend in the past 5 years.

3) Choose your spouse/partner wisely, with gastronomic tastes as a major factor and also based on how well that person complements your own skills or lack thereof.

4) Persevere, but know when to give the poop up. I've done pretty well with this in general, though there'd been times when I gave up far too easily and now regret it.

5) Have faith in yourself, but don't be blind to your shortcomings and where you really lack abilities. Unfortunately, my Chinese upbringing makes me see all my shortcomings and lack of abilities clearly, and I don't have as much faith in myself as I should. I hope I have another 50 years to overcome this handicap.

What lessons have you learned in life? Are you dreading turning 50, or, if you already passed it, are you enjoying being over 50?

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be." ~ Douglas Adams