While waiting for the FBI to get back to me, I read an article a friend posted, “5 Reasons Women over 50 Should Start Something Big and New”. I was intrigued by the accompanying image of 50+ woman balancing a surfboard on her head as gray waves bounded to the shore, and also a bit confused. What profession was this? Surfing seemed more like a hobby, but could, I suppose, certainly qualify as a Big and New goal for those people who had not spent the last few months as I have, huffing and puffing away, trying to manage the finer points of workouts that rely on timing and coordination. Yes, it’s true; my Exercise for the Elderly class was not becoming easier the longer I stayed with it. Quite the contrary in fact. Each week I looked forward to the 90 minute class with great anticipation, and each time the class drew to a close I shuffled out, muscles aching and head bowed, mystified as to how these agile retirees manage to do this every day.
The article didn’t resonate with me, but still I read on, hoping to find some pearl of wisdom as to how to craft the second half of my life into something that made sense of the first, and that gave me a new, shinier (better) version of myself without the exhaustion (see above). It wasn’t there, of course. And perhaps I was expecting far too much from a social media post anyway.
When I turned 50 this time last year, I did so with equal amounts of trepidation and resignation. After talking to older friends who recounted in glowing terms their achievements after hitting the half-century mark- one of whom founded the first African American woman led investment firm in the US- I was ready for the transformation to begin.
To be honest, the year was a mixed bag. I traveled to 5 new countries, and was inspired by the talents and the welcoming nature of the people I met. I am still struggling, however, to move past being thrown out of a local restaurant for not giving up my seat for a later arriving patron when asked. I decided to return to my fine arts background, and had a solo exhibition of my large scale watercolors and sculptures at an Oakland gallery. My studio, though, remains stubbornly resistant to all forms of organization. My new determination to get in shape will not land me any awards (again see above). Dorian 2.0 still seems to be just out of reach.
And the FBI? I had contacted them after I received what I’m sure was a fraudulent email from someone wanting to buy one of my new paintings as an anniversary present by way of a courier with check in hand (“don’t worry about the shipping address- we will pick it up from you directly”), to “surprise” her spouse as they moved into a new home in Canada. Not leaving any lie unturned, she added that “I would have handled this much differently if I'd been at home but at the moment, am on training voyage to the North Atlantic Ocean, with new hires who are fresh from graduate school and won't be back for another couple of weeks.”
I may not know how getting older will shape me into the best version of myself, but the fiery part of me outraged by shiftiness of all sorts remains gloriously intact.