Another Chapter

The perfect age is 38. I made this declaration on the eve of my 51st birthday as my husband and I talked about the significance of this birthday. My 50th birthday came and went last year; I got a few more birthday cards than normal. This year, the usual smattering of cards along with some Facebook greetings, emails and text messages. But, as they say, it’s all good. This surely has been a transition year. My career change; deciding to begin a PR consulting business (What’s Next Productions) and actually signing my first client (Plato’s Closet franchise owners in the region).
We spent the weekend in Ocean City just as we have one weekend in June every year for years. My parents, brother and his wife and the three of us enjoyed family time with an ocean view. Doug and I spent a few hours on the beach Saturday. There were high school seniors soaking up the sun. Their toasted bodies showed no wrinkles or lines. Their smiles were carefree and (for the most part) their hair color was untouched by chemicals. Now looking at the groups of happy-go-lucky groups lying on colorful towels on this perfect beach day in June, I felt all of my 51 years. Your mind jumps into “oh-my-god” mode. How did the time go so quickly? Why didn’t I study in Europe? Why didn’t I take that OTHER job? What would have happened if… And then I stopped. I know the phrase, “count your blessings” is so cliche. But there’s a reason: it’s TRUE! I have a wonderful husband, son, family, a new career path, friends all the things you have no idea about when you’re 18. Now, when your 38, that’s PERFECT! You’ve been through all of the growing pains, trials and tribulations, breakups, career hiccups and missteps of your 20’s and 30’s. Finally at 38, you’re perfect. You’re in reasonbly good shape and have the stamina to stay that way, your career could be fairly stable (though probably not in this economy) and your hair is likely looking good just the color it has been for years without modifications. I must say, I am now in better shape than I was at 38. I was looking at a photo album the other day from a vacation in 1992. That was NOT a pretty picture of me. A few weeks ago at a party, a 16-year old girl was in disbelief that I was turning 51. She’d never seen me before and really thought I was younger. God bless her, her tight skin and naturally-colored hair.
The one thing I have now that I didn’t have at 38 was the patience to carry on. During my long career in radio news, deadlines were constant. I didn’t know any other way. Every minute was critical in getting stories and newscasts on the air. Even today, there’s no other way to approach radio. It’s hard to automate local news (though I’m sure they’re trying to figure out how to do that). Today, without that radio deadline clock in my face, I still have deadlines, but they are self-imposed AND forgiving. That’s the key: I forgive myself for being a little behind schedule. I’m thrilled when I come out ahead of the game. Come in on schedule: perfect.
So, friends, at 51, I’m the boss of me. I listen better now; I understand more with an open mind now; I’m able to turn the gray skies blue when the days are not so bright.
Give more, hope more, love more. Happy Birthday to me!

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