Just Shelley

A song on my 49th birthday

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

I turned 49 today. Or, more precisely, I turned 49 this morning at 7:02am. I’ve reached the age where I’ve lived too long to die and leave a beautiful corpse. The the only other option open to me now is to live long enough to become a burden on society.

In one more year I’ll reach the age of 50, and then all the rules will have changed. I’m heading into a time when chest pain is cause for concern rather than a move to loosen my bra. Gone are the years where I was asked if I had any kids – now the questions drift more towards grandkids then not. I never thought I would miss the good old days when I’d have to to fend off issues of choosing not to have children (“Well, you still have time to change your mind”).

The middle years of twixt and tween, of being over 50 but before being old – dying before now is a tragedy but after is a blessing. If I were to die now, I would just die, with nothing much more than: “Well, it’s sad, true, but we all have to go sometime.”

And where is the taut, smooth flesh of yesteryear? Who snuck in and left this old, well, older woman?

I turned 49 today and in exactly one year I’ll turn 50. I will kill the first person to give me a black balloon and consider the time spent in prison worth it.

I woke up with visions of black clouds vaguely resembling balloons and I didn’t _quite_ kick the cat, and I didn’t _quite_ slit my wrists. In fact, my coffee tasted remarkably good this morning as I looked out at the clouds lightening to that silver grey, thinking how lovely they are. I’m not one to look on the down side for long, a trait that I seem to grow into more each year. Yes in a year I’ll turn 50, but what can happen in that year?

I’ll write a million or so words and from these a few will come together that I’ll read again and again and I’ll feel that deep satisfaction a writer gets when they know, regardless of what anyone says, they’re good.

I’ll have more chances to take the kind of photographs that when I look at them later, I break into a smile and I holler out loud regardless of who is around: Look! Look what I have created!

I will have another year to try foods that I’ve turned my nose up at in the past. It may even be raw octopus with suckers still fresh enough to grip the insides of my cheeks. I may not like it – I may absolutely hate it – but I’ll have tried it. There won’t be a moment before the end when I’ll think to myself, “I wish I had tried raw octopus.”

In the next 12 months, I may meet one or two people who will end up being a close friend for the rest of my life – or I may realize that I’ve already met the person and have just not experienced the epiphany of the act. We may be sharing a coffee or a beer and I’ll look at the person and think how lucky I am, how much richer my life is because I had a chance to get to know them.

Within these 52 weeks, I may meet someone who I become fond of, or even fall in love with. We could be sharing a laugh, and I’ll know at the moment when my mouth widens into a smile why the other is laughing, and this knowledge becomes an act of immense sensuality. Or perhaps we’ll be on a couch together, me in his arms, or him in mine, or even just sitting beside each other, watching an old movie and the very air will crack with eroticism more intense than anything generated from a strip tease or edible panties.

Or maybe I’ll watch that movie alone and still feel the sensuality of the moment; and experience the arousal that a good film, or book, or song, can generate when it touches you.

In 365 days, I can redefine who I am in 365 ways.

In 8760 hours, a lot can happen. And if in all those hours and days and weeks and months my dreams have not been met, and I’m lucky to reach 50, then I know I’ll continue to have time to meet them, or to dream new dreams.

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