Chandler graduated high school yesterday. In two days I’ll be 50. I feel like I should write something poignant and profound and beautiful and maybe just a little self-deprecating and funny.
All week I’ve been waiting for the words to flow out of me – an emotional floodgate burst open.
It’s not that I don’t feel anything. Of course I do. I just can’t seem to grasp hold of the words. (That’s kind of a bad thing for a writer.)
In hopes of finding inspiration I meditate before sitting down to write and try to block out the sounds of the morning. The sprinklers go off – one of our two allotted days to water our lawn in this drought. The birds sing their morning song. The dishwasher chugs and swirls as we forgot to run it last night (again). The hum of the refrigerator, another damn cricket somewhere in this house, and the tick tick tick of the kitchen clock all compete for my attention.
Perhaps the words won’t come because these milestones are hard things to face.
Chandler put on his robe and mortarboard last night and marched with 550 of his classmates. My eyes filled with tears when I first caught sight of them. I’m proud of him and happy for him and so excited for the new adventures he’s about to face, but of course I wonder if I’ve done enough. Have I given him the skills he needs to be successful in this next phase of his life?
He won’t let me talk to him about girls, so I fear he won’t know how to treat them. He will literally walk out of the room if I bring up the subject. (Sorry future first girlfriend, you might be screwed.)
My kitchen is not really designed for more than one person to work at once (and maybe I’m just a bit of a control freak), so I never taught him to cook anything but grilled cheese, nachos and poached eggs. Not that he’ll be cooking in his dorm. But still. One day he’ll need to know.
At least he does know how to do his own laundry.
And speaking of milestones that are hard to face…
When you turn 40 you can convince yourself that you probably have more days ahead of you than behind you, but that’s most likely not the case with 50. So the trick is how do I make the most of the days, weeks, months, years I have ahead of me? I still have a lot of time left, sure, but not enough to waste it.
I guess I need to tell myself the same things I need to tell Chandler.
Eat healthfully (most of the time).
Work hard and budget your money, but every once in a while it’s okay to splurge. (And most of the time it’s better to splurge on experiences than things.)
You will meet people who find happiness and contentment uninteresting and boring. They are wrong.
Being cool is overrated.
Don’t compare yourself to others. There will always be someone stronger, faster, smarter, more successful than you. Strive to be the very best YOU you can be.
Travel whenever you can.
Do not confuse the minutiae of daily life with dullness. Seek out the beauty of the everyday – the smell of ripe peaches in the fruit bowl, the vibrant colors of a summer sunset, a smile from a stranger, the wonder of all those stars in the night sky.
Savor every single bite of that bacon cheeseburger.
Make wishes on stars.
If you love someone tell them.
Follow your dreams. (Even if you’re 50 and your dream is to write and the words just won’t come.)
Don’t ignore the sound of the ticking clock. It ticks faster than you think.