Some Thoughts On Turning 50

So, I turned 50 yesterday, and so far, so good. I’ve been asked a few questions about this milestone birthday, and I thought I’d take this opportunity to share my answers.

Q: Do you feel any different?

A: Not really. I’ve felt for a while now that I am the best version of myself. It took me a long time to get here. I’ve been through a lot of different phases and learned a lot of lessons. But I can honestly say I’m comfortable in my own skin.

Q: Are you freaking out?

A: Starting a new decade has never bothered me. I see it as a clean slate laid out for me to make my mark. I admit that I do freak out in the years leading up to the next decade. If you asked me this question when I was turning 47 or 48, I probably had a different answer.

Q: Did you get your AARP membership invitation?

A: Yes. It came in the mail with a postcard for the local private school, which is weird because I have a daughter in college and a son in high school. Why am I still on their mailing list? Also, can the age for AARP be raised to 60? Who is retiring at 50 these days? If you are, Mazel tov!

Q: Do you know who that celebrity is?

A: Were they in a John Hughes movie or performed at LiveAid? No? Then, probably not.

Q: How will you enjoy your golden years?

A: If I’m not mistaken, I think the term “golden years” refers to post-retirement. I’m not retiring any time soon unless I win the lottery.

Q: Did you schedule your (fill in the appropriate medical test)? 

A: I saw a commercial yesterday for the shingles vaccine and realized that now I’m old enough to get it. I added it to my list. The downside of this age is that I now qualify – and am obligated to – receive several preventative shots, tests, and exams. I’m on it – can I enjoy the moment first?

Q: Do you feel old? (part 1)

A: Absolutely not! I can still do everything I could do before. Fifty comes with another f-word I like – “freedom.” With my kids becoming more independent, I will not spend my time in carpool lines and birthday parties. While I miss some parts of that parenting stage, this is such a fun time in their lives. We have amazing conversations. And, I love watching my kids grow up and figure out how to be adults. Of course, I’m still right here when they need me. By the way, what F-word did you think I was going to say?

Q: Do you feel old? (part 2)

A: Still no. I’m proud to say that I stay on top of new technology, social media, and apps. At least I thought I was up to date until I had to use Apple Pay at the grocery store when the credit card machine was down. Note to self: always have a little cash on hand, so I never have to do that again. I was a little embarrassed, but I still didn’t feel old – just a bit flustered.

I am told that learning new things will keep me forever young. And apparently, jigsaw puzzles and reading are excellent for brain health, so I’m already ahead of the game. Just give me a minute while I find my reading glasses.

Q: Do you worry that you are running out of time?

A: Yes, I do. Turning 50 definitely puts things in perspective. I am taking stock of what I’ve already accomplished – which is a lot – and what else I want to do with my life. It’s a long list of places to go (Italy), people to see (friends that live far away who I haven’t seen in forever), and things to do (write a book). Now, I need to figure out how I’m going to do it all.

Q: Is that your natural hair color?

A: None of your business. 🙂

Q: What are you going to do now? 

A: Stay tuned.

How did you feel about your milestone birthday?

Play Ball!

Now that the Super Bowl is over, there is only one thing left to say.

Pitchers and catchers report tomorrow! 

Baseball is in my blood. Phillies baseball, to be exact. I spent a good part of my childhood at “the Vet.” I’ve seen everything from big wins with walk-off homers to huge losses. I sat in the nosebleed seats with my dad and saw the Phillies beat the Braves in Game 6 of the 1993 playoffs. I even attended the perfect game pitched by the late Roy Halladay.

So when my husband was offered two spring training tickets from his uncle, he knew who to send on the trip to Clearwater, Florida. A few weeks later, my son, Andrew, and I were on our way.

Spring training was nothing short of amazing. It didn’t matter what team you were there to watch. All that was required was a love of baseball. And, as you can see from this photo, we were more than qualified.

I would make that trip again in a heartbeat. Watching pre-season baseball for the love of the game is like sitting in a classic baseball movie. Everyone is smiling and enjoying the warm weather. The players show their love for the fans by being generous with photos and autographs. But, what was most memorable about the trip was the time I spent with Andrew. There are so many wonderful memories with him. He loved the games, the pool, the hotel, and he still talks about the self-serve waffle maker station as if it was the best thing ever invented. He swam and played with his cousins, and in the evenings, we bought ice cream and walked and talked on the beach. We had a lot of laughs and enjoyed the mother-son bonding time over those few days.

He is more of an Eagles fan than a baseball fan now, but nothing can take away the memories this photo brings to mind – sitting in the stands together with our gloves at the ready waiting to catch a fly ball.

So in honor of baseball season starting up again, here are a few of my favorite baseball movie quotes.

“This field, this game, it’s a part of our past. It reminds us of all that once was good, and it could be again” – Field of Dreams.

“This is a very simple game. You hit the ball. You throw the ball. You catch the ball. Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. Sometimes it rains.” – Bull Durham.

“It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard… is what makes it great.” – A League of Their Own.

Play Ball!

A Bookish Life

I’ve always been an avid reader. If there is such a thing as a book chromosome, I have two of them. My parents were quick to catch on to this when my first word was “hi,” and my next one was “book.” I’m sure “mommy” and “daddy” came after that since they were the ones who bought me all the books. They read me everything from Green Eggs and Ham to Madeline to Amelia Bedilia. But soon enough, I got my own library card at the Pitman Library and never looked back.

I like to seek out other bookworms and find out what they are reading. I’ve been known to check out other people’s bookshelves in their homes and offices for recommendations. And when I interview people for jobs in communications, I often ask who their favorite author is or what is their favorite book to read. If they can’t provide an answer, it is likely a no for me.

Anyway, here are some more quick stories about my reading life, then and now.

 

My childhood was so “lit”

  1. My parents kept my books on top of the refrigerator. They said when I was little, I would go into the kitchen and point up toward the books asking them to read to me.
  2. In the ABC book, there was a scary photo of an owl with its bright yellow eyes and stern face representing the letter O. I must have learned the alphabet quickly because I knew when that page was coming up. I always made my parents skip over it. Couldn’t they have chosen a less frightening photo – like an orange or an ocean?
  3. I started reading on my own at an early age. During a parent/teacher conference, my kindergarten teacher pointed out that I couldn’t cut a straight line with scissors. And my mom was like – “yeah, but have you heard our kid read a book?!” (To this day, I still can’t cut a straight line with scissors).
  4. I went to bed with a book and a flashlight under my pillow.
  5. I could read in the back seat of our family station wagon for hours without getting carsick. If it were dark outside, I’d hold my book up to the street lights so I could keep reading.
  6. To me, Trixie Belden mysteries were better than Nancy Drew, but Encyclopedia Brown was my favorite detective series.
  7. Sweet Valley High books were the best. I was definitely more like Elizabeth than Jessica growing up.
  8. I loved the SRA box at school. This big box at the front corner of the classroom was filled with stories, comprehension questions, and an answer key where I could grade myself. The stories were divided by reading milestones, and once you finished one section, you graduated to the next level. One of my proudest school moments was finishing the entire box by Christmas break. They had to bring in a new box of folders just for me.
  9. We were so lucky that our mall had both a Waldenbooks and a B. Dalton bookstore. I spent a lot of time there while my mom went shopping for clothes.
  10. Some of my favorite childhood books were Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, Charlotte’s Web, and anything by Judy Blume or Beverly Cleary.

Reading and adulting

  1. The last time I counted, I own about 150 books – some are hardbacks, most are paperbacks, a fair amount are on my Kindle, and a fairly respectable number in my Audible account.
  2. I currently have 340 books on my Goodreads list that I want to read. I know it is impossible to read them all, but I like to add to that list, so I don’t forget about any books I’ve discovered along the way.
  3. I will rarely read a book for a second time. There are too many books in my TBR pile to get to. Although, I’m starting to create a shortlist of ones I want to read again, like The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides, which after that ending, I REALLY need to reread it for all the clues that I missed.
  4. I’m usually reading 3-4 books simultaneously. I choose what to read next based on what kind of mood I’m in when I sit down to read. This is why I need a lot of options.
  5. When I put my mind to it, I am a fast reader. I brought three books with me on vacation once and finished them all by day 4. And because I read fast, I bring books with me wherever I go so that when I have downtime, I have something to read. And if I finish that book, I have another one at the ready.
  6. It isn’t a good idea to leave me alone in a bookstore for too long. I’m like a kid in a candy store. I could stay there all day and leave with a full bag of books and an empty wallet.
  7. I love exploring and supporting independent bookstores. The Barnes & Noble near me recently closed up shop. I was sad because I have many memories there – especially ones I’ve made with my kids. But, now, it gives me an excuse to keep seeking out the indies.
  8. I refuse to purchase a book that has an advertisement for the movie on the front cover. I want the original cover so that I’m not a walking advertisement for the film. Also, the book is always better than the movie. Period.
  9. I prefer a real book to a Kindle unless I’m on vacation because I can take more books with me electronically. But then, I sit on the beach or by the pool, and inevitably the sunlight shines a glare on my screen. So then, I wish I brought the books. And then I wonder, is there a bookstore nearby?
  10. Favorite genres: Fiction with strong female characters, historical fiction, political books or true-crime investigations, books about writing, and surprisingly, celebrity autobiographies, but only outstanding ones like No Time Like the Future, by Michael J. Fox or Yes, Please by Amy Poehler to name a few.

So, what is your reading life like these days? How is it different from when you were younger?

Are You My Type?

At my age, I know myself pretty well; just don’t put a label on me because it won’t work. I’m a bit of a mutt when it comes to assigning myself to one particular category. This used to cause me a lot of stress and frustration as I deal with dueling personality traits. But now, I’ve accepted it for what it all adds up to – me.

 

A & B

I am somewhere between a Type A and Type B personality. I am an organized person. I like to be either early or on time when we go places. I set goals and obsess over articles about time management skills and productivity systems. And if that doesn’t clinch it, I have zero patience. Whoever said “patience is a virtue” did not have me in mind.

However, I am also Type B. I am creative and innovative. I would not describe myself as competitive by any means. I focus on the fun and not the scoreboard. I am flexible and mild-mannered (until I lose my patience and then all bets are off). I enjoy conversations with people that are reflective and meaningful. I am proud of the fact that I can be flexible and adaptable to situations when things take an unexpected turn.

SMART and SOFT

So, when it comes to setting goals for myself, both personalities come into play. In my career, I set SMART goals and stretch goals and often refer back to them to make sure I’m on the right track. When I sit down for a performance review, I want to say I accomplished or made progress with each of the goals I set out to do. All of this easily puts me in the Type A category.

As for losing weight, FitBit steps, and Goodreads goals, I’m much softer. Probably because, according to Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies quiz – I’m an Obliger. As I read more about this tendency, I see that it is the intersection of Type A and Type B personalities. I always want to put others before myself (Type B) and do what I can for them (Type A) to make them happy.

Myers-Briggs

As if to add insult to injury, I fluctuate between an ENFP and an ESFP type on the Myers-Briggs Personality test. The difference in that one letter is whether or not I get more excited about concepts and ideas or experiences and actions. Can’t I be both?

To Sum Up

This is all to say that I have a huge list of goals to tackle for 2021. In order to be successful, do I really need to pick a side? Maybe I’ll set a new goal to be a little less of an Obliger, and tap into my Type A traits while keeping what I love about being a solid Type B.

Hmm… I think I’m back to where I started.

How about you? What is your personality type?

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