50

Age was never a central or peripheral concern for me in the way it was “supposed” to be. I was always youngest in the class, younger than my friends and peers, but between the ages of 12 and 20, I looked older than I actually was. Men tried to pick me up when I was 12, 13 because they thought I was in high school or at least a mature-enough-to-pluck 16. At 16, they thought I was in college and a little old to be unattached and/or childless. I walked into bars that older friends couldn’t get into. Somewhere in my 20s, it toppled the other way and I was assumed to be 5, 6, 10 years younger—I got carded more in my 30s than I did from 15 when I started going to bars to when I finally turned 21 my senior year in undergrad [the first time]. I still get carded occasionally, can still fool almost anyone anytime and get that ego-stroke of not looking like I’m in my late 40s, smoked 20 years, and still sneer at Clean Living.

But.

Then there’s 50. Which I will see in less than 2 years. And that is a tipping point. Some things have either been done or may never get done, and with what I have left, decisions will have to be made, losses racked up, ideas scrapped, possibilities torn and thrown out, self-image [the future one] kalidoscoped into yet another fucking life inside this life that I half-chose and half made lemonade with and I’ve already had several lives and this AS one is a tiring addition to the others I’m trying to salvage.

And not all choices are real “choices.” Some “choices” happen. You realize later and piece together some threads of thought and/or hindsight and/or complete bullshit to tell yourself that, in retrospect, you did choose, you used your free will, you are your own dogma and pomp and circumstance.

I can live with that being bullshit.

It’s harder to live with things being taken away before you get around to them.

Or before you knew you wanted them.

My adventures will be much smaller, with a smaller pool of participants and spectators. Many of the things I thought I’d get to later I won’t get to at all. Physical and social goals. Intellectual plans, goals, germs and kernels. Instead of a room of boxes, I’ll have 2, maybe 4 special boxes well-worn and over-decorated because that’s all I fucking have and get because there is not enough ___ and time is not mine. Time happens. Every decade your head bobs up, you squint, stare, frown and then you’re back under. When you are lucky.

50 gives even me pause.

I didn’t plan to be the woman artist/___ who breathes shallowly until the kid or kids leave home but I did plan to burst like an untended tropical forest when that kid did leave home. Now I’m looking at a courtyard garden. I like courtyards. And I will miss what isn’t there. But so it is.


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About G Bitch

A mad black woman in New Orleans.
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