I’ve been 50 years old for a full week now, so I’ll ask the question people seem to ask on this occasion—how does it feel to be 50?
Well, I’ll tell ya, it feels about like what it felt to be 49. This week, my back has hurt the way it sometimes did at my younger ages, so when I make old-woman noises while in the process of sitting down and standing back up—and lord help us all if I sneeze—that’s nothing new.
I have been flitting from project to project this week doing what I call “work” because I don’t have a real job, but I’ve been doing that for years. I haven’t had a 9-to-5 job for some time now—I’ll confess it was always more like 8-to-3 anyway. And now I spend time typesetting ebooks a little here, designing a logo there, fitting in a brochure for a bed and breakfast a friend has opened on one day and a bookcover for a non-profit publisher on another.
This week, “work” has been more about the orchestra, which is my preference. On Monday, I hauled Conductor Eric around the county so he could personally thank our concert sponsors from the last season. We hit ten stops covering a 30-mile distance, or just about. I mostly served as the organizer, chauffer and tag-along on that one, keeping an eye on the clock, handing out CDs and cookies and being the side-kick.
Then Husband turned the living room into a film studio, and we shot a series of promotional videos featuring the conductor for an up-coming event. So far, my role in this whole thing was keeping the dog occupied so he didn’t bark during taping or chase a cat behind the green screen, an activity that had gone on plenty during set up. And I've organized a list of promotional ideas ahead of next week's brain-storming meeting, which I suspect will have little storm because that's how these things go.
None of these projects has anything to do with my age, nor is my approach to them affected by being one year older. I’ll say I was bolder than is typical of me during Big Fat Summer Band practice last night, though. I hobbled into that band room, unsure how my spine would react to spending a few hours planted in a hard school-days chair, but I was there to play. With no horn player directly to my left or right for the evening, I made use of the extra elbow room and let 'er rip. The principle was absent, so I played the cues for a solo that will be his later, and I approached it with careless abandon—my sax-player friend turned around with a pleased grin and said, “you’re just wailing on that thing, aren’t you.”
Other than that break-out moment during band, though, so far I’d say that 50 is just a number. If I didn’t keep track of my age, this week wouldn’t feel much different than last, and next year might be nothing more than a continuation of the life I’ve chosen to live on this planet regardless of the number of years I've been walking around on it.
So, how does it feel to be 50? About as good as it's ever felt. Just fine.