Roman Numeral L.
Half of a century.
Somewhere around 1,577,923,200 seconds.
Today I celebrate my Semi-Centennial as I turn 50 years old at exactly 12:17 PM.
To some people, turning 50 is a death sentence.
I blissfully disagree.
I made it to 50 years old, dammit!
That’s quite an accomplishment, a hell of a lot better than the alternative of staring at the wrong side of the grass.
A few weeks ago, I received a special invitation in the mail from AARP, welcoming me to “The 50 Club.”
I could have taken umbrage and made a scene by ranting and raving and ripping the mailing to shreds, then uncontrollably bawl like a child while stuffing my face with ice cream. Not the wisest choice for someone recently diagnosed with Type-2 Diabetes, another age-related award alongside the random floater who recently appeared in my left eye that I named Steve.
Instead, I accepted the reality that I am now qualified to be a member of the American Association of Retired Persons, which is one step closer to being able to retire and begin what I have dubbed “Phase 3” of my life.
I happily signed up for membership and now carry my prized AARP membership card in my wallet. I’m a part of the exclusive club endorsed by actor Matt McCoy, or Lloyd Braun to fellow Seinfeld fans, and qualify for special discounts from Consumer Cellular and The Hartford Insurance company, among others.
Saving money never goes out of style no matter how many calendars I’ve lived through, and I even received a wonderful three-piece luggage organizer set as a welcome gift, which I will happily put to good use once COVID traveling restrictions are lifted.
I have reached the age that renders me eligible for just about every insurance plan advertised on television. You know those commercials that begin with, “If you’re between the ages of 50 and 85…”
I am that target demographic.
I am also the ideal demographic for the wrinkle reducers, the waist cinchers, the weight loss elixirs, the lip plumpers, and all the other items society says I need to waste my money on in order to look twenty years younger, or more.
The truth is this: I made it to 50, and I look fine just the way I am, thank you very much.
In the words of the immortal Barry Manilow, I made it through the rain.
I survived my self-perpetuated sophomoric recklessness of my twenties when, at times, the bottle was my comrade-in-arms. I eventually realized it was actually an enemy and left it for dead on the battlefield.
I triumphed over death’s many near misses, some the result of poor choices and clouded perceptions, others the result of fate’s intervention or maturity.
I rallied and learned to live in balance with the occasional debilitating effects of autoimmune illness and the intermittent yet ravaging side-effects of necessary medication to combat such effects.
I am a champion every morning when I wake up, and I am the victor when I lay my head down each night.
I may be tired, but I am still here.
I am 50, and I AM STILL HERE.
I am alive. My heart is still beating. My lungs are still working. I am still breathing.
My soul flourishes as my passions, stronger than my pain, fuel my purpose.
My light, it shines while my darkness brightens with insight.
I always do my best, and my best IS enough.
I am resilient, wiser than I was yesterday, and I will be even more enlightened when I awaken tomorrow.
I embrace my idiosyncrasies, each of my so-called “flaws” a merit badge well-earned.
I am fabulous, and I am 50.
I am here to unabashedly live out loud and to love both others and myself unconditionally.
Level L has officially been unlocked, and it’s going to be phenomenal.
Thanks for joining me on my journey. I’m glad you’re here.
“Unlocking Level L” was posted on jillocone.com and on soulseaker.com on February 12, 2021. Views and opinions expressed in this post are solely those of the writer, who was not endorsed or compensated in any manner by any entity; views do not represent any employer. Copyright 2021, Jill Ocone. All rights reserved. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with reposting, licensing, and publishing inquiries.