Turning 50 a few months ago was a rather depressing experience. To me, knowing that my life was most probably way beyond half over was not an occasion to celebrate but rather an opportunity to wallow in a pool of self-pity. I spent much of the day lamenting all the negatives that have come along with my increasing age–the gray hairs that keep sprouting despite my desperate attempts to cover them, the little spider veins (horrors!) that weren’t there a year ago, the assorted creaks and pops that accompany my roll out of bed, and the multitude of pills I swallow every morning to decrease my blood pressure, my cholesterol, my acid reflux, my leg cramps–YIKES!
If I focused on all those negatives too long, I could have literally drowned in that pity pool, conveniently overlooking that the pool was already overcrowded with too many people my age experiencing the same distressing ailments. So, instead, I have since chosen to focus on the one thing that has actually improved with age, and that one thing is my power of observation (some might even call it wisdom).
Yep, I have learned a thing or two over my many years. I wish I could claim that I’ve solved the secrets of the universe, drafted a world peace treaty that will last into eternity, cured every previously incurable disease known to mankind, and invented a way to convert plastic bags and styrofoam containers into diesel fuel (actually, I guess I could claim all those things, but pretty soon you would realize that I was lying and that I’m just not that smart). No, the things I’ve learned aren’t quite as grand, but I hope you’ll agree they’re still worthy observations.
I have learned that the best response to stupidity is silence.
I have learned that the severity of the itch is directly proportional to the degree of its unreachability.
I have learned that the smell of dead skunk is much less offensive than the smell of dead armadillo (and the smell of a wet rottweiler that has rolled in dead armadillo is beyond compare).
I have learned that an unspayed cat can get pregnant 17 times in the same year.
I have learned that paying someone to mow the lawn is much cheaper than mowing it yourself.
I have learned that a heavy dousing of Axe body spray on the sweaty body of a junior high boy will not mask the absence of deodorant and soap.
I have learned that fruits and veggies bought at a farmer’s market taste 100 times better than anything available in the grocery store.
I have learned that my husband’s idea of cooking dinner is throwing a slab of meat on the grill.
I have learned that telling a worrier not to worry is like telling a weed not to grow.
I have learned that people who complain about the faults of others often have the same faults (and I know I have to include myself in that category).
I have learned that any elation I feel over that 35 mph slowpoke in front of me finally turning off will quickly be replaced by the frustration of his counterpart pulling out in front of me a half mile later.
I have learned that adults who complain about “these kids today” are frequently incredibly rude themselves.
I have learned that using a Diet Dr. Pepper to wash down a Ding Dong is not an effective weight loss program.
I have learned that the person I least want to see will be the same person walking toward me from the opposite end of the grocery aisle.
I have learned you are never too old to wake up with a pimple.
I have learned that a beautiful face with a filthy mouth quickly loses its beauty.
I have learned that even the most obnoxious teenager almost always still manages to grow into a decent human being by age 25.
I have learned (thanks to my friend Julie) that just because they make it in your size doesn’t mean you should wear it.
I have learned (thanks to public television advertising) more than I ever wanted to know about erectile dysfunction. Seriously!
And I have learned that a good nap trumps everything.