A few things I’ve learned over the (many) years


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.

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About icedteawithlemon

I have recently retired from a 30-year career in education in one of the best school districts in the world. I hope to spend my second life reading, writing, photographing, traveling, biking, cheering on my favorite baseball team (the St. Louis Cardinals), and soaking up glorious sunshine. In my spare time I enjoy playing with my pet tarantulas, trying out new flavors of chewing gum, and knitting socks for prison inmates. I'm almost positive that in a past life I was one of the Seven Dwarfs (most likely "Grumpy"), and in my next life I'm going to be either a taste tester for Hershey's or a model for Victoria's Secret's new line, "Bloomers for Boomers." I want to travel country back roads, singing Vanilla Ice songs at every karaoke bar and rating bathroom cleanliness at every truckstop. And someday I plan to own a private beach where skinny girls aren't allowed. I want to be a writer when I grow up. "Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake."--Henry David Thoreau
This entry was posted in Aging, Humor, Turning 50 and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to A few things I’ve learned over the (many) years

  1. Polly says:

    Awesomely wise tidbits Karen!

  2. Mary Schlicht says:

    well, now i know that if you don’t talk to me then i’m saying somthing stupid…. but i’ve learned that sometime life deserves it’s long island iced tea with lemon.

  3. Julie says:

    Ahhhh yes, finally a means for me to bask in your wisdom during the summer months! However the first thing you’ve listed will leave me wondering the next time I say something to you that is met with silence. 🙂 I hope your summer is relaxing and wonderful so far. J

    • If something YOU say is met with silence, it probably means that it was so far over my head I have no idea how to respond! Feel free to send a little of your wisdom floating my way–I can always use the inspiration and the ensuing laughter!

  4. John says:

    Just happened upon this…Girl, you seriously rock it! I’m 49, and will be turning the big Hawaii-5-0 in December, and as opposed to feeling down about it (which I did) I elected to tell my challenged self to simply shut up about it and stay on the ride…full speed ahead.

    I’ve learned that sock cheese contains the same bacteria found in Cheetos chips…courtesy of my teen son. Ah, the wisdom we acquire with age, no?

    • Why, thank you, “John”! Wishing you a joyous ride as you round the corner on the “big Hawaii 5-0,” and thanks for stopping by! (And thanks, also, for expanding my learning even further with that little tidbit on sock cheese!)

  5. Hey, Karen, was going through your archives, and happened upon this particular post. I myself turned 50 at the end of 2011, and since then my head space is without doubt the most surreal and crazed of my so-far existence. This may sound rather odd, but, for me, knowing that my life is most probably way more than half over has proven to be a most liberating revelation. It’s allowed me to slow down and take stock of the who’s, the why’s and the what’s of my world.

    Since turning 50, my past has crept into my thoughts – day and night – more than ever. I am battling my past and its demons, yet also relinquishing it in many respects. In short, I have decided the time is fast approaching when I need to stand up and walk away from my history. I simply don’t have the luxury of time to dwell so much on “what was”, because “what is yet to be” is but a short drive, you know what I mean? Anyway, I ramble. Good post!

    • Thank you, Miss Lillian, and yes, I know exactly what you mean. I’m sure we all have at least a partial history we need to walk away from (myself included), and the future seems to be dwindling before my very eyes. So much I have yet to experience, to enjoy, to live and breathe and consume! May we both have a very long, pleasant drive ahead of us!

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