A girl looks at 50 …

Photo: Lee Dunnie

Y’all. I’m turning 50 this year. Fif-tee. On September 21 to be exact. 50.

How in the world did I get here? And so damn fast. Where has it all gone?

And I know … I’ve gotten off to a slow blogging start this year. Why? Because ever since New Year’s Eve, all I can think of is “Girl … you’re fixing to be 50 years old.”

It all started when I was shaking my groove thang this past December 31 to Prince’s 1999. This song, and the namesake album, came out right after I turned 13 in 1982. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve danced to that song over the years — all through middle school, high school, and college and plenty of times since then. I remember thinking “1999 will never get here!” Seventeen years might as well have been a million. I just couldn’t conceive of it.

I’ve always been a good dancer. At least I thought so. I had a few moves that were reliably not humiliating on the dance floor. But somewhere along the way, I went from dancehall queen to Most Likely to Appear on America’s Funniest Home Videos. Just when exactly does your coolness ride off into the sunset without you? I’d say along about my early forties.

So fast forward to New Year’s Eve 2018. I’m wearing what I think is a relatively cute outfit — black shirt, black cigarette pants, fancy shoes, which in varying degrees is my uniform. Hey, if something that works, you gotta go with it. Especially if you’re forty-nine.

And let me take a moment here to cite some words of wisdom from Mama. When I was in my 30s, she warned me. “When you turn 40, the weight will start creeping up on you. And when you turn 50, it’ll jump on you in big clumps.” At the time I thought, I’m skinny. I’ve always been skinny. I ain’t worried. But she was right. Things have rearranged themselves. That’s why if you find a flattering outfit, you stick the hell with it.

Anyhow. It’s New Year’s Eve, and I’m feeling cute, and I’m shaking my groove thang to 1999  because it’s a party, and I like to dance, and I may or may not have had a cocktail or two. We McDonalds (that’s my maiden name, in case you didn’t know) are a threat to cut a rug at any given time really, but especially and particularly at a party.  Who cares if my moves might go viral, and not in a good way? That’s when a terrible thought occurred to me as I was singing along with my purple friend, Prince — if I’m partying like it’s 1999, I’m partying like it 20 YEARS AGO!

It’s true! Sonny Boy was born in 1999, and now he’s as good as grown. The year that I never, ever thought could ever get here, the time so far off in the future I couldn’t even imagine it, is now a fading headlight in the rearview mirror.

Once that notion got in my head, I couldn’t think, haven’t been able to think, about anything else. Thanks, Prince. Forget funny idioms, Southern fried recipes, and down-home pearls of wisdom. Twenty years is gone. Thirty years has flown. Forty years has passed me by. Now I’m staring 50 in it’s beady, red, tired, wrinkly eyes. What the hell?

So since that’s all I can seem to think about, I think that’s what I’ll (mostly) write about this year. I’m sure there will be a little bit of whining and crying and gnashing of teeth along the way, but I’m trying to buck up (as Mama would say). I’m going to work on being hopeful and optimistic and throwing myself into this new era with reckless abandon, a carefree heart, and, as is my customary way, a whole lot of humor. I hope you’ll follow along with me as we creep/hurdle toward September 21, 2019 — the 50th anniversary of my birth.