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West Side Stories

A Tosa resident for almost 20 years, Karen is a mom and freelance writer, addicted to playing tennis. When not on the tennis court, she spends the fall and winter in the stands at Green Bay Packer and Marquette basketball games.

Karen is the author of “Grab a Bite,” a dining out column and the former community columnist for the Wauwatosa NOW newspaper.

This is the oldest I've ever been

Personal, Reminiscing, Things that bug me, Being old

This is the blogpost that I really shouldn’t write. Instead, I should stick to writing about crosswalks or restaurants or something somewhat innocuous. I guess I’m a glutton for punishment because I’m coming right out and saying: “Look at me, I’m 50.” That’s right. On October 15th, I am hitting the big five-oh.

Gulp. I have to admit. That’s tough to say. See, here’s the deep dark secret that you young people don’t realize: “Psssst. We old people still THINK we’re young. We might look old, but this aging thing is totally kicking our butts.”

It shouldn’t be a surprise that I’ve hit the mid-century mark. Every morning, as I descend the stairs in pursuit of my biggest fan (a.k.a. Millie the wonder dog), I feel every bit of 50 years old. I creak. Some days I ache. And honestly, I have a death grip on the banister because I have no idea when my knees might give out. But then I ply myself with coffee and carbohydrates and the pain subsides and I forget again how old I am.

As I wrote a few weeks ago, this could have been a tough time for me. We sent our youngest off to college and I’m barely over that and I turn old. But it really hasn’t felt that way. The empty nest thing, so far, is working out fairly well. Everyone – parents and college student – are handling this new phase splendidly. I’m not sure if the turning old thing is going to be quite as successful, but I’m going to do my darndest to make it so.

Part of my “Turning Old is NOT Going to Suck” campaign is to be a glass half-full kind of gal. (Which is completely contrary to my nature.) But I have to say, there are some things that are better as you get older:

- I care less about what people think. Granted, sometimes that means I’m in the grocery store with no makeup and really ugly sweatpants, but it’s OK.

- I can actually dispense advice and even (gasp!) sound a tiny bit wise. I tell working moms that they should stop feeling guilty and I share parenting horror stories that make everyone feel better.

- I notice and appreciate the little things in life – fall colors, cute babies, cuddly puppies, naps, nice text messages from my kids. It no longer takes much to make me happy.

- AARP discounts are decent. Seriously.

- Restaurants are less crowded when you eat dinner at 5pm.

I’m sure there are more, but one of the few things that I’m new at is being old, so I have a lot to learn. I’ll be happy to share them with you when I figure them out but I’m pretty sure I’ll forget them immediately.

Instead, I’ll leave you with a video from my two new folk heroes – Sally O’Malley and Dotty O’Dolligan. Enjoy:

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