Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Rambling About 50

Originally titled: Reflections on 50

I'm 50.25 years old now, going on 50.33, and that "Reflections on 50" post has been hanging over my head for over 3 months.

Believe me, I started it. I started it and started it and started it, and each time it meandered off down rivers and branched off into various ancillaries and I ended up befuddled by my own writing, trying to figure out what my point was. It happens, I suppose, when we are 50

When I was 28, my best friend confided in me that each of her friends served a different role in her life. She had a party-girl friend, and a soul-searching friend, and a no-nonsense friend.

I was that third friend. Unwavering. Right and wrong. Black and white. I was newly divorced, and was going to do a damned good job of raising my son.

I had a decent job. I freelanced when I needed extra money. I owned my own house, mowed my own yard, changed my own oil. I didn't ask your opinion because there wasn't much I wasn't clear on. Life, as difficult as it could be, was a cakewalk.

I reflect on that now, at the age of 50, and I wonder at how little I am like my 28-year-old self. While I still have my shit together—thank you very much—I am shocked—SHOCKED—to admit that I am much more anxious and unsure now, than I was then.

"Anxious." "Unsure." I want to deny those words; they embarrass me. I am a confident, take-charge woman, dammit!

It still remains that what I feel, in comparison to "28-year-old Lori," is that Life is fragile. 

Since I was was 28? I married again, and to my utter surprise, divorced again. I lost my father. I cared for my mother, with Alzheimer's, while my sister lost her battle to ovarian cancer. Shortly after, our Grandmother passed away. In the midst of it all, my son deployed to Iraq, twice.


'Scuze me very much, but these events unnerved me just a tad.

Still, nervous as I may be, sometimes, at 50, I am also often so thankful that I am buckled.

My 40s found me dating a childhood friend, that at one point I gave the option to cut-and-run: I wasn't going to soon bring a lot of rainbows and teddy bears to the table. I'm still amazed that Clint's answer was "I know what Lori Stewart has going on."

 I am appreciative. I don't take an evening laughing with friends for granted; I rejoice in it.

You can only imagine what hearing my son's laughter does to me. After fearing for his life for a combined 28 months? I hear it. Whether he's on the phone, or in my kitchen, or around a picnic table, I hear it, because it could have turned out so differently, and it did, for so many other mothers. 

I have a great job.

After losing one I worked in for 24 years, I have a great job. That I love what I do would be enough. But throw in health insurance after borrowing money to pay for my own, while I schlepped through a few temp jobs to stay afloat? Backflips, baby! When at 28, I would have haughtily thought "of course I have a job and health insurance! I wouldn't accept anything less!" Hmph!

Clean mammograms and clear pap smears are worthy of fireworks. I recently had a girl's night in which one of my BFFs would or would-not be in attendance based on biopsy results. She was there, and we got so drinky on Duck Farts* that we had to review the photos the next day to see if we had any fun or not. It certainly looks like we did.

In summary,

Yay, 50!

While I wouldn't have casted my vote for every event that's brought me here, I can recognize how I've grown. I love deeper, I laugh harder, I rejoice more readily, I hang on tighter, and I take less for granted than I did, at 28.

And this post, once again, has gone completely off track. It was going to be whimsical, and have a photo of a child's handwriting.

But that's ok.

Because I'm 50.

*Duck Fart Recipe

1 shot whiskey
1 shot kahlua
1 shot Bailey's Irish Cream
1 Designated Driver


  1. Yes, I agree in so many ways! Here's to 50!

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. Happy Birthday Lori and many more.

  4. older cousin Dan Stewart7:03 PM

    Thanks again Lori, for putting down your emotions in words, words that even I can understand. And the pics are irreplaceable ....And for summing your life up at 50! Can't wait to read the next 25 year report. Of course Lori at 75, means I will be over 80, and probably not understand at all....

  5. I also think we become more aware of how very, very grey life is as we get older. Nuances and subtleties become far more important. Life isn't so cut and dried. We're still no-nonsense. We just also understand that it's not always so easy any more. Of course, that and a buck fifty... ;)

  6. Anonymous6:31 PM

    I read the Lori posts I missed out recently - all in one go, but couldn't stop myself from commenting on this one.

    That child-handwriting analogy is all BS ! The post is just right. How you were an how you ARE..and what made you what you are. Totally honest and downright Heart warming - signature Lori style :)

    I am very late wishing - But here's to 50 more Lori..a beautiful one filled with truckloads of happy, glorious moments and of course, them duck farts too :D

  7. Lori - I read your blog all the time and so rarely comment, but this post just blew me out of the water and delighted me! I am so glad that you enjoy life, and I love hearing about you working through whatever's going on. You're amazing, and I so wish I could have hung around longer at that awesome new job so I could have learned more from you in person. But I sure am glad for the Internet ;) Cheers to you!


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