Year One: My Favorite Column
Some Thoughts on Turning 50
By ANN JILLIAN
They tell me I passed a milestone the other day. It was the kind of milestone you usually want to drive by real fast without looking back: I turned 50.
I know I'm not supposed to admit things like that because I'm in show business, but I think I can afford to be honest these days. I actually can say it out loud without tears: I'm no longer an ingenue. My chances of being cast as the New Girl on Campus in "Felicity" or "Popular" are long gone. I'm not all that broken up about it either.
I'm a "mature" person now, so I play "mature" parts. That's me in real life, too, though I must confess I still feel a lot younger than 50. I'm more reflective now. And one of the things I've been reflecting about is the "wisdom" I've acquired on my way to being that age.
So, if you don't mind listening, here are a few pieces of that wisdom -- my thoughts about turning 50:
1. I'm now convinced that life is an ongoing lesson in humility.
2. This particular milestone came way too soon.
3. My heart still feels 18. It's just the rest of me that feels 50.
4. It's O.K. to slow down and enjoy what's really yours: the respect that should be given you for all the years you've put in learning how to live your life.
5. Yes, I know: You also have to earn that respect.
6. You cannot manufacture another person's "joy." That's their job.
7. The demands of watching over your child's development can make you a better person. Your child's innocence, idealism and determination force you to assess yourself -- with sometimes brutal honesty -- and reveals a "better" way to live your life. Now I'm realizing that the lessons we learn "from" them, in turn, become lessons "for" them.
8. Performing "random acts of kindness" is good. Performing them with "love" makes them divine.
9. Children read between the lines, long before they read the words.
10. Living is a "tenderizing" process. I may not be completely
tenderized yet, but I don't think I'm as tough as I used to be.
11. At 50, I've come to believe the urgency I feel is not so much facing
my own mortality, but rather a need to "fulfill the mission."
12. Just when I'd come to accept the fact that I'd lost my Mom, I
found her again -- in my own mirror.
13. Diet pills don't work. They just make me chew faster.
14. I cannot have it all - or do it all -- at one time. If I try to,
something or someone always suffers in the process.
15. Life is precious from the very beginning to the very end.
16. Love is conveyed by tenderness, respect and little, unexpected
gifts (handmade or made for the hand).
17. The measure of a person's worth is not the measure of their girth.
18. A healthy body consumes a diet of grains, greens, fruits and proteins, as well as steady helpings of "mega-nutrients" contained in warm words, tender touches, simple smiles and shared tears. (Try the aforementioned before echinacea.)
19. When I was in my teens, I bought two laminated plaques at a
neighborhood fair, upon which were written:
Love is something so divine
Description would but make it less.
T'is what I feel, but can't define.
T'is what I know, but can't express.
By outward show let's not be cheated...
An ass should like an ass be treated.
I agreed with those words then, and it's amazing how many
times I've referred to them since.
20. What would I do without my faith? How could I possibly
withstand the, seemingly, endless barrage of attacks upon body,
mind, and soul this world is intent on dealing out? Without Faith,
Love and a good sense of Humor, you can't get through much in
© 2000 by Ann Jillian. Ann Jillian caricature © 2000 by Jim Hummel.
VISIT ANN'S OWN WEBSITE AT: www.annjillian.com
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