Wednesday, November 20, 2013

49 Before 50 Starts Today!

So here I am, 49 years old.
Pffffffffffff!
It's just a number, right?  But it feels like an awfully BIG number.  40 didn't bother me.  My 40th birthday was the first birthday I had after coming to live with my FL.  He and the kids blew up a whole heap of balloons and filled a room with them.
9 years later, the kids have left home but my darling FL is still here:  "But only just!" he says, in as lugubrious a tone as he can muster.  Shoosh man, there's nothing wrong with you!
Anyway... I decided to make a "49 before 50" list at a point in my life when I feel like I need to stop drifting.  In the past year, I have noticed my hair getting greyer and my face getting saggier, and my level of general fitness taking a nose-dive.  There is no escaping my age:  it is finally catching up with me.
Rather than giving in to a spiraling decline, I am determined to become a stronger person, not just physically, but mentally too.  I feel a little too fragile, rather too vulnerable to disappointments:  they hit me too hard.  Time to get a grip!
Notebooks from The Magic Notebook, Hector sock, purple pen
When I sat down to write my List, 49 things didn't sound like much.  I thought it would be easy to fill page after page of my new notebook with enthusiastic purple-inked ambitions.  But days and weeks passed, in the run up to my birthday, and it felt harder and harder to pin myself down.  What did I really want to do?  I didn't want it to be a list of 49 pointless blog-fillers.  I wanted to be true to myself.
And there we have it:  Number One - Be True to Myself.
That's the big one, the one I will find the most difficult to tick off as accomplished by the end of the year.
Why?
Well... I was listening to the Yarnivore podcast the other week, and the presenter Sadie was talking about her sister-in-law:
"She works in an office.  She has to dress like she's rich.  Blue hair is not in her future."

Blue hair is not in her future?
Marge Simpson hangs out the washing
Goodness me, that hit me hard in the solar plexus!
I have got to 49 waiting for the right time to dye my hair blue / purple / green / shocking pink.  When I was a drama student I was afraid I would miss out on an acting part if I had blue hair.  Then I started work as an accounts clerk in an office where women were not even allowed to wear trousers, never mind embrace the Crazy Color!  Squish, squash, splat - that's me right there, under the boss's foot.
And it perpetuates itself, this repressed state of mind.  It takes over.
And I have had enough.
So my 49 things are my 49 ways to take back a little bit of control over my own life.
To have FUN.
It's allowed, you know?
You knew?
Why didn't you tell me?!
Will I dye my hair blue?  Who knows?!  That's not the point.  The point is:  I can if I want to.
KAPOW!
Welcome to my 49 before 50!



36 comments:

Marie said...

Dye your hair blue, please! You will incredible and it will be SO much fun! Happy Belated Birthday, you look beautiful!xx

Anna said...

Happy Birthday! I turn 41 in a week and a half and I'm feeling the 'what am I doing with my life' feeling a lot too. I made a 40 before 40 list but it turned out to be things I couldn't afford to do (yes, a trip to NYC would be lovely but...) or things that I didn't have the time, energy or resources to accomplish.

I have been thinking about changing my hair colour, when I was a drama student I had dreadlocks so I wore a wig and I've not had BRIGHT hair since it was pillar box red just before the dreads. I was thinking about that dipped colour thing that seems to be in but I keep holding back because I wonder if I will look like someone old trying to look younger...

Anyway, good luck with your project and I'll be cheering you along!

Rehanon Mackenzie said...

I've been every colour under the sun and had to shave my hair twice because of it but I don't regret any of it. If you wanna do blue when I say go for it!

christinelaennec said...

Marge Simpson! You are hilarious, Roo. I wish you a very happy birthday today. You're just a young whippersnapper, but I know what you mean about wanting to be stronger as you get older. In many ways I think most of us do get stronger without realising it. It just depends on what you focus on, I think. I look forwards to hearing your 49 things, and I agree that being True to Yourself precedes all else.

Have a happy day!

Sarah said...

Happy happy birthday. While my physical strength isn't great - I prefer to build 'exercise' into daily life rather than exercise for its own sake which I find plain boring - mental strength I find much harder to assess. I can think I'm OK and then something happens to make me reassess. I admire your project, good luck with it.

Sarah said...

Happy happy birthday. While my physical strength isn't great - I prefer to build 'exercise' into daily life rather than exercise for its own sake which I find plain boring - mental strength I find much harder to assess. I can think I'm OK and then something happens to make me reassess. I admire your project, good luck with it. Sarahel

Maeve said...

Happy Birthday Roo!!!

I love your 49 before 50 so far and you definitely should dye your hair what ever colour you want!
I'm turning 40 in a few weeks and am very comfortable with it, feel fitter and healthier than most of my 30's and I am quite happy where I am in this world. Bring it on I say!!!
Have a lovely day.

Emma said...

*H*A*P*P*Y* *B*I*R*T*H*D*A*Y*!
Celebrate every birthday! Embrace life! We change, we age, but life is still good. Just different.
What's wrong with blue hair, anyway? Or purple, or neon pink?

:0)

Diana Burrell said...

Happy birthday! I just turned 49 last week. After surviving cancer and a host of other health problems, I'm so happy to be here I don't dare feel bad about turning 50 next year :) . I love your idea about 49 before 50. And I say go ahead and put the color in your hair. It'll wake up your co-workers!

pennylibrarian said...

Happy, Happy Birthday!
Love your idea of 49 before 50. So far I've found all of the '9' birthdays that I remember (19, 29, 39) much worse than the '0' birthdays. Something to do with my own expectations of things I should have achieved by that nominal '0' age.
This year I relatively painlessly turned 'all the fours' (very droopy drawers) so I'm in a state of mid-decade ambivalence.
Very best wishes for this day, and all days!

Susan_in_Peckham said...

Oooo blue hair can be lovely - I saw a lady at Piccadilly Circus tube the other day with a gorgeous shade of blue and I could not stop admiring it! I recall you mentioning purple or lavender in the past too. If it makes you happy then go for it! I'm turning 40 in January and vary between feeling totally blasé about this milestone and feeling despondent about another decade being behind me rather than in front...

MaryinTN said...

Happy Birthday Roo! Dye your hair blue any time you please. Love the idea of 49 before 50. Please do keep us informed of your progress through the list. Heavens, you are inspiring me to make lists, oh no:)

ambermog said...

Happy birthday Roo. Blue sounds perfect dahling do it:))

needlesandspades said...

Happy birthday. I have been trying to get a comment on your site for ages. hoping this works; Think your resolution to go for it just right; Life is an adventure.

Karen S said...

Happy Birthday Roo! Wishing you a wonderful year.

Karine said...

Joyeux Anniversaire !

beate grigutsch said...

happy birthday roo!
"be true to myself" is one of the hardest things.....
i turn 45 this weekend and i was (and sometimes still be) great in painting things rosé. or thinking it´s other peoples fault. or the system...
i wish you that you find your way. with blue or gray hair. the color is´t the point. but what you begin with you and the mental freedom.

Donna Hensley said...

Happy Birthday!! And I agree, I think being true to yourself is worth all the other 48 items on the brewing list...so if you (we) can try to do just that one, then everything else will be amazing.

Lynn said...

Happy Birthday! I turned 50 the year I moved in with my now husband, David. I was so busy with the move and with life in general that it never caused me to blink much less ponder it deeply. Why am I telling you this? Because I think that is part of the recipe for a happy life: LIVE IT! If you really want to do the things on your list, have at! And if that includes blue hair, pick a pretty shade. And, you do not give yourself enough credit for your strength and resilience. You are a brave woman.

Helen said...

Happy birthday! Can't wait to see if you do dye it!

Seraphinalina said...

Happy birthday! I think you have the right idea, it's really inspiring. You never know when that "Pow to the solar plexus" moment will come but I'm glad you found yours.

Judith said...

Pick the colour, just do it and take control ~ you are going to have so much fun now with this super new attitude ... J

himmelbjerget147 said...

Happy birthday, blue hair sounds fun and would go so well to the increasingly "true to yourself" wardrobe you've been making.
I'm 59 next year and suddenly looking forward to it with enthusiasm thanks to receiving a kidney transplant a few weeks ago. I've a whole list of things I want to do that I haven't been able to do while waiting for the transplant.

SewTypical said...

hey! Happy Birthday!

PS I WISH I was 49 again...
:-) Chris

Cherie said...

Excellent post! Happy BD. You are so much stronger than you know, you are facing the future as bravely as anyone I have ever met (blog-met too!). I love the mantra, be true to oneself!

sulkycat said...

Happy Birthday Roo, from a 47 year old who refuses to stop having PINK hair because it makes me happy. Go for it (I tend to think before long I will be officially old and daft, so what does it matter!).

Myrna said...

Happy birthday. Go for it ! !

K.Line said...

What a terrific post. I have every confidence you will move into your next decade with grace, integrity and new hair! Have a wonderful birthday.

Miss said...

Happy birthday!
This is a great post - a few things have really struck a chord with me and I need to ponder them and let them sink in.
Sincere best wishes to you and all whom you love

Toni Ladd said...

Happy Birthday!!! May you have many Blessings during this year and always.

Toni in Portland, OR

Magpie said...

when you do, i highly recommend splat "blue envy" - it's a lovely shade of cobalt and it fades beautifully...

why yes, i have dyed a blue streak, several times. it's very pleasing.

Nita said...

Love your attitude! (Speaking from the ripe old age of 52)

Nita said...

Love your attitude! (Speaking from the ripe old age of 52)

Nicki said...

Happy birthday! Yes, just a number, enjoy being you (at least that is what I tell myself!)

Nicki said...

Ha I forgot I was playing catch up! Well I hope you HAD a good birthday.

acharmofmagpies said...

Happy birthday!!!!! I'm well aware that I'm very late but the sentiment is sincere! I hope you had a great day full of love and laughter. Your last sounds fantastic and inspirational and please please dye your hair blue! I'm younger than you but in the same position hair colour wise, please give me hope that I'll get to do it one day!