Turning The Big 5-0

How do 50 years fly by so quickly? I’ll be 50 in one month on September 9th. As I approach my sixth decade I remember so easily my childhood as if it was yesterday. I feel the same until I look both in the mirror now and at pictures of me in high school when I thought I looked so grown up.

I remember when I was six swinging on the swing set Dad made for us in the backyard as our dog Nelson jumped on us, or swimming in our 3 ft doughboy pool my sister nearly drowned in. Spending weekends running through the sprinklers and on the Slip N Slide on hot summer days, guzzling water from the hose. It tasted so much better than a glass of water from the kitchen. I remember watching The Bionic Woman and Dad fixing the TV in a panic one time so I could watch the reruns. I played with my Cher barbie doll and watched The Sunny and Cher Show on TV holding her in my lap wearing my Hollie Hobbie pajamas.

We had an orange van with shag carpeting, mushroom wallpaper and a CB radio. It had an 8-track tape player and our tapes included Saturday Night Fever, The Eagles, and John Denver.

We’d go to the drive in that’s now an outdoor mall in Newbury Park. I took ice skating lessons after watching the Olympics and Mom got me a Dorothy Hamill haircut. I woke up each morning wondering when I was going to have strip club boobs.

My elementary school used to have rollerskate nights at the local rink across from K-Mart. Mom bought me copper metallic shorts and a red satin jacket at Sears and I thought I was the shit. After I graduated to seventh grade I snuck back into the elementary school skate nights. Sometimes the teachers would catch me, but I’d convince them I was only in 5th grade the year before.

I remember never thinking I would turn 16 so I could drive. I went to bed every night counting the days and looking at my Sony Dream Machine each night thinking I was one day closer.

I also think about the things I thought would never happen. Being single at 50 when I was 15 seemed like a death sentence but hey, I’ve had a great life, dated lots of losers but also had lots of fun “wink wink.” I’ve traveled the world twice over and had experiences my married friends with kids will never know. I’ve also encountered people stuck in unhappy marriages but too paralyzed to make a change. I’d rather be alone.

I never thought I’d be in the same room with my best friend when she was pronounced dead at 44. We used to joke about being in our 80’s and getting our room together at the old folk’s home, playing Scrabble and guzzling chardonnay. I didn’t think I’d get used to never seeing her again, although I still cry about her weekly.

I couldn’t imagine my dad would get arrested and convicted of murder. I never thought I’d get used to visiting him in prisons across California for 17 years.

I can’t believe Carrie Fisher died before I could explain my stalking and we could hug it out.

I can’t believe Bruce Jenner’s a chick!

Jul 1976: Bruce Jenner of the USA celebrates during his record setting performance in the decathlon in the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, Canada. Mandatory Credit: Tony Duffy /Allsport

Now I’ve gone retro as I reminisce about my childhood—buying 8 track tapes and players, watching The Bionic Woman on youtube and even meeting her at Comic Con! I acted as if I was still six years old. I binge watch Burt Reynolds movies like Smokey and The Bandit and am addicted to my lip smackers. I want roller skates for my 50th birthday even though I still have the ones Mom and Dad bought me when I was nine. I drive around Hollywood blasting The Bee Gees and Earth Wind and Fire.

There are so many things I’m grateful for—being alive and having my health, sans one toe, is at the top of my list. After Anne dying I’m truly thankful to God for every breath I take. I’m grateful for getting carded, yes it still happens, I don’t care if it’s the sympathy check or not! I still have my wacky family, and I have great great friends in my life, a good chunk from elementary and high school, Playboy and Lucasfilm.

I hope I am blessed with many more years of memories with friends. Sometimes life can be so beautiful and overwhelming, just like the plastic bag floating in American Beauty…

24 thoughts on “Turning The Big 5-0

  1. You put in words that thoughts and feelings that are filling so many of us who hit 50 this year. Cheers to the second 50 years! May they be weird and wacky and filled with reckless abandon for us all!

  2. Good written as usual..
    Time’s fucking flying, we’re all there.
    Nostalgia, hope and thankfulness is here the perfect mixture we should all be feeling at this point of a life.
    Keep on going pumpkin’, you’re good writing and experiencing life: that bitch! ❤️❤️❤️

  3. I loved reminiscing with you and felt like I was right there with you. And the watermelon lipsmacker you bought me, thank you very much, let’s me have a little nastalgia every time I use it. It brings a smile to my face. I’m so lucky we have reunited and it feels so good and I think you’ve grown up to be an amazing woman! Keep on keepin on!
    Although you and I will not have kids to take care of us because we will be jumping from cruise ship to islands and sky driving and herding elephants in Africa.
    P.S. life is great!

  4. Awesome post Laurel! Took me back too but obviously you were wayyyy cooler than I was back in the day! Happy bday and here’s to 50 more years of roller-skates!

  5. I’m just so thankful you didn’t mention arm flab, cellulite, receding gums, or menopause related horrors, like hair loss. Oh, but wait, that’s when you turn 60! And that will never be you anyway, you already paid with a toe.

  6. I think this may be one of my favorites..all true! All real! And, I love that you live your live full out! I will add that I feel like I won the lottery with your friendship! <3 Love you… Can not wait to celebrate YOU!

  7. Half-way point!! Wooo!! 🙂
    I saw this blog posted on LinkedIn, and I’ve heard of you from ILM (I worked there, too!) but I’m not sure if we’ve ever met in person?
    Anyway, I’m turning the big 5-0 this year too and I LOVE the fact that I was a kid in the 1970s. I’ve been cranking up the 70s satellite radio station and singing along on my commute which makes me so happy. It’s funny how listening to a song brings up so many memories.
    I’m glad to read that you’re enjoying life on your own terms. It’s the best way to live life. What a great life story you have so far. Keep on inspiring people to get out there and enjoy the world around them and to love being here because it is a brief moment in time.

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