Lisa Davis: My last day as a 49er
Sep 30, 2012 | 1903 views |  0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A college classmate of my husband’s, a writer named Rob Trucks, started a project a couple of years ago in which he talks to 49-year-olds about what it feels like to be turning 50. He’s interviewed more than 200 notable men and women. He calls the project “The 49ers.”

If Rob wants to interview me, he better make it quick, because he’s only got till midnight tonight.

Every day, The 49ers Facebook page lists folks who are turning 50. On Friday, the list included a former major-league pitcher, a former LPGA golfer, a former NHL center, a former wide receiver, a former motorcycle road racer — and a music journalist whose age, I was happy to note, has not yet forced him out of his career.

As newspaper executive Kevin McClatchy, who will turn 50 in January, told the New York Times a few days ago: “I’ve got a birthday coming up where I’m turning old.”

It’s an odd age to be. I’m old enough to be Lady Gaga’s mother. If my father was still alive, he would be 102.

It’s not that 50 is old, because really it’s not. It’s that 50 is Not Young.

When I picture myself in my head, I’m still in my late 20s. In reality, I’m past the median. More than half my life is already gone.

I’m running out of time. Why am I wasting precious hours washing the breakfast dishes? I need to be doing something meaningful, like writing a book that can outlast me.

I am acutely aware of how much I don’t want to leave my husband or my children. It can make me downright paranoid. What’s that metallic taste in the roof of my mouth? Is that cancer? No? It’s just a common side effect of the arthritis medicine? Well, that’s OK then.

All those things my mother advised me to do when I was younger — use sunscreen, eat better, exercise more, stop wearing those stylish shoes that pinch my toes — yeah, those have come back to haunt me.

I stare in the mirror at the creases in my forehead, the little jowly things forming near my chin, my ears starting to droop, and I worry that my face is starting to slide off.

Fifteen years ago, I wouldn’t be caught dead at the grocery store without eyeliner and lipstick. Today, I no longer really see the point in shaving my legs.

Except that I do care. A lot. I don’t want to look old. I want to go out and buy skinny jeans, partly because I want to look young and stylish, but also because I realize my legs are the only parts of me that are still skinny.

Either way, I fear I will wind up looking ridiculous.

My husband and I went out to lunch this week. On our way, we drove past a used car lot. There was a sporty little silver Mercedes convertible parked out front. I turned my head to look at it. I didn’t have to say a word.

“50th birthday present?” asked my husband.

It would definitely take my mind off it.
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