Birthdays That End in Zero, Right Cheeks and the Reevaluation of Old Rules

I just turned 50. The BIG 5-0. 

Birthdays with a number ending in zero have a weird way of making you take a long hard look at your life. Reflection. Reevaluation. Revision. In my past life, I thought it necessary to pull out the checklist and check my progress towards reaching appropriate developmental milestones.  If I’m being honest though, I’m not sure I’ve ever met the milestones. And the fact of the matter is… on this last birthday – my 50th – I really couldn’t care less. Five decades in… and I feel like I have finally figured out some of the correct answers to this long and tedious assignment called life.

Way Back When

Most of the things I thought I wanted, needed or had to have – I’ve realized are pretty dad blasted – unessential. Like all matching bras and panties. Fa real fa real matching. Brand, color, lace, thread, pattern… all that. Lingerie Garanimals. It’s what I envisioned all successful women had in their top drawer. Fast forward thirty years. All I need now is a bra that holds my less than symmetrically sized breastasiss comfortably and more or less at their original starting positions and pantaloons that don’t ride up over my right butt cheek and into the deep dark of night. That right cheek is my struggle cheek.

Don’t get me wrong now. There was nothing wrong with Then Me and wishes for excessive amounts of underwear. She was just young. And time has changed her focus.

Then Me and Now Me

Then Me thought fifty was the AGE at which people turn… old and put a first foot in the grave. {Envisions gray hairs, polyester pants with an elastic waist and daily viewing of the obituary page in the newspaper.} Now Me feels far too young and spry to be thinking about graves. *Knees, back and bladder excluded.

Then Me thought I needed a fancy super sized HOUSE with a room for everything and everyone. Now Me doesn’t even want the regular sized house she has. A simple container home with a little outdoor space and no HOA is goals now.

Then Me thought the acquisition of STUFF was a win. Now Me just wants to set her whole house on fire because there is just too much stuff. A life of minimalism with drawers and doors that close without a struggle would be right short of heaven. Less… is now my more.

Then Me thought slick and sexy events and a CALENDAR full of nights out with my girls was a desirable thing. Now Me is happy to see blank space on my calendar. And my girls at an occasional gathering. There is no legitimate reason to get dressed and leave the house when the group chat is always fire.

Then Me was far too INSECURE to acknowledge her fears and weaknesses. Heights for example. Now Me will turn off the radio, demand silence at the base of the incline and require that silence from all passengers in the vehicle while she travels 30 mph over bridges. No shame. One startling noise causing a jerky movement and we could go over… falling to our deaths in a fiery crash. Roll your eyes if you want; I will not allow such catastrophes on my watch.

Then Me thought the best GIFTS came in a box tied with a pretty bow. Now Me values experiences and memories over all those things. Let’s take this trip, watch this concert, jump out of this plane. Psych! I will not ever jump out of a plane. Neva eva eva. See previous paragraph for background information.

Then Me thought perfectly coiffed, award winning and commercial ready KIDS was a desirable thing. Now Me just needs happy, healthy, independent kids who will {probably} take care of their mother in her old age. 

Then Me thought all FRIENDS were forever and that I was defective when they were not. Now Me recognizes there are seasons for a lot of things – even friendships. That saying – Don’t cry because it’s over,  smile because it happened – I live there now. It is an extremely healthy way of moving on for me. I know – I ain’t for everybody and everybody ain’t for me. And it really is okay. 

Then Me worried about her IMAGE and how other people view her. Now Me joyfully acknowledges her Haute Mess self and laughs at all her own ridiculousness. Embracing it feels like freedom. For example, ask me how many times a week I hop in the shower and then freak out as a thick gas begins to fill the room and cloud my vision – only to realize I forgot to take my glasses off – again. Three. Three is the minimum number of times per week this happens. 

Then Me thought it best to avoid any CONTROVERSY, keep quiet and not ruffle any feathers – even when foolery was on full display. Now Me has no issues with putting it all out there. Now Me revels in ruffling the feathers of the foolish. Try me. You wanna fight? We can go. Bless your heart.

Then Me wasted TIME trying to save money. Now Me knows money is easier to come by than time. Moral of my story:: I will spend the money to save my time.

Then Me thought I was not quite as intelligent, pretty, funny, talented and a lot of other WORDS many of us long to be. Now Me thinks me is golden. If I wasn’t her – I would want to be her BFF. Gawd, that woman is good stuff.

Then Me tolerated a lot of miscellaneous CRAP at the expense of her peace. Now Me evaluates actions, decisions, circumstances, situations and relationships by determining their effect on her peace. I’m not about that struggle life. I have only one to live and I refuse to spend it without joy.

Then Me thought I’d be winding down at 50. Now Me knows I am not reaching the end of life – I’m just starting the SECOND ROUND. I do not profess to have it all figured out – but at this stage of the game – I am good with that. Me – and my right cheek – we are good with that.


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Joi was born and raised in San Antonio. After a brief pit stop at the University of Texas in Austin, Joi moved to Houston in 1994 and began checking boxes off her never ending to do list. During this time and in no particular order, Joi taught a little bit of everything between first and eighth grades, got married and then divorced, completed grad school, birthed a few babies – Ferris {November 1997}, Warren {December 1999} and Laylah {March 2006}, moved an old lady into her home – Granny {January 1925} started working in Human Resources, served an excessive amount of time (on boards, in booster clubs, team momming) as a crazy sports momma, and learned a lot of life lessons. Joi is known for her unabashed honesty, always present sense of humor and her #TeamTooMuch style of doing everything. On most days, you can find her caught up in her love/hate relationship with politics, feeding her Facebook addiction, or counting the number of days until her last child graduates from high school.



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