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A ’70s Girl Turns 50

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I can barely bring myself to think about the fact that I will be 50 on June 22nd. I was born in 1958. So were Madonna, Michelle Pfeiffer, the peace sign, and the 64-color box of Crayola crayons.

Jamie Lee Curtis, whom people say I resemble, is topless on the cover of AARP magazine. Did you know AARP starts its mailing notices to “seniors” at age 47? Boy, if that isn’t enough to make you feel old!

The gorgeous, if not dumb as a box of rocks, Sharon Stone reaches the 50 mark this year. Holly Hunter and Ellen DeGeneres are both 50. Don’t they all look grand? That’s what everyone says: “Oh, she just looks great for 50!” We all would look great if we had nothing to do but exercise, eat right, and go to the plastic surgeon for the rest.

The Gibson Flying V guitar, born 1958 in Kalamazoo, Michigan, hits the half-century mark this year. The Flying V was used by the great blues player Lonnie Mack, 66, and ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, 59. Jimi Hendrix, who used the famous Sunburst Flying V, didn’t make it to 30. Metallica’s lead guitarist, James Hetfield, lucky to be 44, plays a Flying V.

Experts say these are the best years of a woman’s life. We now have time for reading, sex, and gardening! In reality, a woman is lucky to have time for anything more than work or care giving. Many women are in that Sandwich Generation – taking care of kids and aging parents simultaneously. Some are raising grandchildren. One thing I know for sure, life is more than sex, drugs, and rock and roll.

What is so great about turning 50?

Just the fact that I’ve lived this long is probably something to be thankful for. A significant percentage of the population of Ancient Rome never made it to 50. If you lived to be 30 in the Middle Ages you were considered old. In the 17th Century, most adults died in their 30’s. Elvis was dead almost seven years before he turned 50. Experts say women feel 12 years younger than their actual age and can expect to live 32 healthy years after 50, outliving their spouses.

Since I have approximately 30 years left on planet earth, I’ve set some goals. I’ll take a trip to New Orleans, drink as many great IPA’s as possible, and learn how to download music. I’m not a luddite; I just haven’t had the time. I plan to learn sign language, make more money, and discover some great new music (your suggestions accepted). I’ll get a tattoo, lose 10 lbs, and communicate more effectively. I’ll write more.

Maybe I’ll look back on this year of my life and remember that the United States was in a recession, 5.5 million people were out of work, and gas prices hit an all time high of $4 and think “Ahhh, the good ‘ol days!”

“Revel in the gift of time, for every year brings the magical opportunity to write a new chapter in the book of life.” – Isadora James

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About Diane

  • Thirty more years? Is that all? All I can say is that I’m older that you and have threatened to my children that I am living to 109. Think courage, woman!

  • Thank you for your contribution to the Culture section of Blogcritics. Your article has been selected as a feature on Culture’s Front Page.

  • Diane

    I guess I should have said AT LEAST 30 more years…

  • Count your blessings if employers still find you employable. I turned 52 about a month ago and found myself unexpectedly unemployed at right about the same time. For all of my talent and experience, (okay, throw modesty in there too I guess), my phone isn’t exactly ringing off the hook.

    The good news is I can recommend some of that music you speak of all day long. Now, if only I could find someone willing to pay me for that…


  • Diane

    I work for a company that worships youth. I would guess that 75% of the company is under 30. 12 out of 15 people at my location are under 30.
    It doesn’t help that the economy sucks right now and jobs are hard to find. I predict that by the end of the year we’re going to get a bounce, and employment will be easier to find. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.
    Now, about that music, tell me something good to listen to!

  • Well, you can probably start with reading my articles right here in BC’s music section.


  • 50? The new 48…

    Well, I hit that half century mark recently. Rock n Roll, it will keep you young or kill ya. Yeah, got to keep up with the body (colon, cholestoral, etc.)

    I think will put this Led Zeppelin back on the turntable. The stuff kids listen to nowadays, ugh…


  • Diane

    I am perplexed by my feelings about turning 50. It must be the ideas I myself hold of what 50 is. It certainly isn’t what or who I am at all. I feel great, in fact, I don’t feel any different than 40 or 30, as cliche as that may sound.
    I’m wondering, “when, will I feel old?”.
    I also have a difficult time telling people how old I am. When I should be able to Shout it out with pride…I EARNED THESE YEARS! Every Damn one of them.

  • STM

    Yep, they lied.

    50 isn’t the new 30. The amount of damage I’ve done to myself over the years (playing sport and playing up), it feels more like the new 60.

    The remedy: keep surfin’ (or whatever it is that gives you your jollys).

    I love visiting Dr Pacific down here at the paradise end of the globe … because a smile permanently planted on your dial keeps you looking and feeling young, even when you know damn well you ain’t. That’s the secret.

    Oh, and use HEAPS of sunscreen.

  • Condor

    Everybody ought to die at 40 to 45. 50 sucks, 56 sucks even more. I’m just fortunate to have good medical coverage. All my old sports injuries have come back to haunt me…. do I really want to live 30 more years with all this pain every morning? Sure, why not. What’s the old saying… pain makes you stronger? Well if that’s true the old folks must be a hearty bunch.


  • Well, aren’t you just a ray of sunshine?

  • Condor

    Speaking of sunshine, it was 103 degrees with the heat index… and I had to mow the friggin’ yard. To bad the kids were run out of the house at 18, or they would have been out there dodging heat stroke. How’s that for sunshine?

    BTW, you can only play a Flying V standing up and straped in… they slide off of the knee. Gibsons used to put a piece of corragated rubber on the downward bout, but it didn’t work that well.

    and… how much longer will I be able to listen to Robert Plant moan like castralto? Not much. I did watch the Cream reunion concert the other night and it was good. For the most part I’ve switched to 40’s,50’s, and 60’s jazz. For current jazzy artists, I like Alan Holdsworth, or Bill Frissel, but smooth jazz all sounds the same (that’s something my dad would have said).

    If it’s lyrical sounding, I’m okay with it, but rock got boring after I turned 21 or so… disco didn’t rock my world. The talking heads or 80’s King Crimson was good. Missing Persons? Maybe Spring Session M… whose muscians all graduated from the Frank Zappa school of grueling musicality. Oh, and the Concert of George was beautiful… but pop/rock/metal and all that stuff just doesn’t do it anylonger. Mantovoni anyone? Or perhaps a McCoy Tyner, or Bill Evans, or Miles, or …

    Back in the 70’s I was into Ry Cooder and David Bromberg. I liked prog-rock, which made you think a bit and listen, because it was interesting, not banal. The Stones? I saw them live in 1972 and never looked back… they put on an absolutely terrible show. Stevie Wonder opened for them and was absolutely great. I saw the Stones on T.V. one night on a special… they hadn’t changed, it still sounded crappy. That said the Let It Bleed album was good, so was Beggars Banquet and Sticky Fingers. Too bad they come across live so terribly.

    And of course, there was The Band. I really used to enjoy listening to The Band albums, still do.

    Hey, I got big ears and at least my hearing is still good… and I can still play a mean guitar.

    So there… little Mr. Sunshine has a sunbeam for you. Probst pal.

  • Bennett

    Fun stuff Diane! I too hit that mark later this year. Gack!

    The best on a Flying V was/is Michael Schenker from UFO fame (jmo).

    Harpoon IPA rocks, as does Long Trail’s version.

    Thanks for the heads up on the AARP cover shot. Damn she looks good, but when hasn’t she?

  • Diane

    A lot to respond to here….ok, music…I love Steve Earle, the Proclaimers, Anything that rocks with intelligence!! I am an early Frank Zappa fan so, irony really helps. I love Robert Plant and Allison Krause. So much more music out there that I love. Just saw Raul Malo. All I can Say is– WOW! Stilllove Daid Bromberg and Ry Cooder. In the last few years I’ve fallen in love with Hank Williams III. He really speaks to me.
    As for health care coverage…I have it now, but who knows what might happen, that’s what I am fear….Maybe Obama will be my savior (she says sarcastically)?? I absolutely Love the Stones. Jagger has what Elvis and all the greats had/have…some kind of sexual attitude that he / they are born with, gets me all goose bumpy!!

    As for the beer– I love the local stuff. Especially, Huma Lumpa Liscious from Shorts Brewery in Belle Air, Michigan, where I am going next week. Crooked Tree IPA from Dark Horse Brewery in Marshall, Michigan and HopSlam from Kalamazoo, Michigan are THE BEST…oh then theres the DogFish Ipa and Breckenridge Brewery’s Small Batch…..So many beers, not enough time….!!!

    Keeping that Smile On My Face… or, at least trying….
    Lil’ Ms. Sunshine