Due to a significant birthday recently, I came to a few realizations. If I live to be a really ripe old age, my life is already half over. There are certain things I’m just not going to do. And you know what? Thank the Lawd! I feel like a kid who just graduated high school—Done! I’ll never have take algebra again!
I will never have the best body on the beach. I never did, by the way, and now, I’m committed: I never will. I don’t look awful in a bathing suit; I’d say I’m fairly average. I am how I am, to paraphrase the great philosopher Popeye. I’ll try to stay in fairly good shape, but I will never swear off Ben & Jerry’s, either. As God is my witness, I’ll never stop eating ice cream!
I won’t win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. I like writing popular fiction. I like writing romance. When occasionally, I’m asked if I want to write something perhaps more literary, my answer goes something like, “You mean like Andre Dubois III? Dear God, no.”
I won’t learn to ski, even though McIrish loves to ski. And it does look like fun. But I don’t like falling down. I don’t like being cold and wet. I now feel old enough to say, “No, life really isn’t so much about trying new things. It’s about the people I love and the things I enjoy. If I don’t want to don a snowsuit and lock my ankles into plastic boots, I’m not gonna. And you can’t make me. I’ll save you a seat in the lodge.”
I will never learn a foreign language well enough to be able to understand native speakers. (Sorry, Mrs. Williamson. You did your best.) This is okay. I can speak French and Russian well enough to ask where the embassy and the bathrooms are. I can order dinner. I can say please and thank you in about five languages and swear in seven. That should be enough, right? Besides, have you ever had a native speaker say, “Wow, your accent is so delightfully American! Please continue to butcher my language and waste my time by groping for your high school vocabulary to order a cup of coffee and a roll.”
I will never again eat raw shellfish. I gave it a shot. I ate a raw oyster. It wasn’t horrible. I didn’t love it. And I don’t have to! This doesn’t mean I’m not sophisticated or a problem eater. I’m simply old enough to choose what I want to eat. (Note to my children: you’re not.) Besides, I have this thing about acquired taste. If you have to overcome your initial revulsion…why bother?
So here I am, older and wiser and thrilled about the things I have given myself permission to forego. What about you? Are there any ways in which you’ve let yourself off the hook? You’ve lived a certain number of years, and you feel like, “Yeah…nah. No, thanks. I’m good just the way I am.”