Last month I turned 52 and I bought myself a tiara. I've always wanted to wear a tiara ever since the first time my mother let me stay up to watch the Miss America Pageant. I'm pretty sure that no one's going to give me a tiara, so I figured it was a good time to go buy one.
Which I did, along with a matching rhinestone necklace. And thus a birthday tradition was born. It has now become the Coveted Birthday Tiara and Matching Precious Sklinkles of Joy Necklace.
I was photographed wearing them and then wrote down what little wisdom I've gained in 52 years. Then I boxed it up and sent it to my mother, who will do the same, then box it up and send it to my sister Nancy. And so on. We will start our own little blog so we can all see each other's answers.
Here's what it's taken me 52 years to learn:
1) When a torrential downpour accompanied by a cold North wind during a camping trip to the Outer Banks forced me to spend 36 hours in a wet sleeping bag, I've learned to always appreciate being warm and dry.
2) Old habits die hard and even then, there are some that have amazing recuperative powers.
3) Having found myself at a point where I have nothing to worry about, I spend an awful lot of time worrying about nothing.
4) Money can't buy happiness and poverty doesn't necessarily bring despair, but you sure do sleep better when you are debt free with money in the bank.
5) Like it or not, you will turn into your mother sooner or later. And you won't mind it nearly as much as you thought you would.
6) A lot of things you've always wanted are over-rated. But having a baby isn't.
7) As a lifelong cat person, I have since learned to treasure the love and loyalty of a good dog. Unlike husbands and surly 12 year olds, dogs are always glad to see you no matter how bad their own day has been.
8) Getting a book published does not change your life nearly as much as you expect it to.
9) It's good to feel useful, and there's nothing more useful than helping people who really need your help.
10) Bad things will happen to you or people you love for no reason. But there will always be family, friends and even strangers who will get you through.
11) Marriage is not like dating. It's like going into business with a drinking buddy. You still get to have a beer together once in a while, but you have to work together to make sure the bills are paid, the kids are fed, the laundry done and the house cleaned at least once in a while. The purpose of dating is to have fun and impress the other person. Once you're married, you find having fun becomes a low priority and nobody's impressed any more.
12) On a cold winter night, it's nice to have a familiar warm body to snuggle up to. Even if he snores. Even if you snore.