So, I’ve just turned 50 years old… OMG! I’ve officially made it and AARP is in my mailbox and email everyday now. They really want my membership! They’ll get it… eventually.
I confess, I’m not exactly where I thought I’d be at age 50, but who is? I’m not living in the Hollywood Hills, where at age 25, I thought for sure I’d be by the time I hit 30. But, then again, quite frankly, I’ve learned from experience by watching my family and friends, that not everyone is truly cut out to be a home owner. Heck, I’d be happy in a simple small cottage on the beach or in a trailer in a cool city trailer park. That’s me. I tend to get more easy and relaxed as I age. I’ve calmed down a lot. Now, that’s not to say if the opportunity landed in my lap that I’d give up the chance to live in a penthouse in Manhattan. Hey, I’m not crazy! It just hasn’t presented itself… yet.
Money. The issue of employment. At age 50 most of my friends and colleagues are very grounded and in a solid career path pointing to retirement… then headed to Palm Springs.
Me? Well, I’m bullheaded. I got my Cosmetology license at the age of 20, knowing I would own my own salon and be the hairstylist to the stars. OK, so that never happened… I did have the opportunity to work for celebrity stylists, though, like Jose Eber and Paul Garcia in the 1980’s and ’90’s… then, I decided to go free lance and change the world on my own. You guessed it, that didn’t happen either.
But, a funny thing is happening as I gracefully age. My passions and my interests have radically changed. Made an about- face! What was once so important to me and drove me… is no longer there. Nor is it important to me. Holy crap! Try to wrap your mind around that! Through a very quiet metamorphosis, new and unique passions and interests have presented themselves and awakened within me.
WOW! So, that’s one of the profound blessings of getting older.
I ask myself, what the Hell happened? Then all I can do is laugh. Like today. If I’m going to run my fingers through anyone’s hair, it’s just going to be my boyfriend’s or husband’s. No one else’s. So, what do I do? My real job? Glad you inquired. I have found a new interest that has also become a paying job that I LOVE. I DJ. Not just any DJ. I play the Golden Oldies. The hits from the 1950’s- 1980’s. Music we ALL know. Pop, rock, soul, R & B and I even have a great collection of current Country music. I have a blast. I get lost in it. It’s truly something I love to do. LOVE to do. LOVE TO DO. I also love to write. Poetry. Short fiction. I began writing at a very early age and I’ve never stopped.
I look back and I’m pretty darn proud of my accomplishments and achievements as a literary and visual artist. Not to toot my own horn, but, I will toot my own horn. I have won nine American poetry awards; self- published two books, published short stories, written, produced and directed 4 short films. The UCLA Library of Special Collections has archived 30 of my poems and one of my short films. The Tom of Finland Foundation has also archived my film work. That’s not too bad, I think. In fact, I’m quite proud of it at my age. So, when I become glum and have my pity party about ‘getting older,’ all I need to do is think of those accomplishments. It makes me smile. It makes me feel good. Because, in the end, no one can ever take that away from me. Ever. -Waide Riddle
Photo Credits unless otherwise note: Hank Eddleman