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500 on 50

When I turned 10 I got a puppy, my sweet Dewey. I loved him with my whole heart and became a ‘dog-person’ from that very moment.

When I turned 20 I said goodbye to my teen years and began counting the days to 21 because turning 20 meant I still had to remember how to spell Azita Khashavarsi, the name on my fake ID.

When I turned 30 I’d just had my second child – I was sleep deprived and deliriously happy and loving my little Connor-bean and our son Peter’s new role as big brother. My family was complete, and I was content.

When I turned 40 I’d just finished chemo. I was bloated, exhausted, out of work, and unsure of the future; plus, what little hair I had looked like crap. Hey 40 … you sucked!

But now …

today …

this is 50!

Most would assume I’d be ushering in a mid-life crisis. I mean, what woman eagerly hits the half-century mark? Hair far more grey than brown, not that you’d ever know that – thanks to Garnier Olia Dark Brown #4.0. Achy joints, a little too much around the middle, and scars. So. Many. Scars. Ones you can see … and many you cannot. There are a few wrinkles too, and I like them. They remind me of all the joy and pain that has brought me here, to this day. I survived, though the odds were not always in my favor. I blessedly wear the life I’ve lived.

When I was 10 I assumed being 50 meant white hair, dentures, and grandchildren.

At 20 I figured 50 would be a time of retirement and sensible shoes.

At 30 I adjusted that a bit to envision a lavish vacation and maybe even a piece of jewelry celebrating my life and successes.

At 40 … well, at 40 I just hoped to see 50. Aging is a privilege denied to many, this I know all too well.

A few weeks ago, my husband and kids asked what I wanted to do to celebrate. I tucked my long brown hair behind my ear and glanced down at my feet, which were firmly planted in a pair of sky-high wedge-heeled sandals. I thought about all my preconceived notions of the past decades and I said, “I’d like to go out to dinner, maybe for some fresh seafood. I’d love a really decadent cake, pretty, with tons of icing. And a toast, with a nice bottle of prosecco and some sugar cubes to keep the devil away.” Simple. Easy. Celebratory. That’s all I need.

Five simple rules I swear by -

  1. Get lost in the music. Sing loudly and off-key.

  2. Fly your freak flag often and with relish.

  3. Lace the voices in your head with whiskey and cigarettes – every single thought and idea will sound better, and sexier.

  4. Be kind but have a biting wit. Laugh until something leaks.

  5. Never stop learning. Remain curious and engaged.

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