50 Thoughts: Identity Crisis Code Purple

I hate writer’s block.

I’m sitting here trying to get off the stump when it comes to a blog post, and I find myself wrapped up in the back-and-forth conflict that is my brain more and more these days.

  • What should I wear today?
  • Which book should I read?
  • Should I play it cool or goofy?
  • Aloof or engaging?
  • PBS or Bravo?
  • Fitted or loose?
  • Skinny or boyfriend style?

And, almost daily, “Should I get a haircut?”

I was wistfully hoping that upon turning 50, my fairy godmother would appear, wave a wand, and I’d be transformed into my Act II. I thought, because dammit Oprah said this would happen, I would hit 50 and suddenly really honestly not give a damn what anyone thinks anymore.

That I’d come into my own.

But I swear to God, this haircut thing. Now it’s a real conundrum. If I cut it short, people could assume it’s because, well, I turned 50. So of course I am being sensible. But really, it’s just that I am sick to death of the my hair dryer and curling iron. But … isn’t that being sensible?


I think tonight’s question comes down to this: Do we continue to “mature” as we mature, and can you still do that even as you embrace what’s at the heart of your personality, whether that’s calm and cool or unapologetically goofy?

I first touched on this nearly four years ago, and as I said above, I think I was hoping someone or something was going to push me in one direction or another. I remember being in my 20s when I first saw the “When I am Old I shall Wear Purple” merch that Hallmark stores were starting to market. At the time, I thought “Well, cool. Purple is my favorite color. So that works out.”

But as I continue to inch closer to my very own AARP card, I’m still wondering just what kind of “woman of a certain age” I plan to be. And honestly, four years after writing that first post, I’m mostly annoyed this is still up for debate.

And why is it up for debate? Because I still care what other people think. And not in a clingy, need-to-be-loved kind of way. To be honest, it probably has more to do with not wanting to let people down. My parents. My husband. My kids. My coworkers. My friends. Whether we like it or not, engaging in society still comes with certain expectations, and while I may be itching to go off on Facebook about what a #@$*(*&!! I think a certain President of the United States is, I also know there’s a time and a place and posting every 10 minutes about what an absolute POS I think he is might not be me putting my best foot forward.

Nonetheless, I am waiting, Oprah. I am looking forward to the day I can enjoy a gleeful disregard, not for other people’s feelings, but other people’s judgment. Until then, I’ll start stocking up on purple and continue to look for the perfect pixie cut.

Day 1: 50 Days, 50 Thoughts, 50 Books. Book recommendation: The Bitch is Back

Day 2: There Aren’t Any Do-Overs, Are There? Book Recommendation: A Place for Us

Day 3: Is Pop Culture Circling the Drain? Book recommendation: Live from New York

Day 4: Perimenopause in the Age of Trump Book Recommendation: Where’d You Go, Bernadette

Day 5: Take A Knee at the Altar of Common Sense Book Recommendation: How Not to Be a Dick

Day 6: Perspective is the Gift That Keeps on Giving Book Recommendation: A Fine Balance

Day 7: The Accidental Editor Book Recommendation: Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977 – 2002)

Day 8: The First Last of the Firsts Book Recommendation: The Little Book of Hygge

Day 9: All Kinds of Tired Book Recommendation: Believer

Day 10: Overthinking is Anxiety’s Bitchy Best Friend Book Recommendation: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened

Day 11: Where Would You go with a Wayback Machine? Book Recommendation: A Little Life

Day 12: Fall in my Favorite Chicago

Day 13: On Having It All Book Recommendation: Lean In

Day 14: Where Were You When … Book Recommendation:The Nix

Day 15: 5 Things to Purge Before you Turn 50 Book Recommendation: The Art of Tidying Up

Day 16: A Labor Day Salute to Bad Bosses Everywhere Book Recommendation: Steve Jobs

Day 17: Do You Validate?  Book Recommendation: Less 

Today’s recommendation: Amp’d by Ken Pisani. It’s an unusual choice for today’s topic, but relevant in that it’s a story about finding yourself. And I loved it and think everyone should read it. So there.

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