It's February...my birthday month. And its a Milestone birthday month. I'm not exactly sure how it happened but I seemed to have magically jumped from age 36 to 50! Fifty. Five. Zero.
...and I know that this birthday is significant for a lot of people. They don't call it "the big one" for nothing and as I reflected upon it's impending arrival, I was not only faced with what this time of life meant to me as a person, I thought a lot about what it meant to me as an actress. Yes, of course, they are linked because I don't suffer from a split personality. Facing 50 as Callie "the civilian", has it's own reality. My body is changing at a rate of speed I find extraordinary, panic about my retirement plans settles in at about 3.00 am, I question choices I've made and paths I took (please note I said question. I question them I don't regret them) and I contemplate with a seriousness I never thought possible that my time here is rapidly diminishing. I have been alive longer than I have left. Phew!
Add to this the reality of turning fifty in a business that notoriously still glamorizes youth (although we, thankfully, are in a time this is changing), still operates with ageism, and that is involved in a legal battle concerning mandatory birth dates on profile pages. It is easy to see how the feelings of becoming insignificant can take on exaggerated proportions. Now, my 50 is not my mothers 50 and it's certainly not my grandmothers 50 but what's an actress to do?
Well, ...option one consists of trying to stave off what is happening. Work out rigorously, eat better, lotions and potions and become besties with a plastic surgeon. This option has it's benefits.
Option two consists of embracing this process. Embrace who I have become physically. Embrace my wrinkles, my smile lines, my laugh lines (I had a hell of a time creating them), embrace my rapidly shrinking castability and remind myself who my theatrical idols are. I have long admired the great British dames, Maggie Smith, Helen Mirren, Judi Dench, Julie Walters....I admire their longevity, their character, their sense of self. And while there are not the opportunities available there were when I was, say 30, there is a beauty to entering the matriarchal years. Theatrically, there are delicious roles I am finally able to dig into. And I am able to dig in to them with my life full of experiences informing me. Have I aged out of roles? Of course...Juliet is long gone but in the future I have Lady Catherine de Bourgh in Pride and Prejudice.
I have decided to celebrate the big one by celebrating it! All year. For 365 days I will celebrate my 50. I will own it and be thankful for it and smile at it and laugh with it!
Hey, guess what? I'm 50!