I'd wanted to turn 50 at the Eiffel Tower with my best friend, JB. We saved our money. But then I rear-ended somebody at the bottom of an off-ramp. And there went France.
My sister offered to take me to her favorite nudist hot springs (I'm sorry, "clothing optional healing retreat") in the mountains. I jumped at the chance! Who wouldn't want to celebrate turning 50 by getting naked in front of some strangers under broad daylight?
What happened? Oh, Staci got her groove back. She walked barefoot in the woods wearing her birthday suit. She made some really cool friends from all over the world. And she felt beautiful. It took me by surprise.
For a long time, I viewed aging through the eyes of our culture instead of my own. 50 was a death sentence. I was still Single, had never had children, my ass was dropping, and I'd never even sold a TV pilot.
When I was naked in the woods, I thought back on the freedom of my 20s, the heartache and illness of the 30s, the hard work rebuilding in the 40s - and I decided - 50! I would do whatever the fuck I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I would be happy!
A year later - surprise! I met L. And he asked me to marry him in Paris!
Last October, we honeymooned in Venice.
I was just a Late Bloomer. Maybe you are, too.
Staci Greason’s literary achievements include novels, award-winning television pilots, and screenplays. Her short stories and essays have been published in Brevity, Slate, Lunch Ticket, AFLW, the Same, and the Huff Post, among others.
In her past life, she played the late Isabella Toscano Black on Days of Our Lives.