1.22.13 Fifty Shades of Silverman

Ls color 790 xxx
photo by george billard

Today I am 50. It seems somehow inconceivable and yet it is merely the inevitable outcome of staying alive. (Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive.) I’ve done more than that though—I’ve lived. And, as the inimitable Édith Piaf sang, Je ne regrette rien. I learned to play the oboe. I lived in Spain. I graduated from Harvard. I made my way in New York City. I moved to Los Angeles and back. I married 3 times, divorced twice and was widowed. I traveled the world. I found true love and married again. I bought a house in the woods and 5 acres on a lake. I started this blog. There have been some admirable achievements. There have been some spectacular flameouts. Much has been lost, but even more gained.

Kinnaird st 790 xxx
once upon a time

With time, we accumulate experience and, with any luck, a bit of wisdom. The grey hair, thickening waistline and diminishing collagen are offset by growing confidence, satisfaction and happiness. In honor of this millstone milestone, I’d like to share with you—in no particular order—some things I’ve learned so far that have kept me going, given me strength and guided me on this wondrous journey.

 

1. Do it now.

2. Cherish your loved ones.

3. Tell the truth, but with compassion.

4. Vulnerability does not equal weakness.

5. How you feel inside affects your outside.

6. Listen to your body.

7. Value loyalty and extend it to others.

8. Neither a borrower nor a lender be, but give it away if you can.

9. Take risks.

10. Decide what you want and go for it.

11. Let failure guide you forward.

12. Perfectionism is a lethal distraction.

13. Experiment—in the kitchen, in the bedroom, in life.

14. Relinquish control; it’s an illusion.

15. Develop your own style.

16. Be honest, especially with yourself.

17. Kind trumps clever.

18. Get outside.

19. Read a ton.

20. Live in the moment.

21. Embrace your flaws.

22. Learn to articulate your feelings.

23. Want what you have.

24. Stop comparing yourself to others.

25. Dare to be different.

26. Drive a stick, or at least know how.

27. Try new things.

28. Get in touch with your sensuality.

29. Work with your hands.

30. Cultivate interesting friendships.

31. Judge not.

32. It ain't about the benjamins.

33. Always do your best.

34. Eat adventurously, for health and pleasure.

35. Stay close to nature.

36. Travel widely.

37. Youth is a state of mind.

38. Release the past.

39. Be optimistic.

40. Build muscle.

41. Don’t take things personally.

42. Believe in yourself.

43. Cheese is a necessary indulgence.

44. Pursue joy.

45. Assumptions are dangerous.

46. Art is transporting.

47. Stand up to fear.

48. Wear sunscreen.

49. Never give up.

50. There is no way to happiness; happiness is the way.

Thanks to all of you from the bottom of my heart for your insights, support and love.

 
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62 Comments

I hope you have yourself a blissfilled birthday!!
Karen O on January 22, 2013 at 8:31 am — Reply
Thank you, Karen!
laura on January 22, 2013 at 5:52 pm — Reply
What a grand and glorious list by a similarly grand and glorious woman. Happy Birthday. Your list inspires me. And the way you live delights me. xoxoxo S
Suzi Banks Baum on January 22, 2013 at 9:01 am — Reply
Takes one to know one. xo
laura on January 22, 2013 at 5:52 pm — Reply
Ta daaaa!!! Let me be the first (in this spot anyway) to say how fabulous you are! Happy, happy birthday! Wise words (and a few to be studied extra diligently)
Lisa on January 22, 2013 at 9:10 am — Reply
Thank you, baby sis. xo
laura on January 22, 2013 at 5:52 pm — Reply
Happy Birthday beautiful! Did not realize it was the flirty one. I just turned sexty. It is helpful to switch the letters around a little. Thanks for the list and for all your gifts to us. Don't know what a benjamin is. so I have an advantage there I guess. Just watched this last night and found it wonderfully to the point. http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability.html Whole heartedness. Such a great description of the approach - and you have it by the bucket. xx- A
anne on January 22, 2013 at 9:16 am — Reply
"Benjamins" is slang for cash, baby. Short for Benjamin Franklin, who appears on the $100 bill. Look forward to checking out the TED talk and being flirty. xo
laura on January 22, 2013 at 5:55 pm — Reply
Life begins at 50. I didn't even hit the brakes, and clearly you aren't either. And may I just say, you look gorgeous. xox
Cathy on January 22, 2013 at 9:17 am — Reply
Thanks, Cathy. You inspire me!
laura on January 22, 2013 at 5:55 pm — Reply
profound and light both, so like you thanks for sharing
allison on January 22, 2013 at 10:39 am — Reply
Thank you, Allison! xo
laura on January 22, 2013 at 5:55 pm — Reply
beautiful!
Kristen on January 22, 2013 at 10:46 am — Reply
Thanks, Kristen - I enjoy crossing paths with you in the virtual world!
laura on January 22, 2013 at 5:56 pm — Reply
Well done on all counts! I am in love with your outlook on life. You are a true inspiration. Here's to fifty more years. xoj
Julia on January 22, 2013 at 11:08 am — Reply
It's been great connecting with you, Julia! xo
laura on January 22, 2013 at 5:56 pm — Reply
Inspired and inspiring, my dear friend, happy happy birthday xoxo
stephanie on January 22, 2013 at 11:11 am — Reply
Much love xoxo
laura on January 22, 2013 at 5:57 pm — Reply
Happiest Birthday wishes to you! It's wonderful to see you let your hair down physically and metaphorically. If we are lucky in our health I believe that 50 and beyond can be a great adventure! As your list shows there is wisdom and a new found sense of freedom from superfluous worries. Not to say there aren't real worries but with age comes perspective, ease and grace. And if you've been doing your yoga, flexibility and balance! oxox
Suzinn on January 22, 2013 at 1:02 pm — Reply
Ommmm...xoxo
laura on January 22, 2013 at 5:57 pm — Reply
Happy birthday girl from a 60 year old. Sage advice there.
Christine on January 22, 2013 at 4:42 pm — Reply
I hear 60 is now sexty!
laura on January 22, 2013 at 5:58 pm — Reply
Happy birthday, Laura! I hope you are eating even more adventurously today! btw, you look amazing. XO x 50!!
Jan on January 22, 2013 at 5:19 pm — Reply
I've already had chard bread and crispy duck skin! xoxo
laura on January 22, 2013 at 5:59 pm — Reply
LOVE THIS! YOU ARE SO BEAUTIFUL...THEN AND NOW! THANKS SO MUCH FOR YOUR BLOG!
SHERRY STEIN on January 22, 2013 at 6:05 pm — Reply
Thanks, Sherry! xo
laura on January 22, 2013 at 6:44 pm — Reply
I'm new to this blog and enjoy it very much. Happy Birthday to you! What a wonderfully rich life you've had, thanks for sharing it with us. BTW, I totally agree with # 43. Any kind will do :)
Margee on January 22, 2013 at 6:22 pm — Reply
Welcome, Margee, and thanks for the kind words!
laura on January 22, 2013 at 6:44 pm — Reply
What a list! You say it best: "Youth is a state of mind." Hope your 50's are the wonderful journey you wish for. Happy Birthday!
Ronnie on January 22, 2013 at 7:20 pm — Reply
Thanks, Ronnie! xo
laura on January 22, 2013 at 11:49 pm — Reply
Martinis and dancing go on there somewhere.... Congrats!!
Jon Sapers on January 22, 2013 at 7:31 pm — Reply
For sure—ideally in your company, Sapers!!
laura on January 22, 2013 at 11:50 pm — Reply
A very happy birthday to you, Laura. I say that in our 50's we're just getting warmed up. My next big one is 60, and as I reflect on my 50's (so far), it's been the best decade yet. Just keep being your vibrant self, enjoying life and all it offers.
The Wimpy Vegetarian on January 22, 2013 at 9:40 pm — Reply
Thanks, Susan, I'll give it my very best shot! xo
laura on January 22, 2013 at 11:51 pm — Reply
brilliant words to live by. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! XXOO
alberta on January 22, 2013 at 9:56 pm — Reply
Thanks, Alberta! xoxo
laura on January 22, 2013 at 11:51 pm — Reply
Happy, Happy Birthday Laura - LOVE reading your blog! You're just as gorgeous as ever!
Mary on January 22, 2013 at 10:46 pm — Reply
Big kiss to you, Mary! xo
laura on January 22, 2013 at 11:52 pm — Reply
gorgeous post and thanks for the wonderful inspiring list.....happy birthday and welcome to my side of town. xxxxooo
Rebecca Lown on January 22, 2013 at 11:35 pm — Reply
Thank you, Rebecca, it's nice to be here! xo
laura on January 22, 2013 at 11:52 pm — Reply
You were always my favorite model! You are as beautiful today as then, honestly! Happy birthday my lovely!
Nonny on January 23, 2013 at 12:40 am — Reply
Thank you, my eternal comrade in arms! xo
laura on January 23, 2013 at 7:54 am — Reply
Happy Birthday Laura (sorry I'm late.. :) ! I love your list! And today especially, I needed your list! I will read it over and over and over and over... What a kind gift you have given us on your own birthday. Thank you!
Prairie on January 23, 2013 at 2:08 am — Reply
Thank you, Prairie! xo
laura on January 23, 2013 at 7:54 am — Reply
Thank you for sharing your wisdom, humour and excellent brain with us. Your glowing face and sparkling eyes are true signs of a life well lived! I hope your day was beautiful and your year even more so!
Kristina on January 23, 2013 at 5:44 am — Reply
What a wonderful wish, Kristina!
laura on January 23, 2013 at 7:55 am — Reply
Happy Birthday and thanks for the list. Not usually a fan of such things, yours made me sit up and think. I was 50 in August and I've been thinking a lot, let me tell you, but nicely put and speaks volumes in wealth of experience and wisdom. Have a great day.
Melissa on January 23, 2013 at 7:29 am — Reply
Happy 50th, Melissa! Let's do this!
laura on January 23, 2013 at 7:55 am — Reply
Happy birthday Laura!! I hope I'll be able to put your advice in my life as successfully as I've put some of your spices in my pie !! : )
alwayshungry on January 23, 2013 at 10:58 am — Reply
Stay bright and don't rust, Happy Birthday
David Mackenzie on January 23, 2013 at 11:00 am — Reply
What a gorgeous picture; what a great post. Cheese is a necessary indulgence!
Margot on January 23, 2013 at 3:52 pm — Reply
As you well know, I have endeavored to ensure I have no online presence. No Facebook page. No public email address. No public commentary of any kind. As an avid reader of your blog, this has proven a challenge at times, particularly when I have so wanted to respond to your musings - whether your flights of memory about one of your culinary staples (such as that plum tart we used to gorge upon in your apartment above the porn theatre on 14th Street) or what I would consider inadequate reverence to a transcendent food encounter (such as the sliver of foie gras between paper-thin dark chocolate and sea salt at Blue Hill). With the occasion of your 50th, however, I cannot remain silent. So, my dear, I hearby wish you a very public happy birthday. Congratulations. As you note, it is both inconceivable and a milestone. Growing up, whenever I would declare my desire to be older ("If I was only in high school, ...." "If I was 18, ...." and the like), my father would invariably respond, "Don't wish your life away." I never listened, let alone paused to consider what he was saying. Now, in fullblown middleage, I often (finally) consider his admonition and understand his sage advice that one should not wish away (or fail to fully experience) any day one is lucky enough to be alive. After knowing you for many many decades, I can assuredly say you have done just that. You are right; you have lived. And that is why I publicly congratulate you here. It is a notable and admirable feat. That is also why I have sent you a red maple to plant on your property as a gift and commemoration of your 50 years. When considering a gift for you, I knew right away that I wanted to send you a tree. To me, it seemed obvious and apt. I then did some research on the symbolism associated with the various trees I considered. In so doing, I discovered the red maple represents an independent mind. It is considered symbolic of someone who is no ordinary person, full of imagination and originality, shy and reserved, ambitious, proud, self-confident, one who hungers for new experiences, is sometimes nervous, has many complexities, possesses a good memory, learns easily, has a complicated love life, and wants to impress. So, I knew the red maple was the tree for you. I hope it finds a cherished spot on your property and you have the good fortune to look upon it for decades to come and recall with satisfaction and humor your first 50 years. Happy Birthday.
M on January 24, 2013 at 3:40 am — Reply
Speechless with delight! So glad you came out of the shadows for this one. xo
laura on January 24, 2013 at 11:43 am — Reply
Like the mysterious "M," above, although I am in some sense a "public" person, I too have virtually no virtual presencia: no CaraBobo, no Tweeter, no blogging. I've already privately sent you birthday wishes y regalitos, pero my colega called up your blog on his phone last night, en un bar, and the foto was so lovely (congrats, Geo!) I wanted to take a closer look. And then, of course, found myself seduced by both your short, inspiring ensayo and your list (and I don't "do" lists, usually!). I was moved to tears by many things from your 50th-cumple postings (o como se diga): the foto, what you wrote, the many clever comentarios and warm good wishes from your friends and fans. Most of all, perhaps, by the breathtakingly beautiful tribute by "M." Very proud of you. Rock on, Wiggles! Love, Mantisse
Hambrienta on January 24, 2013 at 6:25 pm — Reply
Late but willing! Happy 50th, lovely lady. Thank you for the gift of yourself.
Susan on January 24, 2013 at 11:30 am — Reply
Thanks, Susan! Been loving your eye on Pinterest...
laura on January 24, 2013 at 4:10 pm — Reply
That was incredibly awesome. I'm stealing your list. Hope you had a fab birthday, Laura.
Liz on January 25, 2013 at 2:03 pm — Reply
Liz, the list is free, do with it what you will! xo
laura on January 25, 2013 at 6:54 pm — Reply
You definitely have a lot of friends!! I enjoyed reading your long list. And I remember your strong inner power and your determination. Happy next 50!!
Pepe (jose) on January 30, 2013 at 2:59 am — Reply
Gracias, Jose. Tu eras una parte muy importante de mi desarrollo. ¡Ojalá que no sea ya tan "tajante"!
laura on January 30, 2013 at 9:49 am — Reply
Really love all you have to say here about turning 50.. ....feel like I've found an inspiring soul sister... thanks for getting in touch on my blog do keep posting on yours!
Kristin Perers on April 4, 2013 at 6:02 am — Reply
So glad you stopped by! Love your blog.
laura on April 4, 2013 at 7:37 am — Reply