I once heard someone describe age like a video game wherein the more “life” you have left the longer you get to play and the more points you have. So I started describing myself to my daughters as the winner in the age race.  

The way they roll their eyes at me tells me they don’t get it. That’s okay. I do.

At age 40 I felt the most confident I had ever felt in my life. I was in Act 2 of adulthood – newly divorced, entering a new career, owning a home by myself and looking for furniture in other people’s garbage because I had no money. (True story.) At 50, I finally had a bathroom to myself after 20 years of sharing space with two daughters and two dogs. (I gave myself permission to not feel guilty for that luxury.)  More importantly, I finally had time again for real friends — girl friends with whom I shared common interests beyond our children. I could read a book in a few days instead of a few months. And I had dinner at home instead of fast food in the car on the way to someone’s volleyball or basketball game or dance class. 

Okay – so, honestly, it was an adjustment having this time to myself. 

I had to adapt. 

I became what I thought was the oldest living person in a Barre3 class. I listened to my daughter, the fitness geek, and started cooking and eating healthier. With the added energy I had, I bought a bike and started bike riding again. I realized I was free to  just take off and go to meet a friend in the city. (I just didn’t count on my daughters putting out APBs to locate me.) 

And I started hanging out at bars. To clarify – I went to bars where my oldest daughter was playing and found a new group of friends that loved music as much as I did. I gave more time to my second act relationship with a wonderful man and we grew a circle of friends. 

Meanwhile – you’ll find this surprising – my ex-husband and I had formed a solid relationship by raising our daughters together while divorced and we were all able to go on vacation together – me, my ex-husband, my new boyfriend, our children and their significant others and our grandson. 

Maturity. I didn’t know what it meant until I “grew up”. Knowing what matters and what doesn’t matter. Knowing life is too short to hold a grudge. Letting go of mistakes and overlooking scars. Learning something new every single day. And not being afraid to fail. 

I know there’s a third act right around the corner. Yesterday I was out at a bar with my oldest daughter again. The bartender looked at my daughter as she introduced me and said, “That’s your mom?? I thought it was a friend.” 

Yes ma’am, that’s me.