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Things I Haven’t Learned in 50 Years


I turn fifty today. Happy birthday to me! I’ve never been one to think much about my age – as my father says, getting older is better than the alternative, and I’m too busy to think about it anyway, but a milestone deserves some reflection.

At heart, I’m the same person I was when I was six. I hated heights, loved animals, had a quick temper and a curious turn of mind then, and I still do. I was a reader and writer then, and I’m a reader and writer now. We learn control, but the core doesn’t change. Time teaches – after all, doing the same thing over and over and expecting the same result is the definition of stupidity – but what haven’t I learned in fifty years?

I haven’t learned to give in. If you look up Taurus in an astrological book, my picture should be there. Just ask my parents and my partner how stubborn I am. The funny thing is, Everett is a Taurus, too, and he’s just as stubborn. Sometimes when we butt heads we end up laughing because it’s really ridiculous how pig-headed we both can be, but I’ve come to think of this as a good quality. Stubbornness equals determination.

I haven’t learned patience. In small things and large, I’m an impatient person. I want what I want and I want it now. The challenge is to channel my impatience toward motivation instead of frustration.

I haven’t learned to dissemble. With me, what you see is what you get. Which may not always be smart in a given situation, but it simplifies life in the long run.

I haven’t learned boredom. I have never been able to understand how anyone can be bored for any length of time in this world, and I never will. I only wish there were more hours in a day to read all the books I’d like to read and write the ones I’d like to write and learn the songs I’d like to play and…and…and.

I haven’t learned true cynicism. At heart I still agree with George Bernard Shaw: life is never easy, but it can be delightful.

Which isn’t a bad place to be after fifty years.


  1. Bev Pettersen
    April 24, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    Happy Birthday, Jennie. You’re just a puppy:) And Taurus is a lovely sign–stubbornness can be a good thing. Wishing you another 50 years of fun and accomplishment.

  2. Annette Gallant
    April 24, 2012 at 11:56 pm

    Happy Birthday, Jennie! I loved your post. 🙂