"One of the nice things about growing older is...": 25 Things I've Learned in my 25 Years

August 8, 2014

 

It seemed only fitting to begin today’s blog with a Barbra Streisand quote in light of the fact that she, the queen, the be all end all, the top, the LEGEND, just yesterday joined the world of Instagram.  Yes.  She did.  It’s real.  And you’re welcome.  She actually posted this picture of cupcakes today with the caption "not on my diet and too pretty to eat"… it’s like she knew.  She always knows.  You see it is the eve of my Silver Anniversary.  I’m celebrating 25 years of being in a committed relationship with hot rollers… 25 years of spin dresses and hair bows… 25 years of singing and dancing through life… 25 years of being a displaced debutante.

 

Tomorrow is my 25th birthday.

 

This is good news.  You see I’ve been old my whole life.  Seriously!  I have terrible, terrible knees.  I have an ulcer in my stomach that flares when I’m stressed.  I say things like “heavens to Betsey” in my everyday speech.  Do I sound like your grandmother yet?

 

Regardless, each year I get older I’m a year closer to my prime.  See I'm going to be SO GOOD at being in my 30's.  When you’re in your 30’s, you are commended for having your shit together.  You are commended for being responsible and having a moral compass.  And in your 30’s, those men who weren’t ready to commit in their 20’s will finally be ready to treat you the way you deserve to be treated.  And then by my 40's I'll most likely be my absolute best self, like a fine wine getting better with age, and playing Mame at every regional theater in Florida.  But this whole being in my 20's thing… this “figuring it all out” and “making mistakes”… “taking chances” and “saying yes to everything”… I'm kind of terrible at it.   I like plans, I like security, I like health insurance, and I like commitment from the people I hope to love.  And I know that’s all waiting for me, I just have to get there, and somehow being 25 already feels a lot closer to it than 24 did.

 

 

 So many women I know dread getting older.  I mean the lines that are cropping up on my forehead from 24 years of pulling my face around on stage aren’t ideal… but hey, my mother hooked me up with some serum and I’ve started using it so I’m fairly certain I’ll live to schmact another day.  Other than that bit though I look forward to it.  I know that those years are going to be the best years of my life.  ​​I’m with Susan Sarandon on this one: “What you look like become less and less an issue and who is are is the point”.  I love that.  Barbra speaks to this in her quote I referenced earlier… It’s from her 94 Concert just after she sings “The Man That Got Away” and right before she goes into “On a Clear Day…”.  When other little girls were watching Nickelodeon I was watching “Barbra: The Concert” on LaserDisc.  See?  I’m 80 years old.  ANYWAY… here is the monologue – it’s much more delicious if you imagine it in her voice:

 

“One of the nice things about growing older is realizing that you can survive life's disappointments, and you also realize that you cannot look to someone else for your happiness.  Of course it screws up the songs you can't sing.  You can't sing those dependent victim songs anymore with the same conviction, you know.  For example, you can't sing: "I can be happy/I can be sad/I can be good/Or I can be bad/It all depends on YOU?” Can't do that, no, no.  Another nice thing about growing older is that you finally begin to appreciate yourself flaws and all.”

 

… and then she goes on to introduce “On a Clear Day…” and I sigh a sigh heard round the world.  But she nailed it.  I mean, that’s the whole point isn’t it?  That’s the end game.  Finally beginning to “appreciate yourself flaws and all”.   Amen, Babs.  Amen.

 

So I’ve complied a list of "25 things I’ve learned in my 25 years" on this earth striving to appreciate and love myself and those around me the way we all deserve to be appreciated and loved.  And in those moments when I’m not succeeding too well in that department, I turn to the things on this list for comfort.  They are things that I know, and things that I believe in my heart to be true.  I hope they resonate with you as well.

  1. First and foremost… “We’re all just doing the best we can”.

  2. Happiness is not found at the bottom of a bag of Tate's Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies... But it's pretty damn close.

  3. Happiness is not found at the bottom of a pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream… But it’s also pretty damn close.

  4. Losing weight is possible.  It’s hard as hell and it totally sucks (see 2 & 3)… but it’s possible.  Just remember that numbers don’t define you.  Still working on that myself.

  5. Sometimes you look around and think that your life is in shambles, but really your room is just messy.   Make your bed every day.  You’ll feel surprisingly productive and super grown up.

  6. Some days call for stretchy pants and Netflix.  And that’s okay.

  7. On the other days, it’s important to get dressed.  Put on real pants.  Pick an outfit that you love.  You’ll be surprised how much better you feel going about your day when you feel good about how you look doing it.

  8. Make eye contact with people when you speak to them, even and especially if you don’t know them.  It may feel uncomfortable at first but you’ll get used to it.  We’re all humans and we all deserve this courtesy from one another.

  9. When Kathie Lee pours you more wine and says "drink"... You drink.

  10. Sometimes there is absolutely nothing worse than a Chorus Call full of musical theater girls.  And sometimes there is absolutely nothing better than having a great audition.

  11. You should take a moment to breathe to your fullest capacity at least once a day.

  12. Taking yourself to dinner and a movie can be incredibly gratifying.  Try it.  If people stare I promise they aren’t staring at you thinking how tragically alone you must be… they are staring at you thinking how comfortable you must be with yourself to be out on your own, and wishing they were that comfortable too.

  13. Keeping a journal is very important.  Even if you worry that you don’t have anything to say.  There is always something to say.

  14. Telling time with a proper watch is far superior to checking the time on your phone.

  15. Never underestimate the power of a good playlist.

  16. Few things are as important in life as building a home.  Be it a house, an apartment, or just a room.  Everyone needs a space that is his or her own.  A space that you walk into at the end of the day and feel safe and comfortable in.  A space that you walk into and say, “this is mine” or “ours” if you live with a partner.  Build yourself a haven and fill it with things that you love.

  17. Lucky pennies should always be picked up.

  18. You’re never too old to be a Disney fan.  And anyone who says differently can address me personally via the “Contact” page.

  19. Hand written thank you notes are by far better than thank you emails.  If you don’t have stationary I encourage you also to address me personally via the “Contact” page – you actually can’t imagine how much I’d enjoy going to Paper Source and taking care of that for you.  Seriously.  Hi my name is Mary Lane and I’m a stationary addict.

  20. Read.  Read all the time.  Read everything.

  21. Christmas is and always will be a magical time of year.

  22. Good things happen to bad people, and bad things happen to good people.  You have to be ready to take it all as it comes, and know that “what is meant to be already is.”

  23. Friends are very special.  Family loves you because they’re your family… they have to… but friends, friends love you because they WANT to.  Treasure that love and treasure them.

  24. Even though your family is obligated to love you no matter what… it’s a love like no other.  Treasure that love too, and treasure them above all.  Read: Call your mother.

  25. As Barbra said… “You cannot look to someone else for your happiness”.  Your happiness is your own, and should only be enhanced by the people around you instead of reliant upon them.  That’s what true love is – loving and respecting someone else because they enhance the love and respect you have for yourself.

At this last I want to thank you all for being on this journey with me.  Your support and positive reinforcement has sent me into this new birth year with a renewed purpose that a few months ago I would have never dreamed of having.  There are a lot of exciting things on the horizon that I can’t wait to share with you, but first… let’s eat cake.  I demand you all eat cake tomorrow… it’s bad luck not to!

 

With Grace and Good Humor,

 

 

 

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My name is Mary Lane Haskell and my two "claims to fame" are that I have Dolly Parton's fax number and that Reese Witherspoon once liked a post on my Instagram.  I am an actor, a writer, and a profound Chipotle enthusiast making my way in Los Angeles while trying to stay true to my family's southern roots, all with grace and a touch a good humor.  I'm so glad you're here!

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