This I Believe

Maureen - Pasadena, California
Entered on April 17, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.


I will turn 50 years old this year. There are no clever bon mots about the age of 50. 50 is not the new 40. 50 is beyond middle age, since the majority of us will not reach the age of 100. At 50 I will be eligible to join both the National Association of Retired Persons and the Red Hat Society, although I’ll never have enough money to retire and I look really, really bad in hats. I also dislike asking for separate checks at lunch.

In looking back at my almost 50 years, I have observed the following:

1 That I’ve made a lot of mistakes.

2 That the words “I’m sorry; I was wrong” can melt the angriest heart.

3 That I never appreciated how pretty I was in my 20s, 30s and even 40s;

4 That no man under 60 will ever jump to his feet to assist me just because of the way I look.

5 That I don’t have to spend time with anyone who makes me uncomfortable or causes me to feel bad about myself, no matter who they are;

6 That there are a surprising number of people who will try to make you uncomfortable or feel bad about yourself;

7 That I can make people laugh;

8 That people without a sense of humor are not worth your time;

9 That I would read absolutely anything written by Anne Lamott, including her grocery lists or tax returns.

10 That I wish I could always adhere to the advice of treating everyone as though they were wearing an invisible sign saying “Make Me Feel Important”;

11 That my negative, doom saying , glass-half-empty parents were wrong; sometimes dreams do come true;

12 That my husband and child are living proof of that;

13 That I live in fear that one of these days I will give in to my uncontrollable urge to slap the cell phone or Blue Tooth right off of someone’s head while screaming “you’re not that important.”

14 That I will probably never, ever find out why my cousin Julie stopped speaking to me when we were 17.

15 That I will always love the Beatles;

16 That I miss my late brother Mike more than I could possibly have imagined.

17 That I will probably never be a pithy intellectual involved in social discourse regarding global warming or Fellini films. A former boyfriend and I once met a couple who boasted that they had spent the previous evening watching the epic Kurosawa film “Rashomon” My boyfriend and I were then forced to admit that we had spent the previous evening watching . . . Ernest Saves Christmas.

18 That since Hurricane Katrina, my hometown of New Orleans will never be the same; and that makes me sad.

19 That I know a woman who got a tattoo at age 71; I would like to do that;

20 That, although I am somewhat embarrassed to admit this, if I were ever a participant in one of those “make a wish” type organizations, one of my first wishes would be to be photographed by Annie Leibovitz. Does that make me shallow?

I hope Annie likes my tattoo.