50 lessons on life & disability

For the past year I’ve been talking at nauseam about turning 50. I’m not sure if it’s because the number seems so unreal to me that I need the constant reminder, or if by saying it out-loud I’m hoping others will respond with shock & amazement & give me the, “Really? You don’t look it!” obligatory compliment I’m clearly seeking. Probably both.

I know, “50 is the new 30”. “Age is just a number”… blah blah blah. I wish that at 50 I could tell you (and myself) that I am wise, no longer superficial, & above all of the BS and labels society bestows on aging women & especially aging women with disabilities, but well… not so much.

I wish I could say that after losing both my parents unexpectedly & living for 50 years with a progressive neuromuscular disorder that slowly nips away at my independence & everyday abilities, that I’ve evolved & wake up feeling grateful each day for everything I do have. Hmmm, sometimes.

The truth is that life is hard and doesn’t get any easier. It’s the knowledge & acceptance of this fact, in combination with one’s ability to adapt & work through life’s inevitable challenges, that comes easier with years of practice.

So, in honor of my upcoming birthday, here are 50 lessons I’ve learned about life, being a woman, and living with a disability.

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    • Don’t take things personally – It’s never about you.

    • Spend time with people who accept you and others. Those mean girls who didn’t let you sit with them in the lunchroom are likely replaced by bitter old women who don’t invite others to play in their mahjong games at the retirement center.

    • You can never have too many reading glasses.

    • The VIP skip to the front of the line pass is usually worth it.

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    • Most men prefer curvy over skinny & don’t notice cellulite. Stop obsessing!

    • Asking for help is a sign of strength never weakness.

    • Your thoughts are only thoughts not facts. Question and challenge the negative ones.

    • Botox works. Start early and you’ll need it less.

    • Everyone has something! It’s how we deal with our somethings that matters most.

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    • People who regularly post about how great their spouses & lives are, are usually miserable.

    • When your older teen says he’s “going to the park”, he’s probably going to smoke weed.

    • Everyone isn’t staring at you or even noticing your imperfections, they’re thinking about their own stuff, or what they’re gonna eat for dinner.

    • If the shoe fits, buy 10 pairs.

    • Everything is “Figureoutable” (credit to Marie Forleo). Be creative and look for alternative routes.

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    • Your worth is not defined by a number on the scale. Give yourself a range.

    • Tell and show people you appreciate them. This is the secret to a happy relationship.

    • Give other women compliments, it makes them feel good & takes nothing away from you.

    • Show legs or boobs – never both at the same time.

    • As bad as it seems today, tomorrow is always better.

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    • Nobody has extra time—you make room in your life for what is important.

    • To be encouraged look at how far you’ve come; to be discouraged look at how far you have to go.

    • If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.

    • Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

    • Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.

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    • Envy is a waste of time.

    • You already have all you need.

    • Wear sunscreen always, A tan isn’t worth age spots or Cancer.

    • Take a deep breath. It calms the mind and is not just for Yogis.

    • If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

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    • Don’t ask, “Why me?” Ask, “Why not me?” Nobody is exempt from the challenges of life. It’s how you deal with those challenges that matters.

    • Never get on the scale after eating Chinese Food.

    • No matter how much organic kale you eat, you will eventually die. So, drink & enjoy a Diet Coke (in moderation) if you want to.

    • Things are never just black or white. Look for the gray.

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    • Your disability is not an excuse. Don’t let it be.

    • Sexy is a state of mind, not the clothes or makeup you wear.

    • Exercise even when you don’t want to. You will feel great when it’s over.

    • Take feedback only from those who have earned the right to give it to you.

    • Take out the trash. Make your bed. Do the dishes. Pick up the things. Do your homework. Do what you say you’re gonna do. Discipline will give you immense freedom and comfort.

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    • You can choose to silence or leave a group text.

    • When you get tired, learn to rest – not to quit.

    • When you hear the word “should” in your head, question it… always.

    • When we speak openly about our challenges it gives others the courage to do the same.

    • Your marriage will not be a fairy tale, nor will any other relationship you have. Caring for others (and yourself) will always be hard but worthy work.

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    • You have to be your own advocate.

    • No matter what life throws at you, get up, get dressed, & get going.

    • You really can’t party like you used to. Don’t try.

    • If you always focus on what you’ve lost, you will lose sight of what you have.

    • You don’t have to finish a book (or anything) you don’t like.

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    • Start living your bucket list today because anything can happen tomorrow, even a worldwide pandemic!

32 Comments

    • Such a great list. Isnt it nice that we do gain some wisdom as we age. Seriously, you look 30! And I really agree with if you find a great pair of shoes by 10. I’ve mistakenly bought only two and have now tried to go back and they no longer exist 🙁

      • Hi Katie, omg I know about the great pair of shoes being discontinued & the regret. Ugh! I’ve been searching for the same pair on EBay for 5 years 😂. Thank you for the sweet words. 💜

  1. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! Your posts always bring a smile to my face as well as giving me great tips. The two that really resonated with me were “if the shoe fits, buy 10 pairs” – so, so true! (when I finally decided that I did not have to have all different shoes it was so much better) and “Asking for help is a sign of strength, never weakness.” When I finally got over being stubborn and admitted that I needed some help life became easier, better and the people around me were happy to help.

    I am sure your upbeat, positive attitude will carry you through many happy years!

    • Hi Deb,

      Thanks so much for your awesome comment! It took a long time for me to be able to ask for help too. I truly appreciate you taking the time to read & comment .

  2. Happy Birthday, gorgeous! If this is what 50 looks like, sign me up. Thanks for everything you do for this community. You are a ray of sunshine and I’m so happy to know you virtually!

    xo
    Ardra

  3. Happy Birthday! I’m 55 and this is a great list. And as someone who just picked up a 2-pack of reading glasses at Marshalls this weekend, I laughed out loud at that one!

  4. Lainie- this is really special. Thank you so much for taking the time to write and share this. The whole reason I found you and TREND-Able is because I gave myself permission to “ask for help” and it paid off in droves. Sometimes I still forget or hesitate so thank you for this reminder as well as many others.

    I am still in so much awe of the community you created and the inspiration you have provided to so many people. I hope on your birthday (which is the same as my son’s!) you feel the love and admiration from everyone around you both physically and virtually.

    By the way, I think my teenager may be going to that very same park.

    • 😂 What a fabulous comment to read! It’s definitely the mutual admiration society as I’m a big fan of yours as you know. Happy birthday to your park visiting son.

  5. Happy 50th!! Love the list….especially #50.
    this year we need to do something on our bucket list for sure cause you just never know… love your blog…so “inspiring”!! btw…you do NOT look 50!!

  6. Happy Birthday! Loved reading this – lots of wisdom, and lots of humor, too. I was nodding my head in agreement and laughing at the same time. I’m hoping you’ll do a similar post on your 51st birthday!

  7. Happy birthday Lainie!! I love your tips of wisdom!! They are all great and thought provoking! But The ones that really hit home for me were…people have to earn the right to give you feedback (speaks volumes) and be your own advocate. After reading several of your blogs I learned that I can ask for braces that fit better, and more than one pair! I told my orthotist that we could either become great friends through my journey, or I could just bug him until we both got tired of it and I would go find someone else who would work with me. My latest request is for “cool brace skins” or coverings that I can change out to add flare or color….he looked at me like I’m nuts. Lol. It is interesting that some of those who help us get our braces expect us to just wear tennis shoes and boring braces…like we have to stay traditional ! Lol. Thank you for the ideas you post that inspire courage to still be ourselves…braces or not….bring on the leopard print! 😀

  8. Happy Birthday Beautiful Inspirational Lainie !! I loved, and laughed, through many of the above. One of the reasons I love your writings so much is that you are just so honest. You have guided me through so much in the last few years. From buying my first jumpsuit, which I love and have since ordered a few more to pushing myself a little harder. If the “little harder” is an epic fail well at least I tried and it’s O.K. to then go have a nap!! You taught me that as well. You look amazing and your spirit shines through. Even on days you don’t feel like it does, you are greatly loved. So celebrate in whatever way YOU see fit, after all it’s your day!!

    • I love your pearls of wisdom. At 70 I am realizing that not only it doesn’t get easier, it gets harder! So do what you can to have fun and keep active, pat yourself on the back for doing so, ask for help when you need it, and thank people. People are wonderful and love to help and smile like crazy when you thank them!! We all have struggles and the way through them is to support each other, like you do! Happy 50th!

    • Kimie, You Rock! You always say the kindest things & it’s your positivity & support that keeps me writing 😀. If you get a chance, will you copy & paste this fab review on my Page review area? Thank you soooooo much for being you. 💜

      • Of course I will….just tell me where <3 On your FB page or here (where I can't find a place to leave a review :/ ) See that's what getting older does to you !! Love you Lainie and you have changed my life in ways you will never know (now when I get a package and it's something for me, shoes or clothes, my husband looks at me with a smile and says, "Lainie?". Meaning you've been reading her blog!!)

  9. Amazing! Wow, you teach me something every day. What a list! We are all so lucky to have a little Lainie in our lives! 💗💗💗. Happy birthday! 🥳

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