My badass friend Kay Hanley—songwriter, mother, blogger, activist and lead singer of the band Letters To Cleo, turned 50 years young this week and we celebrated her last night.
My younger followers may think that number is terrifying. I promise them it’s not. Even though the blip on ones lifeline may shift eerily to the right as we move through our journey, life itself can be liberating. Personally, I may not be sure what day of the week it is when I wake up in the morning, or where I left my keys, glasses, wallet, phone, but maturity brings clarity in other ways.
For instance, I know what I like and what I don’t like. I know what kind of glass I want my martini delivered in — those coupes are for sissies. (I want a ‘triangle’ on a stem. The shape of a glass alters the experience.)
Also? Don’t bring my salad before my cocktail. Don’t bring my entree before I finish my salad. Clear my plate before you bring my next course. Serve from the left. Clear from the right. I was a waitress for a long time and I know how it should be done. I’m a generous tipper if you get it right. So just get it right.
Birthday cake was front and center. Kay’s hubby Clay asked if it was Ok to announce her age. (There was a big 50 on top of the cake so I don’t know how he thought we wouldn’t know.) Kay didn’t give a shit. I asked her if it was Ok to write this blog. She was like fuck yeah.
Which reminds me…please don’t tell me how great I look for my age when I tell you what that number is (hint…I assured Kay it only gets better), and please don’t suggest that my daughter could be my sister. The former is transparent flattery and the latter is simply a lie and you know it.
More: PLEASE don’t ask if you can pick my brain — the visual alone is disturbing. And don’t ask if you can ask me a quick question. No “quick question” is ever quick. Just ask it.
See? I used to be afraid to tell you what I wanted. I thought I didn’t deserve it. Or that you would think I was a bitch. In hindsight, being a “Bitch” opened up a lot of doors for me. Just say what you need. And ask nicely. (The first time at least.)
I know myself better now that I’m a grownup. I guess we finally do get more comfortable in our collagen-challenged skin, even if our knees hurt. Life gets one day shorter every day so take nothing for granted. In fact, it occurred to me, while writing this, that I’ve never actually hung out with Kay outside of the war room of SONA (Songwriters of North America), in which she’s a dedicated co-leader (along with Michelle Lewis) and operates with humor, perspective, panache and a smile.
Let’s do it, Kay! Let’s hang out! Let’s go to dinner and boss around the waiters. And I’m gonna come see Letters To Cleo in LA on Nov 9th. I’ve never ever seen the band! WHAT? It’s in my iCal already. I’m excited!
In fact I’m excited about a lot of things: my upcoming Miami Living Room Live session hosted by Eileen, who I’ve been friends with since I was 3 years old. THREE! I’m excited about that same spice rubbed turkey I’ve made for Thanksgiving for the past 15 years, a ride I’ll take today with the top down because I finally got the effing roof fixed, cleaning out my closet. I fantasize about winning a GRAMMY some day and being worthy of a TED Talk. I’m looking forward to speaking this week at USC’s Pop Music Friday and showing those college kids that even though the struggle is real and the journey is challenging, is about the struggle and journey! I’m eager to write this blog. To finish that song.
Age is relative. I have friends who are 70 who are younger than others who are 40. They never lose their sense of wonder, curiosity and the capacity to be inspired. Their imaginations are alive and well. They’ll be young forever, at least at heart. I want to be one of them. Like Kay.
So Happy Birthday Kay Hanley!!