Holy guacamole, guys – I’m FIFTY! How the heck did that happen? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not bothered by the number. I’m just wondering if I missed a few years in there because I don’t quite recall that many trips around the sun.
FIFTY YEARS. What the heck have I learned in all that time? Am I where I expected to be? (Confession: that’s a trick question because I’m pretty sure I had absolutely no specific expectations of this age).
Well, whether I had plans or not, I’m here. At this place and point in time. And here’s what I’ve figured out so far:
* I AM GRATEFUL. As an elderly man said to me once when I asked how he was doing: “I’m still on this side of the daisies, so I’m doing great!” Amen. My mother’s mother died of breast cancer at 44, my mother’s younger sister died of a brain tumor at 43, my mother was diagnosed with bladder cancer at 44 and died at 64. I do not take this life for granted. Not. One. Year. Week. Or. Day. Of. It.
* I feel good! Okay, not every second; these knees have a half-century of wear, after all and I can’t knock’em back like I used to. (Just kidding – I’ve always been a lightweight and an occasional glass of 🍷 is more then enough for me). But overall I feel healthy, physically, emotionally, mentally. I’m taking care of myself with diet (have I mentioned fasting?), exercise – I LOVE weight lifting – and healthy relationships. I have come to terms with who I am and I find that I like that person. I can honestly say that I’m happy and content with my life (and BTW, those are two different things – another bit of 50-yr-old wisdom).
* I am blessed to have wonderful people in my life. My children, whose exceptional lives are distinct and independent but intimately intertwined with mine (although less so everyday, as it should be). My husband, who volunteered for this adventure 18 years ago and seems to still be pretty happy with what he got himself into (whew!) My 82-year-old father, who taught me so much about embracing life fully, no matter what it throws at you.My brother who, no matter what happens, will always be OLDER than me 😜 (and wiser, but don’t tell him I said that). Family and friends both near and far, IRL and online, who are generous enough to share their time, insights, and affection with me. If the quality of the people in my life is any indication of the quality OF my life – and I believe it is – then life is good indeed.
* I have purpose. That’s different from stuff to do (although there is overlap). I can’t always articulate exactly what my goals are day-to-day – they change all the time and range from the grand to the mundane – but my life is full of meaning and I look forward to getting up each morning. Not bad!
* I feel a sense of possibility and potential. There is so much more to do, to learn, to experience, to see! I used to lament the things I didn’t do when I was younger, but I’ve come to realize that there’s still time to have the life I’ve always wanted (well more of it, since I’ve got a lot already). I’m beginning to see the light at the end of the child-rearing tunnel and I’m happy to say it’s not an oncoming train. If this is truly “middle age” or “midlife”, then I have even MORE adult life ahead of me than behind me – and many more opportunities for adventure!
Yes, I’ve reached the top of the hill, maybe I’m even “over the hill”, but I can see a lot farther from her and believe me, the view is spectacular.