on being 50

I’m turning 50 later this week. People who know this seem to be approaching me cautiously wondering how I’m “taking it.”

I’m taking it like the par-tay that it is. Like, I’m not getting senior discounts yet, but I know that life is short and that, in so many ways, I’m a lucky woman.

I really am kind of elated about turning 50. About entering a whole new decade. It sort of feels like I’ve been given a new set of keys that open the gate to some magical garden I’ve not yet entered. I’m incredibly intrigued by growing older. By the invitation to focus less on what I want and more on who I want to be as I move into my second life and embrace the wild unknown. I have a renewed opportunity to follow the thread of my truest life.

I don’t expect to suddenly start spending a lot of time worrying about my skin or my weight. Or to stop eating cookies for breakfast sometimes. Or to pretend that I never inhaled. But I do expect to focus more on what I do — on what I put my hands on in the world.

After reading through some old journals I found under the bed last night – because I still cram stuff under there like a 12-year-old girl – I realize that I have come a long, damn way over the years. But, at 50, I still want (and need) to put the blinders on more often to those things that conspire to hold me back. Especially the ones in my head.

As there begins to be less time ahead of me than behind me, I can see how life has become much more about being exactly who I am — without constantly trying to make that comfortable for everyone else. I live much more from the inside out these days, if that makes any sense. It feels good to really live in the place that you are.

I’ve found my own way, as I think we all do. And I have my own rules and my own understanding of myself. These days, it’s become about what feels right to me. Not about what my mother told me. Or what society tells me still. But about the still, small voice in me.

I want to be better at rejecting hopelessness than I have been at times this past year. It gets you no place. And offers no horizon. Without hope for change – hope for a better future and a more just future – we don’t need people like Trump to lay waste to our world. We’ll accomplish that all by ourselves.

I’m going to keep on finding hope in the smallest good things, the kindness of strangers, the generosity of spirit I see all around me, still, even as I also recognize and use my own privilege to hold to account the ugliness, racism, greed, and lies. It’s the feeling of powerlessness that leads to despair about what’s going on in the world today. I know it’s harder to feel despair, when you’re doing something to help change it. And, I hope to help change it in some small way. Maybe not by saying what we can all say, but by more often saying what we feel we can’t.

I really just want to embrace getting older. When you’ve lost a lot of precious people along the way, you realize how much of a gift each day is. It’s taught me that loss can crush a person and paralyze her. Or, it can light a fire within. For me, I choose to keep my small but steady inner flame alive and glowing. And to use it to tackle the inferno.

It has taken me 50 years to know that life is a process of sorting out all those early messages you get. No one understands as children that our parents still had work to do on themselves. I’ve chosen to carry the best of mine forward and to lay the rest down. And I hope, over this next decade, I can help our kids to do the same. We were not perfect. And that’s okay.

As I hit my 50s, I hope I can really live into the fullness of who I was created to be. I know I’m blessed to have the full support of a partner who wants nothing less for me – which is an immeasurable gift.

None of us can confidently say that we’ll be living tomorrow. So, I’m just going to try to gather in as much of this life as I can, and have faith that it will all get me to where I need to be. Over this next decade, I think I’ll just plan to pet all the dogs and have an all-out, full-blown, spectacular love affair with the woman I’ve become.

I’ve waited 50 years for her.

1 thought on “on being 50”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s