So, today I am 50-years-old. 50. It’s one of those weird things that you think will never happen to you. Even though it happens to other people, even your friends, even the people you went to school with. It’s so bizarre. I thought I was going to bring it in with a party - a big bang-up WAHOOO! But no, life and my mood weren’t up for that. Instead, it was a quiet day, a quiet week, really, of being around good friends, enjoying the heck out of this circumstance of life that I find myself in. I did something new - a workshop to learn a new skill. No one there knew it was my birthday. I walked to the other side of town. No one there knew it was my birthday. It was my secret, and a biggie. But back at the studio, they knew it was my birthday. They sang for me! All these 20/30-somethings. They even signed a group card for me! I was so flattered, humbled, and mildly embarrassed. Such a silly thing, really. Stan is cooking for me tonight. There are not enormous gifts or balloons. Just lovely flowers, music, and home-made paella. Lovely. Exactly what I’m in the mood for.
So where do I find myself at this milestone? Life isn’t perfect - I don’t share the imperfect stuff but trust me, there’s plenty of it. But, life is also pretty amazing. I have achieved my MFA before turning 50-just under the wire! I published my first novel before turning 50. I finally managed to live in Europe before turning 50. I'm even under contract with a writer I am so honored to be working with. Truly, I’ve reached all the goals I set for myself, by the time I wanted to achieve them. So... what about tomorrow?
I always knew that one of my greatest gifts was knowing what I want in life. So many people go through life never figuring that out. But truly, it changes everything, because when you know what you want, you make tiny little direction shifts and decisions every day, every minute, that may not seem obvious, but put you on that path to where you want to be. So what about when you just want more of the same? Is that okay? Is it okay to not exactly know the shape of that 'more of the same'? I hope so, I think so. And isn’t it lovely to have enough good to simply want more of that? Yes, this I know.
At 50, I am thankful for what I have, for the dear friends I've made, my wonderful husband, and for what I’ve accomplished. I’m mildly scared of the future in this older skin. But I’m also proud of my drive and ability to still chase things with vivacity. With any luck, I can still begin things now and be good at them in twenty or thirty years. I find myself slightly melancholy and excited at the same time. I am reaching a point in life where people will remember me for my actions rather than my looks, for what I produce, and for what I give back. And I plan to do a lot more of all of that. I miss my youth, how can one not? But I’m also excited about a future of being truly me, with my feet firmly planted under this person that I’ve become. Today is the first day of the next half of something exciting. I’ll make sure of it!