My apologies for the delay in writing this blog post, as I’ve been enjoying a mini vacation. I’m writing this from a beautiful beach house in Hilton Head, South Carolina. My family has come here for the week to celebrate with me, as tomorrow is my 50th birthday. Wow, 50! I remember a time when 50 year-old people seemed ancient. Did all of those people that I thought were so old feel as young then as I do now? Did the number change, or just my perspective? It no longer seems so old. Matter of fact, it doesn’t seem old at all. I feel like I’m just getting started!
What 50 brings to me is a state of reflection. Where am I? Am I where I thought I’d be at this point in my life? Funny thing is, tomorrow I’ll only be one day older than I am today, so where is all this reflective energy coming from? Why is today different from any other day? I’m guessing it’s important because of the value that I’ve placed on reaching this milestone and the norms of society for what this “should” mean. Aside from giving Hallmark a reason to be in business, sometimes I think we count our years and celebrate birthdays just to give ourselves a reminder to be reflective.
And wow, has this birthday ever been reflective! My two children decided to make this birthday a trip down memory lane. Starting a few days ago, I’ve been given several gifts each night- for a total of what will total 50- that represent a special moment in my life. Things like a package of peanut butter cups with a note from my daughter, detailing the memory of a night when she was only 4, when I woke her up at midnight to watch Dumbo with me. We ate Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups as we enjoyed the movie. Or the present marked Forever 17- the Billboard Top 10 hits of 1976- the year I graduated from high school at 17 years of age. Boy did that CD bring back some memories! And the best part about it was that I would trade where I am now for anything. I wouldn’t go back to any other place in my life even if I could!
I’m not counting but I think we’re up to 20-30 memory gifts so far, and it’s been wonderful. It makes me realize just how lucky I am. It makes me profoundly grateful for this wonderful family we’ve created. We have 10 people here celebrating, from age 19 to 76, from CO, CA, TN, CT, PA and even from Kosovo. We’re a multi-generational, multi-cultural group with diverse political and religious beliefs, tied by blood, marriage or deep friendship- yet we’re still family. We’re bound by strong ties that bring us and keep us together. I can’t imagine anywhere I’d rather be today, or anyone else I’d rather spend my birthday with tomorrow.
This birthday time makes me reflect on the fact that it’s taken me 50 years to create this life, to be where I am right now. I’ve spent each and every day for 50 years to bring me to this exact moment, this exact breath- right now. Am I happy with it? Am I content with the path I’ve chosen? I smile as I write this, for YES, I’m not only happy, but grateful for the life I have. There isn’t anything I’d rather be doing- and I guess that’s good, because this is the life I’ve chosen.
Makes me wonder what else is coming. Am I half way yet? My great grandparents and my grandparents all lived to be nearly 100- and that was years ago. With the longevity and health practices we’re learning, reaching 100 should be easy! Personally, I’m shooting for 120 so I’m not even ½ way yet! Realizing that I have so much life left to live makes me want to grab my bicycles and go ride on this beautiful beach I can see from the deck where I’m writing this. As much as I love bringing you along vicariously, I still have a lot of life to live in the next 70 years, so I’d better get started. I’m off to discover more muscles in my butt that I didn’t know I had until I used them this week. Bicycling for an entire day will do that to you- but it’s good for you too. And just like I can now believe that 50 isn’t old, perhaps I’ll take a look at what other thoughts I still have that I’d like to change for the next 50 years. Woohoo! Looking forward to celebrating my 100th birthday!
p.s. Happy Birthday (early or belated) to all of you who celebrate a birthday this year too! ☺