Hello there, 50!
Nice to finally meet you, Big Five-Zero.
I woke up this morning, this cool, crisp October morning, and smiled a mini smile of relief. I did a sequence of crazy-ass stretches in my comfy bed, inside my stable, loving home, and I inhaled some gorgeous, fresh fall air. My dog barked his happy birthday from the bottom of the stairs, and I savored the last little moments of my yummy womb-like cocoon before fully extending my body, pushing my head out from under the covers, and slipping into the day. My day.
Happy birthday, sweet Warrior Girl, I whispered. You’ve made it this far, but guess what sister? It’s time to begin again.
If you know me, (and I think you do), you know that in recent years I’ve really put my self out there. I’ve dumped my messy words all over Facebook and other social media platforms. I’ve stuffed them inside the pages of mindful, online magazines. I’ve laid myself bare for the world to see – my thoughts, opinions, and observations, as well as my fervent quest for happiness via self care, healthy choices, and some “know-it-all” mothering insights. And, oh yeah, I’ve also shared a teeny-tiny bit of my political leanings. I’ve crow-barred all the common topics of humanity that circle my orbit directly into your orbit too. Please don’t expect the subject of getting older to be an exception.
Lately, my body pops and snaps. It creaks. I’m all kinds of sore. My hands are no longer smooth, and just the other day when I looked in the mirror I actually thought to myself that my early 50’s will be the last years I can pull off long hair. How depressing is that? And also, will this be the decade I decide to surrender to my gray, and sport a sexy, bad-ass, sophisticated, “age appropriate” new look? Gah!
I’m reeling in the years and they’re hitting me square in the face like cream pies from a circus clown. Small lines are sprouting like crabgrass, and the ones from before I crossed over the “half century mark” are now a bit deeper. I have this one little sliver of a crease snaking down to my lip, like a lazy river on a map, leading to the ocean of my mouth. I hate them. The wrinkles. Let’s just say I relish the evening light, because it’s kind to me. The morning sunrise? Not so much.
I marvel at people who can look at their wrinkles and call them “badges of honor.” This expression certainly turns a negative feeling into a positive one quickly. I guess if we can thoughtfully process the visible signs of aging in a sunny and more bearable way, we might be able to simply accept our passing years without lament.
Here’s what I know today: I had my turn to be young. There’s no way I can claim I didn’t get my turn. And as I check the box of my new age-range demographic, I honestly feel a settled sense of well-being that I didn’t have yesterday, (while I was waiting for today to arrive).
Aging gracefully is about respecting our past, living in the present, and letting the future come however it may.
These eyes, these eyes of crowfeet and circles, haven’t missed a damn thing. These eyes have borne witness to raw beauty and curious wonder and joyful mirth. They’ve absorbed and shed every last drop of emotion, and over the years they’ve learned that in order to be bright and filled with dancing light, they must first look at the world with kindness.
These hips, these hips of extra swivel, that housed some cramped and problematic baby-growing quarters, have done most of the difficult work. They’ve harbored all the pain, and birthed new life, and over the years, these 50 marching years, they’ve learned to stop keeping secrets.
These legs, these legs of strength and perseverance have raced the good race against time. They’ve carried me broken, and guided me whole, and over these years, these fast, fleeting years, they’ve pumped me straight across some very important finish lines.
These arms, these arms of courage and love are embracing today. They’ve pushed my past away, and they’ve unfurled for the future, opening, beckoning, and over the years, these 5 decades of years, they’ve become a bit more generous in their daily offerings.
This lap, this soft, spreading lap has held the heads of sleeping children, and husbands, and dogs, and of course a big bowl of popcorn from time to time, all the good and precious people and things bestowed upon me, an imperfect woman, just trying to do her one life right.
These feet, these tired, dry, aching, curly-toed feet sure do need a pedicure.
And this mouth, these hands, these fingers? They continue to talk, tap, and type away. Expression put to paper is a terrifying roller coaster, but it ultimately leads to a happy, peaceful place for me, the only place I ever feel free.
But it’s high time to shed my skin. I can move forward along my path without any baggage at all. Without my mistakes, of course, but more importantly, without my accomplishments. Today, this 50-year-old day, is about re-birth. It’s about filling a balloon with my tears, my cheers, and all my stale, counted years, and gently letting them go.
When I woke up this morning, this cool, crisp October morning, I smiled a smile of blessed relief because I know this day I’ve been silently dreading will come and go like the rest of them, and that makes me a very lucky person. I think minding my normal, searching for truth, and striving to become a better conductor of light in this cruel, dark, beautiful world is all I’ll ever need to feel young, or alive.
So, hello 50! Happy Re-Birth Day sweet, Warrior Girl. It’s time to begin. It’s time to begin, again.