In a culture that often seems to drool over the young, it can be quite daunting to turn 50 or 70 or 90. So weeks before the day arrived, I was struggling with many thoughts and some self-depreciating swipes.
Traditionally, the end of the year for me marks a season of deep contemplation and a look into the future. This time it was a bit different because I was turning the big 5-0!
Initially, I wasn’t going to celebrate.
For days, my year-long review seemed like a walk in a dark tunnel. It took quite some intense inner search motivated by some jarring phone calls and a different perspective to begin digging myself out of that quagmire of toxicity.
Casual notifications of several people passing away – some of whom were friends or acquaintances – gave me a rude awakening. Most did not make it to 50!
Then a friend called to give me some news. It was not the kind that makes you want to break out in a dance. His health had taken a turn for worse due to a major organ failure. And he is several years younger than I am.
As I shared my melancholic emotional state with my mentor, my best friend and a few close friends, they compassionately gave me what amounts to pep-talks about being grateful, focusing on the present, and expecting significant moments in the coming days.
It is interesting that in my focused moments of immature excavations of past failures, I was unable to see and appreciate the valuable accomplishments, and the immense contributions I had made in the lives of many. Also, far beyond my myopic periphery was the growth and wisdom gained, precipitated by experiences over the course of 5 decades.
Out of the blue, two long-time friends called to thank me for the impact I made in their lives years ago. That was uplifting.
The invasive funk began to shift!
Then I realized there’s a lot to be said for reaching the age of 50. They used to say that ‘Life Begins at 40’. If that’s true, it only gets better at 50 and beyond.
As I readjusted my thinking on celebrating this milestone birthday,
I decided to focus on remembering special times and experiences that contributed to who I am today. I reasoned that the festivities should both celebrate the last 50 years and look forward to the future ‘seasoned’ years!
I pushed the celebration button to the ‘on’ position, with a unique twist!
There really isn’t ONE big thing I want to do, like a party. Instead of a birthday I’m going to have a birthyear! And I’m going to do 50 things that will make me happy, starting on my 50th Birthday, and going straight through until my December 31st, 2016.
It’s not a bucket list, but things–many of which include family and friends–that I know will bring me joy and will let me celebrate this wonderful birthday, for which I am grateful, for longer than just one day.
What are some of the things you would like me to consider putting on my Golden List?