On being 50

By tomorrow I will have lived a half a century.

It’s not the number of years that bothers me, it’s the speed at which I racked them up.

Somehow, in the happy chaos of scrambled dinners, scattered socks, fun runs, permission slips, committee meetings, and looming deadlines, I must have looked away for a moment. When I turned back, all four of my children stood taller than I.

I am, frankly, old.

God blessed the aged with a creeping farsightedness that allows us to underlook the telltale signs — the facial lines, the wispy hair, the hunk of broccoli stuck in a tooth. Then the milestone birthdays hit and we stand, breathless, at the top of the hill and wonder how we crested it so quickly.

With supreme optimism, I believe I am halfway through my one opportunity to live this particular life. Worried the downhill side might roll even faster, I vow:

  1. To savor
  2. To listen.
  3. To stretch my muscles.
  4. To steep my tea.
  5. To toast my friends.
  6. To challenge myself.
  7. To face the sun.
  8. To seek fun.
  9. To pray.
  10. To relax.
  11. To read.
  12. To trust.
  13. To eat really good chocolate.
  14. To bake.
  15. To share.
  16. To volunteer.
  17. To travel.
  18. To play the piano.
  19. To golf.
  20. To sweat intentionally.
  21. To floss.
  22. To grow a patio garden.
  23. To invest in local businesses.
  24. To support people and causes in which I truly believe.
  25. To cherish my family.
  26. To sing in the kitchen, in church, in the car and in the shower.
  27. To dance.
  28. To honor my father.
  29. To beat my husband in driveway basketball.
  30. To swim.
  31. To mail thank you notes.
  32. To applaud my peers.
  33. To learn.
  34. To write a book.
  35. To smell the lilacs every year.
  36. To organize.
  37. To donate.
  38. To taste unfamiliar food.
  39. To season.
  40. To remember.
  41. To vote.
  42. To temper.
  43. To walk rather than drive whenever I can.
  44. To weigh myself periodically in the sweet anonymity of my basement.
  45. To mend frayed friendships.
  46. To take photography classes.
  47. To lean in.
  48. To ride roller coasters with my mother.
  49. To love.
  50. To celebrate.

I hope you’ll join me in pausing a moment, raising a glass, and toasting all of our tomorrows.

My co-workers went all out to help me mourn my youth. If you must turn 50, I say do it with people you enjoy.
My co-workers went all out to help me mourn my youth. If you must turn 50, I say do it with people you enjoy.

9 thoughts on “On being 50

  1. Wonderful post! 50 was a great year as I recall, 56 not so much. Happy Birthday, 50 looks good on you! Jan

  2. I love this and love you very much sista! May you have a beautiful day in honor of yourself and the awesome woman you’ve become!

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