Celebrating the Big 5-0
This week, I’m reaching a significant milestone in life: turning 50. Aging is not a fear or a cause of angst-rather, reflecting back, I am grateful for every decade and the unique experiences each one brought.
Someone said that ‘50 is the new 30’, which was meant as a compliment.
However, I remember being 29, facing the “big one” at a very difficult time in my life. Here I was, newly divorced with two young children facing a milestone, feeling completely broken, hopeless and like a failure. Looking into the future I couldn’t see anything positive...just struggle, loneliness and dark times ahead. However, I had to learn to look outside of myself (and my pain) for purpose and reasons to live…my kids needed me.
Divorce, death and moving are listed as the major stress induced events in life. Well, shortly after my divorce, I went back to work and within a year asked to relocate to Atlanta, a very unfamiliar place. To make a long story shorter, I found both strength and refuge in being a single mom and managing several retail stores in Metro Atlanta. Keeping busy, having people depending on me, even the stress of surviving helped me push through tough times, but stunted my emotional healing and evolution. When I eventually found therapy and learned about personal development and growth, life changed. I learned to look for what was beautiful, or right, in every situation...even suffering.
Facing 40, I was in a much better place.
In fact, I quit Corporate and the security of the weekly paycheck. Instead, I became a full time student, pursuing a newfound purpose to help people make powerful, positive change. This decade was spent perfecting my craft, building a practice and learning to thrive instead of survive. Having Gestalt therapy, NLP and mindfulness in the tool box, feeling centered spiritually combined with a healthy mindset, life felt manageable even in times of struggle. I’m not striving for a perfect life, but a life full of perfect moments that I am present to. In my 40’s, I learned that life is in my favor….always.
So, now that I’m turning the Big 5-0...
…and peeking into the future, I see possibilities, hope and love. The words to describe my internal state now are closer to aware, mindful and whole. Some people look at me as someone who has their life together...and I say to them it wasn’t an overnight success story. It’s been a continuous journey, a choice to wake up and stay awake. Every day is an opportunity to be present to life and accept what shows up as a gift….to take nothing for granted and appreciate everything.
Forrest Gump said ”Life is a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get.” Since most of us like chocolate, perhaps the key to finding out what we’re going to get is taking a bite. And then another.
Above are pictures of me at 39 and 49. With my oldest child at 39 and 49. #10yearchallenge