This weekend I celebrated another birthday. It wasn’t a milestone birthday, like a 40th 0r 50th, but the way I look at it, anything over 50 is a milestone to me.
There was a point in my life, say between 14 and mid 20’s, that I didn’t really consider the possibilities of celebrating an age that advanced. In my teens, 50 seemed ancient! Of course, at that time, most of the 50 y.o. women that I knew had grey hair and were on the matronly side. (with the exception of my mother, who had bright blonde hair, deeply tanned-skin and spent the majority of her time on the golf course.) they had lived hard lives (remember, I am from rural Appalachia). Many were stay-at-home Moms and even grandmothers who tuned-in to their “stories” faithfully every day and had dinner on the table by 6. They doted on their families, putting their own needs on the low-priority rung of the ladder. Living life seemed to be over for them. I just never saw that as my future.
Today, I can say in all honesty, that the great majority of my peers are a far cry from those women. Today’s 50 year old woman likely has a career. She has a college education, possibly an advanced degree, and is perfectly capable of supporting herself. Many of my peers have made the personal decision not to have children. They stay in shape and are concerned about their health. The old adge “50 is the new 40” is true, really it is.
But for me, turning 50 last year impacted me more than just keeping that youthful feeling. After climbing that mountain to get where I was headed, both figuratively and physically, I now look back on the past year and see some of the meaningful ways my life has changed. I’ve opened myself up to new experiences involving past history, mainly through facebook, as well as letting go of obstacles that held me back (i.e, unresolved resentments, allowing myself to forgive, and accepting that “it is what it is”.)
In climbing these mountains and crossing these streams, I am finding that the road ahead actually looks manageable. There will always be detours, I have no doubt, and I know when the terrain gets too steep, I’m going to need a hand up, and will welcome the help. Now I see a new frontier ahead, one that looks inviting, challenging, and most of all, welcoming.
I hope that this year brings you new frontiers, as well!