Well, last Saturday, I turned 50 and a ½ and, for some reason, I think it matters again. The year isn’t even over, and I’m only six months into my new decade, yet already so much has happened in my life since April.
I found my second brother, I got to spend the summer with my eldest niece and I started graduate school. I have the love of an amazing man and perhaps most importantly, I am, at long last, focusing my life predominately on creative endeavors. I feel so very grateful to be here to write this.
Between experiences in my past and the insanity of the world we live in today, I’m not always certain any of us will reach milestones like 50 and a ½.
For example, as I read interviews with Peter Piot, my former boss and the man who discovered Ebola, my heart aches.
I feel profoundly sad when I think of Liberia, a place where I have spent some time; a place which has already been through so much and was struggling to recover and now is so hard hit by this latest injustice.
Or when I think of Syria and the stunning, sprawling souk in Damascus, a setting so magical that it still teases my mind years later. And yet, Syria, as well, is struggling in ways I cannot begin to comprehend, and their challenges – as in so many places around the globe – are painfully far from resolution.
And closer to home in Ferguson MO, or Chicago IL or neighborhoods a few stops away in Brooklyn, so many young men and women continue to be treated like second class citizens and yet the protests never seem to be loud enough to change things.
I am not able to fix or even change these things, at least not in a meaningful way on a large-scale, although I try in small ways each day. I have to try harder, but I also have to believe that the world can do better and that if we all try harder, things will, one day, improve.
So, yes, today, I’m 50 and a ½ (and a week and a day) and how lucky I am. All of this may seem cliché or trite, but it feels authentic despite the familiarity of these words.
Today, as all days, I count my blessings and hope that you are able to count yours as well.