Yesterday, I turned 51. In 2014, I turned 50. In the months leading up to that dramatic milestone, I thought a great deal about the significance of having lived half a century. But the changes were, admittedly, mostly in my mind. From my perspective, the difference from 49 to 50 was profound, to be sure, but primarily just in the sense of accomplishment by the mere fact that I was still alive and able to celebrate.
This year, however, I can see the difference from 50 to 51. My skin is changing, I have more grey hair and my body is definitely up to a few new tricks that I’ve yet to learn to embrace. I see age creeping into the lines on my face and feel it settling in my joints. I’m still delighted to be having these experiences – far better than the alternative – but they are definitely new and uncharted territory for me.
As I look back on the past year, the changes outside of my body have also been tremendous. I’ve shifted my life to full-time student, cleared one debt only to replace it with loans for school, and have very different responsibilities than I did a year ago.
Earlier this year I visited my foster daughter and saw that she and her partner are balancing and managing their lives well, and the two gorgeous children they are raising are already remarkable young humans. Once upon a time I worried about her as any mother would, but no more; she is strong and capable and I’m just honored to still be a part of her life.
One month after that visit, my partner’s daughter became a mother and while I have no doubts what-so-ever in her ability to take on the challenge of motherhood, I can’t help but now think of her each day, and wish her the best of everything as she navigates this new role in life.
My own family has also changed. I went from being the youngest of four to finding out that, in fact, I am the youngest of five. Along that journey I’ve been lucky enough to connect with my long-lost super cool brother…and his awesome wife, son and daughter-in-law. Things change daily, it seems. But what a ride it has been and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon.
There is still so much on my list of things to do in life that I’m sure I’ll never achieve my goal of feeling bored. In fact, I suspect I’ll never know that feeling (and, of course, that’s a good thing!). I want to see the Northern Lights, I want to visit Greenland, Morocco and Mongolia. I want to move back to California. I want to try my hand at teaching and I want to write and publish a few books. And so on and so forth…the list is a long one indeed.
Also, I must add, this was an exceptional weekend to have a birthday. On the 3rd it was Good Friday as well as the start of Passover, and in my neighborhood which hosts a large Orthodox population, the day was marked by repeated calls to prayer. Yesterday morning, on my actual birthday, we had not only a full moon, but also a lunar eclipse which produced a rare “Blood Moon” which seems appropriate since both Aries and my Chinese sign, Dragon, are ruled by fire so a blazing red moon seems fitting. And, of course, today is Easter which has earned me the special greeting of “Happy Beaster” from one of my wonderfully clever nephews.
And so, today, I am now 51 and a day. I still haven’t even gotten used to saying 50 so perhaps I’ll just skip the whole thing and tell people I don’t remember my age and let them think what they like. But I’m here, and that is what matters. Cheers!