When I was younger, I used to think that whoever first uttered the phrase, Life begins at fifty, only said this to make themselves, or someone else, feel better about getting older. Then, I turned fifty and was pleasantly surprised, and grateful, that this was actually true.
The night before my fiftieth birthday, I stayed up and counted down to midnight, like I was waiting for the ball to drop in Times Square on New Year’s Eve, only it was the middle of August. My forties were the most painful and challenging years across the board. Divorce. Anxiety. Depression. Deaths of friends. Breast Cancer. End of relationships. It was a decade of brutal life lessons that I never asked for, or ever want to repeat. So, I stayed up to welcome my fiftieth birthday and to make sure that the reign of terror had come to an end at last. Mercifully, thankfully, and joyfully, turning fifty marked both the end and the beginning.
To usher in this new decade, I started a silly tradition with my two daughters, who know that I love a good play on words. So, I started nicknaming my birthdays. Fifty nifty. Fifty-wonderful. Fifty-too much. Fifty-me. And today, I give you . . .Fifty-more.
Although these are meant to be funny, fifty-more feels quite fitting. 2022 has been a year of more. Much more than I ever could have imagined. I married the absolute love of my life, and we have seven incredible children between us. I left my job in the corporate world to launch my own life coaching business. One of our daughters is getting married later this year, and we have two kids beginning their last year of college. So, the thought of there being even more to experience this next year feels a bit gluttonous.
It is funny how during times when life is going well, really well, there is the tendency to feel guilty about it or to wait for the other shoe to drop. Then, when those feelings pop up, we may feel guilty, ashamed, or ungrateful for feeling that way in the midst of our happiness. It can be a no-win situation.
I have felt pangs of guilt about things going right in the midst of all the things that are going wrong in the world, in addition to some anxiety about when this season of plenty will end. When those thoughts and feelings threaten to ruin the festivities, I don’t exclude them from the guest list, but I don’t put them on the VIP list, either. I do my best to hold space for all of the feelings.
So, while some of those underlying thoughts and feelings of worry and scarcity linger, the thoughts and feelings of joy, excitement, and gratitude are guests of honor at the birthday celebration today. I am excited to give more and to receive more this year and beyond.
More fun and laughter.
More stillness and peace.