Photo by Hobvias Sudoneighm.
Just saying that I turned 50 today makes me want to scream. How did life just sneak up on me? I can vividly remember my college years, law school, and then my children when they were young. 50 was for older people. Never dreaming that I would be one of those older people. Do you feel the same way as you age?
I have dreaded this birthday for some time. I even got depressed about it. Thinking the next 50 could never be as good as the last since my body would start to realize it wasn’t a spring chicken. With every ache and pain lately, my body just wasn’t the same well oiled, could pull all nighters, eat anything type of bod anymore. Menopause, which closed the oven for good. Graying hair that required more frequent visits to the beauty shop. And finally those fine lines that people say shows interest and character. (Who are they kidding? This is why plastic surgeons are rich.)
This year seems so pivotal in so many ways. 50! I started to question why wasn’t I smelling the roses rather than simply planting them. Each year as I plant my garden, I beg for one more day to extend its beauty and bounty to finally see the garden whither from the cold as I try and pump out that last tomato. And alas, another summer goes by, quickly as time marches on. It doesn’t seem to stop for the “wait one more second” or the wish to hold onto just another day. Time is just like a drill Sargeant, barking out orders without any empathy. You know the old saying, you snooze, you lose?
I don’t know about you, but over the years, I have found that the years seem to roll by faster and faster like the waves in the ocean. When I caught my breath from one event in my life, another rolls right in. Many people have told me to savor the moment, but honestly, I find that harder and harder to do as life gets busier and busier. So, how do you stop time? How do you really savor the moment? I just have not found that magic formula. And here I am at 50.
With age comes wisdom, but would you trade the wisdom for youth? As I sent my oldest off to college, I would have given my eye’s teeth to trade places. College was a remarkable time in my life. Friendships that I made during that time seemed to be forever. Intense as we grew up together.
I don’t about you but I grew ten fold in college. Spread my wings and set out to make a name for myself in a large university. Unfortunately, over the years, many of my college friends and I grew apart. I even lost a dear friend to suicide after the birth of her second child. It is one of my biggest regrets that I did not work hard enough on those friendships to maintain them. My friend who passed away that I had known for 20 years, never let on to me that she was in distress. But during the years before we spoke less frequently as the years rolled by. Life was consuming me and it smacked me the day she passed away. I never got to say goodbye or ask her why she did not reach out for me. If she is listening in heaven, please forgive me.
But the reality is, simply, life kept marching on with every soccer game, music recital, celebration, and birthday leaving me with plenty of memories. But as I look back on my last fifty years, I wonder how my life would have been different had I taken a different path. Perhaps not attend law school because I was supposed to. Have you thought of what your life could have been like if you travelled a different path?
It is not that I regret the path, it is just that the person that I strived to be in college, as a campus leader, seemed to be my peak. I did not go on to blaze a trail and settled into a predictable lifestyle. Marriage. Career. Kids. Then trying to create a new career with Green Talk. Something just seemed to get lost in the middle. That is something that I can say that I regret.
So, if I could one piece of advise, itis to not lose yourself to life. Maintain the flicker that makes you shine in the morning and makes you feel good about yourself. Even if it means to have a hobby that you love. I am not talking about having an amazing career where you go from the mail room to the president’s office. That’s great too, but climb with passion because you love what you do. So many of us go through life letting life happen to us rather than the other way around. We are in lack luster jobs, marriages that don’t work, or lament that our kids are brats. It is very easy for me to say make your life more passionate because I don’t have the magic key but only the saying. Just change one part of your life to create a spark again.
The spark in me came alive in me when I realized I could make a difference with Green Talk. I realize that I had impact the day someone was talking to me about a post that he had read about solar panels. He was describing my article. I needed concrete pads on my feet to keep me from flying away because I was so elated that someone finally was listening to me! Do I wish I had more impact? You bet I do.
What I learned about myself in the last two years in starting Green Talk, is never be afraid to try something new. I have never fashioned myself as a good writer. Writing does not come easy for me, but I pushed through the fear and worked harder.
What’s in store for the next 50 years? I don’t know. Sell Green Talk for an amazing sum and retire to the South of France? Who knows. So, readers
- what advice would you give about my next 50 years?
- how would you do life differently if you could?
- what lessons have you learned along the way to pass on?
- have any of you reached milestone birthdays?
And if you want to leave me a happy birthday comment, you will make my day.