Thursday, July 31, 2014

35 With 15 Years of Experience

I turned 50 this past month. I told people I was having a milestone birthday. Most guessed that I was turning 40. So, if someone asked, rather than guess, I said I was 35 with 15 years of experience. For me, it was, and is, an age worth celebrating.

I had originally wanted a huge party. You know the kind: held in a ballroom with 150 of my closest friends. It didn’t work out that way, but I sure did have a wonderful birthday. I decided to make it a week-long celebration.
Due to various constraints I ended up having two parties, complete with flowers, balloons (which are still inflated) and cake. My first party was held the weekend before the actual date. It was my local party; held in my backyard and invitations sent to select friends who live in the area. Some were not able to make it due to previous commitments or vacation plans. I think we still had over 20 people there and I’m not sure my deck could have held many more.
What I loved about that party was the guest list. As I looked around at my friends I realized how much each one of them meant to me for very special reasons. Some friends I’ve known since college. One friend, my husband’s college roommate, I’ve known for 30 years. Other friends are more recent. I’ve gotten to know them within the last three years. And some, like one of my college roommates, is a reconnection after many years apart. These were the folks with whom I truly wanted to celebrate my day.
(I also realized that we had a mini college reunion because seven of us had attended the same college).
My second party was the weekend after my birthday. I went to my mother’s for the weekend so that we could celebrate together. I had made reservations at a local restaurant and invited area friends to join us. This party was an amazing collection of family and friends; complete with a reunion with a dear friend that I haven’t seen in over 30 years. When I looked around the table I was struck by the fact that I have known each person for over 30 years. I cannot explain how I felt as I visited with each of these friends and my sister took pictures. A close friend who lives in Pennsylvania commented that “God is so good” after viewing the pictures I had posted.
Yes. That is what I felt. The pure joy of seeing how truly blessed I am.

If you enjoy my blog and would like to follow me on Facebook, I can be found at The Reluctant Survivor. And on Twitter @relucsurvivor.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Decade Passed

No, that is not a typo. A decade has passed. Yesterday, if you asked me how it felt to be turning 50 I would have immediately said, “The 40’s sucked.” But upon reflection, the 40’s were not horrible. True, 43 was a dark year, but the whole decade was filled with blessings, joy and reunions. I started 40 with a birthday dinner. Friends that were at that dinner were at my backyard BBQ that was held to celebrate turning 50.
During this decade both my great-nephew and great-niece were born. That was wonderful!
I passed the California Bar Exam and was sworn into the California Bar.

We adopted both Maria and Kiwi during this past decade.

I reconnected with childhood friends through FaceBook. The decade brought me joyous in-person reunions. And while I reflect on how blessed I am to have these friendships that span a lifetime, I also rejoice in the new friendships. Some that just started yesterday.

We moved into our beautiful new home. I still walk around in awe that it is ours.
In 2011, at the age of 46 I walked in my very first Avon Walk. And last year I walked across the Golden Gate Bridge. Twice.


I have traveled and made some wonderful friends along the way. I had the opportunity to visit London with my mother; something that was on both our bucket lists.


I was at my Goddaughter Kate’s high school graduation. I watched her blossom during her freshman year at college and am looking forward to that graduation.


My career has taken a turn that resulted in my “dream job.”
So, as I close one decade and embark on the next I realize that the 40’s, in fact, are a remarkable decade passed.

If you enjoy my blog and would like to follow me on Facebook, I can be found at The Reluctant Survivor. And on Twitter @relucsurvivor.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Faking It

I’m turning 50 this month, which has me reflecting on what it means to be 50. Or more importantly, what it means to feel 50. The truth is, I’ve been faking it all these years.

When I think about 50 I think about my parents. Granted, my parents were in their 40’s when I was a teenager but I wonder how they did it. I mean, adults make it look easy. They are strong, and brave, and know just how everything fits together. They know how to handle their jobs, and their responsibilities, and their daily schedule. They do not have fears or anxiety or question their own purpose. They don’t struggle with issues about themselves or their identities. They have adult friends and they certainly don’t have any problems.
My friend Jodi has a blog and once wrote about being a successful grown up. Chronologically, I’m an adult. But am I a grown up? I appreciate Jodi’s summation of “just because I can doesn’t mean I should.” Last year I heard Jodi speak on this very subject. Being an adult means I get to choose my own bedtime. Being a grown up means I know when to go to bed because I have to get up to go to work tomorrow.
I’ve been thinking about this distinction and finding joy in my choices. And when I choose to do something – like eat ice cream right out of the container – because I can, I tell myself there is no guilt or shame in making that choice. Besides, it’s one less dirty dish to go in the dishwasher. Did my parents ever make silly choices because they could? I bet they did. But as adults with three kids, they kept the routine and the discipline in order to give us a guide and make us feel safe. They chose to be grown up for us, making it look easy. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t, because at 50 I still feel like I’m faking it.

Simon and Garfunkel capture the sentiment in their 1967 hit.

If you enjoy my blog and would like to follow me on Facebook, I can be found at The Reluctant Survivor. And on Twitter @relucsurvivor.