This is Me: A Glimpse Inside my 50 Year Old Self

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This (literally) is me!

A few weeks ago, I celebrated a BIG  birthday.  As this day approached, I had been thinking about my life and what I’ve learned thus far.  I remember that I was scared to death of turning 30. Thirty sounded so old.  Turns out, 30 was no big deal. I’d relive my 30s any day.  My metabolism was still my friend, I had energy, my kids still snuggled with me.  My life was pretty much problem-free.  Then, my 40s rolled around.  I wasn’t too excited about turning forty, but my 40s have taught me some important lessons.  I’ve learned to love my body in thickness and in health.  I’ve also learned to love myself and accept my flaws.  I started to become a more authentic version of myself.  It seems that with age comes wisdom and a “don’t worry too much about what people think” mentality, which is a blessing.  

As my forties came to an end, I didn’t feel nervous or sad.  Instead I mostly just felt grateful.  Fifty sounds like a big number, but aside from the sound of it, I am happy to be a year older.  You see, I believe that growing old, even with its aches and pains, is a privilege.  I understand that my life is a gift, and I am actually looking forward to living and learning and growing as a person in my next decade of life.   

I decided that in honor of my  50th birthday, I should write down my fifty truths — my deepest, silliest and most honest beliefs. I want to put in writing my current perspective on the world and reflect how my outlook has changed over time.  So here is my list.  These fifty truths are in no particular order, but they are all ideals I hold dear.

  1. I believe in wearing bright and sparkly nail polish no matter my age. Bright toes make me happy.
  2. I believe in dancing in the kitchen. Dancing in the kitchen is always evidence of a good night.
  3. I believe in do-overs — for myself and for others.
  4. I believe in the power of a parent’s love. The older I get, the more I respect my parent’s love for me and the more I love my own children.
  5. I believe that public education is a critical component of our society. and that teachers are real life superheroes.
  6. I believe in community.
  7. I believe in a higher power, even if I don’t understand all of the details.
  8. I believe in the quote from Dead Poet’s Society where John Keating says “words and ideas really can change the world.”
  9. I believe that the Beatles are the greatest rock band ever.
  10. I believe that the Foo Fighters and U2 are a close 2nd and 3rd.
  11. I believe in adventure. I find myself, as I age, wanting to run towards the world.
  12. I believe in love. Enough said.
  13. I believe that sometimes — okay, most of the time — self care is more important than productivity. (My husband disagrees with me, but I stand behind this one.)
  14. I believe in sitting with people in their darkest hours just as they have sat with me.
  15. I believe that being a mom has been my best and hardest job.
  16. I believe in naps.
  17. I believe in connection. I’ve learned that I am good at connecting with people and building relationships.
  18. I believe that I am creative but not necessarily artistic.
  19. I believe my parents did the best they could with what they knew, and I have tried to do the same.
  20. I believe that my family of origin — my parents and my sister — are still my biggest fans.
  21. I believe that we all need a safe and happy place to land at the end of the day.
  22. I believe that part of being happy is recognizing the small joys in our lives.
  23. I believe that you can be a happy person even if you’ve experienced great loss.
  24. I believe in therapy. Therapy has helped me in a plethora of ways.
  25. I believe that, for me, writing serves as a kind of therapy.
  26. I believe in writing notes of gratitude to people that I love.
  27. I believe in silver linings, even if that makes me appear naive or overly optimistic.
  28. I believe that teachers make the world a more educated, more beautiful place.
  29. I believe in fun and mischief.
  30. I believe in girls’ trips.
  31. I believe that yoga can restore your health and your soul.
  32. I believe in hugging — friends, family, my students, sometimes even strangers.
  33. I believe in reaching out to people who are struggling.
  34. I believe that I experience God’s presence anytime I walk barefoot on a beach and look into the vast ocean.
  35. I believe in the power of a good coffee date/chat with a girlfriend.
  36. I believe that money spent on books, movies and music is never wasted.
  37. I believe in sleeping in.
  38. I believe that lifelong learning leads to a fulfilling life.
  39. I believe that a person is never too old to try something new.
  40. I believe that someday I will figure out my purpose on this Earth, but until then I will try a lot of different things.
  41. I believe in girl power. Thank you Sandy Hudson, Ally Baier, RBG, Michelle Obama, Cindy Lauper, Malala, and all my other female heroes.
  42. I believe in kindness.
  43. I believe that there is almost always a resolution to a problem.
  44. I believe that you never give up on your children.
  45. I believe that Brene Brown’s writing has changed my life for the better. (If you haven’t read her, start with The Gifts of Imperfection.)
  46. I believe in taking walks with friends.
  47. I believe in honesty — or at least attempting honesty. I no longer have the stomach for bullshitting people.
  48. I believe in peace.
  49. I believe that it is important to have things in life to look forward to.
  50. I believe that that life, even in its most difficult seasons, is a gift.

So there you have it, friends, a list that reveals who I am at 50.  I have grown from a shy kid who was afraid to speak out in class to a person who is fun, free, and maybe a little bit fierce.  Today I strive to be a person who runs toward life and feels gratitude on even the most challenging of days.

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