By this publication, I will have burst forward into my second half century on this planet. Turning 50 is at once ordinary and momentous. Life does not stop because you are turning 50. I still have all the same responsibilities. My kids continue to challenge, impress and stress me on a daily basis. My job continues to be my passion but also claims more time than any other aspect of my life. And a pandemic has hit, rocking the world of every citizen and health care provider I know.
While I know some people want to sweep their years under the rug and not announce their age at this point, sometimes it seems like everything should stop, pause and acknowledge making it this far. I'm not ashamed of my age. I think I've earned every single year and gained wisdom along the way. Some of my years on this planet, I have wanted to shove them the rest of the way out three-fourths of the way through, like Helen Hunt who plays a flight attendant in one of my favorite “Saturday Night Live” sketches. where she ignores the airline passengers' questions or concerns with a smile and a “Ba-BYE!” Other years, I have wanted to linger. But what I want to do with any particular year of my life — be it speed it along or slow it down — makes no difference. Time keeps rolling on, whether I like it or not.
So, if turning 50 has done anything to me, it has made me take pause and reflect about what I have accomplished or not and how I spend my time. I have been giving a lot of thought to intention and to acceptance. There are some realities that are out of my control that I must accept, as I look to my work and home life. I have to accept that time is not limitless. I have to accept that computers and computer systems can simplify life and complicate it, but it is a hard, fast reality that my work relies on technology, and I have to continue to learn how to maximize its potential. I have to accept that I am not a perfect person, my relationships are not perfect, nor are my children. I own this truth honestly and try to remember this life I have led thus far in all its complexities, failures and joys. While I list acceptance after intention, I feel that acceptance must come first in anyone's action plan since I don't see how you can figure out where you are trying to go without acknowledgment and acceptance of where you have been and what the realities of your life are.
Intention emphatically comes next. Thinking of upcoming years and time, I know that I want certain aspects of my life in clear focus. I want to be intentional with how I spend the free time I have, how accessible I am to my kids and husband, and how I can best take care of myself – my mind, my body, my spirituality. I want to carefully consider the impact of my actions on others, my expenditure of energy in all aspects of my life, and increasing my time in nature. I want to feel intentional as I walk into the future, that is equally reflective and empowered. I want to always help my children grow and learn, have hope for the future, discover or enhance their gifts, and feel that no matter how old they get, I will steadfastly love and be there for them. I want to embrace and adapt to change while holding on to those parts of my self that have been part of me since my childhood – my ability and desire to relate to people, love unconditionally, and give my endeavors my best. I want to soak in screen-free time, have good conversations, read good books, cry when I need to, and laugh at life's best moments.
I am an optimist and believe in the basic good of humanity, so, 50 years in, I'm ready for the next 50. I am looking forward, just as I look back, with a desire for purpose, love and peace.