So *someone* has a birthday this year. Well (God willing), we all will, but *someone* has a BIG birthday this year. Y’all. I turn FIFTY in May. The big 5-0. Whaaaaaat?
This birthday has caused me to do some deep soul searching. Fifty isn’t old (I mean, maybe to you 28-year olds it is, but please trust me when I tell you it actually isn’t). I’m not at all bothered by it, but I do feel surprised by it. It just sounds old and it’s kind of unsettling that it’s happening to me.
But it has made me really reflect on my absurdly lucky and blessed life. And I’ve come up with five areas I want to really work on as I enter this new decade – my own little honey-do list for myself if you will.
I Want To Be More Courageous
Now that I’m almost 50, there isn’t really anything I should be afraid of anymore. I’m not afraid of losing my job or of “The Professor” (AKA my husband) not loving me, or of my friends leaving me.
But what I want is to be brave enough to give a voice to my convictions, fears, and beliefs.
There have been times when I know I should say or do something, but don’t. Simply because I don’t want to cause a scene or make someone uncomfortable. Or maybe it’s because I don’t think it’s any of my business.
But you know what? If I am going to be the kind of person I want to be – and the kind of person I want my kids to be – then guess what? I need to be braver and call people out when they’re being unkind. Or unfair. Or downright cruel. Even if it means making someone else uncomfortable.
I’m not going to (intentionally) be a jerk about it, but I’m too old to not do the right thing (which, as I tell my girls, is usually not the easy thing) just because it might be awkward. How can I ask my girls to stick up for a friend being bullied or mistreated if I don’t do it myself?
I Want To Live My Faith More Openly
I’m really struggling with this one. Well, no – that’s not exactly accurate. I have a very strong faith. I love Jesus! I am a BIG fan of the guy. I’m a practicing Catholic, but the Catholic church has taken a beating.
I considered leaving even before all the abuse scandals broke out but decided to stay for a number of reasons. I don’t agree with everything the Catholic church teaches, but I pray really hard and really often about the things I struggle with.
And I’m so THANKFUL for my faith because I think it makes the world a less lonely place.
But I see a lot of so-called Christianity that I cannot get on board with and it makes me want to find a hidey-hole and never come out. I find it to be self-righteous and condescending and cruel and so terribly exclusive. And I wonder, do these holier-than-thou people really know who Jesus was? Do they know what he did?
Jesus was profoundly inclusive. He hung out with the worst of the worst. Lepers. Women. Women of ill repute (how’s that for a polite, mom-accepted way of saying it?!). Racial enemies (the Samaritans). The Impoverished. SINNERS (*Insert hand raised emoji here*).
Jesus wants everyone – and especially the sinners! He’s not waiting for people to be perfect and all sorted out. He wants the ones who are trying and struggling and failing. He wants all of us! And that is NOT what you hear from a lot of people these days. He doesn’t just want people who look like me, who think like me, who have the same problems I do.
And that is compelling me to stretch out of my comfort zone. Because I’m (almost) 50. And I have no reason not make myself uncomfortable by digging deeper into my faith and how I actually live it. I’m looking for new ways to volunteer in a meaningful way – ways I can contribute something to society that will make me nervous.
(I’m still thinking on this, but please – pass along any great charities or organizations you love who need feet on the street!)
I Want To Love The Professor Better
While my husband and I are in good health, I am painfully aware that can turn on a dime. And even if things continue as good and happy as they are, at some point, our time together will come to an end. I hope it’s not for another 35 years AT LEAST. But I’ve had a few close friends lose their husbands, and it’s a sad reminder that life can change in an instant.
The fifties are no joke. The time to do things is NOW. Which means a reshuffling of priorities is needed.
Let’s have those adventures! Let’s set ourselves up to live how we genuinely, authentically want to live.
I want to make sure that when something heartbreaking happens, we have no regrets. That we loved each other as joyfully and as fully and as strongly as we possibly could.
I Want To Love My Girls Better
Our oldest will be done with high school in four years. Four more Christmases. Four more summers. After that, it could be summer school. Internships. An actual paying job.
Growing up and growing away.
And that’s what we want – we’re trying to raise adults here, after all. But the thought of it being over THAT soon? OOF. It’s crazy.
I want my daughters to look back on their childhood with happy memories and know that they were ferociously loved and cherished and genuinely enjoyed.
As they become more entrenched in the tweens and teens, that can be a challenge TO BE SURE. But they’re working on becoming adults and that’s hard. I have to remember to give them space and grace to do that while keeping them in the range of acceptable and safe behavior. If anything heartbreaking were to happen, I want to know that we’ve set them on the right path; that they have memories of fun times, and that they know they are adored.
I Want To Love My Body Better
I, like so many other women out there, have issues with my body. I carry extra weight. I know this. But also? I’m really strong. I work out regularly at a place that I absolutely love with people I absolutely love (hey, Base 10 Fitness!). I challenge myself every day I’m in that gym and have actual muscle mass to prove it. Sometimes, I even beat the younger kids at the workout!
My first goal is to FINALLY have that danged pull up that has eluded me for y-e-a-r-s by the time I turn 50. My second goal is to appreciate my body.
My body has done amazing things for me for almost 50 years. It got me here. It created and grew two of the loveliest creatures on the planet. It manages the family and inflicts (needed-but-not-always-wanted) big hugs upon my daughters. My body champions and guides and laughs and loves.
My body is pretty amazing and I need to remember that.
But even as strong as I am, I need to take better care of my body. This extra weight it carries can’t be helping things. It’s hard on my knees and will only get harder on them. Same with the hips. And my feet. And my heart has to work harder.
So it really is time – once and for all – for me to get my body in order. I’ll never weigh what the charts say I should and I’m totally fine with that. I’ve been there and it was uncomfortable and unnatural for me, but I do need to give these old bones and joints a little bit of a break.
If turning 50 is anything like turning 40, I know it will just get harder to manage and maintain it. I want to be in the best shape I can be. I want to loudly and proudly strut into middle age so I can set myself up to be as healthy as possible as I (God willing) get even older.
So that’s it. That’s what I want to work on as 50 approaches.