Wow, writing down those words has a serious impact. I T U R N 5 0. My first instinct is to say things like: Where has the time gone, it was just yesterday that I left school and headed off into the big bad world and last but not least: life is short, you see how quickly the time flies by.
But then I stop for a second to take stock of my life and it hasn’t really flashed by in a heartbeat, it hasn’t really been that short and it definitely does not feel like just yesterday that I left school. I certainly don’t feel 50 and when I look in the mirror, I definitely don’t think that I look 50. What is 50 supposed to look like anyway, the way some sort of social media platform tells you it should. It doesn’t look how I thought it would when I was fourteen and my dad died aged 43. Back then my 14-year-old brain thought 43 was soooo old, now I am 50 and have lived for 7 more years than he did. I guess it is also relevant; to an 80-year-old 50 is still young and to a 15 year old, 50 has got to look ancient.
So, let’s have a closer look at 50 years alive and what it is to me. I have seen people die in their twenties and thought to myself: Wow, they did not even get the chance to experience life. Hell, I’ve almost died in my twenties. I literally fell off a three-storey building, have the photos to prove that my leg was in plaster but no evidence that I survived a fall on to a solid concrete base other than I am able to walk without assistance and even for that matter, eat and bathe myself without assistance. I had a boyfriend threaten to shoot us one New Year’s Eve because he was high, and I was so numbed out it did not occur to me to think that something was definitely wrong with that picture. I’ve dated some really bad guys, but I have also dated some really good guys who turned out to be bad guys. I waited until late in life to marry, not because of some wise council, but because that’s just the way it worked out. He has taught me what unconditional love is and if he will have me, I would like to spend the rest of my life with him.
I’ve travelled to some of the most exquisite places in the world and without discriminating against one place in favour of another I have to confess to Barcelona being my city of choice. Gaudi’s architecture, the Mediterranean and of course - siesta. What more could a woman ask for?
I lived through a revolution of sorts, witnessed friends getting hurt and some dying while people of a different colour fought to take a stand for what they believed. Equal opportunity. And why should they have had to gone to those extremes to have their voice heard? When we peel back the colour of our skin, do we not bleed the same?
I have worked tirelessly at a job at the time I fully believed was the only one for me. Fourteen-hour days, seven days a week at a cost so great that I actually lost three months of my life. I went back to school at the ripe old age of 36 (according to my wisdom filled 18-year-old fellow students) and studied what I believed to be the career I was destined to live out - Engineering. I worked in that field for over 12 years and loved most of it. I climbed the corporate ladder, only to be kicked off it. So, I did what any self-respecting adult would do - I changed careers again.
I have loved and hated in equal measure. I have fought with and fiercely protected family. I have believed as I was raised to believe only to discover for myself that I can actually believe differently. I have run in the opposite direction as fast as I could because I was afraid that I would actually achieve what I hoped I would. I have wailed excruciatingly on the cold hard floor because I did not think anyone would ever just love me. I have been hurt and I have healed. I have been disappointed, but then I have been just as elegantly surprised.
I have encountered God in places I did not think I would, and I have come to understand that I do not live in this world, I live in the conversations I engage in about the world.
How does one wrap up 50 years in less than 1000 words? I hope that on my gravestone they will write - She lived her life to the fullest.
I now believe, for myself at least and you have the right to believe differently, that all there is, is love. The rest is just made up, by someone who came before me and decided that this is how life should work. We have been raised by the people who raised us in the best way they knew at the time to do, and we can choose to raise our children differently if we want. Life is a precious gift from God and my way of saying thank you for that gift is to live it in the best way I know how to with what I have available to me at the time. When I know differently, I will live differently. For now, walks on the beach every morning with Willow Scruffles Knickelbein and being loved by Clint are enough. If I can craft and share those with the world and when I get to guide a client through their transformation to a different way of seeing life - well those are just a bonus.