So, today I turn 50. I think that’s worth a blog. 50!
What does being 50 mean to me? Well, basically it means that I have survived infancy, childhood, teens, 20s, 30’s and 40’s, and have landed upon this milestone relatively unscathed. Okay, the old heart has a few fresh bruises and the hips have a bit more cushioning than strictly necessary and the eyes require assistance. But other than that, I’m doing pretty well and the landing went fairly smoothly.
Weirdly, in the last year or so, I’ve had more fun than I’ve had in ages before that. I attribute that to not being fettered by an ideal I fought to preserve for nearly 30 years that, as it turns out, was complete and utter bunk. The first 16 years were, at least, interesting in the challenges and stumbling blocks. The last 14 were, not to put too fine a point on it, an exercise in futility. Sometimes, I admit, I am too stubborn for my own good.
Se la vie!
What have I accomplished in my first half-century on this planet? Well, I have three incredible daughters that are, bar none, my greatest achievements. As a parent I never looked at these three amazing people as belonging to me. I saw them as the people they are and looked at my role in their lives as being a mentor, a teacher; the one charged and blessed with guiding them to become their own persons. They are children of the Universe, having come into this world through me, not to me, and I am proud of all of them. Somehow they managed to turn out not too bad at all in spite of my blundering and floundering.
I learned a lot from my daughters. They taught me how to love. I cannot imagine a love more true, more pure, more deep than the love I feel for these young women. It is a pleasure and a privilege to know them.
I have to admit that in my youth my aspirations never included becoming a wife or a mother. Thank the gods I was wrong about the mother part. Without exception, that has been the most rewarding and amazing thing that ever happened to me. If I accomplish nothing else in my time here, my small role in bringing those three wonderful people into the world is enough.
The wife part was another matter entirely. For some reason, I never quite managed to pull it all together. Where I saw marriage as a partnership, a friendship, a lover-ship and a respect-ship, the two men that collectively “shared” 30 years of my life had a decidedly different perspective on relationships. In short, they had no real interest in me. They both had a very different agenda than mine. And it had nothing to do with sharing anything – except, in the end, maybe an address.
Not that I am the easiest person in the world to live with, either. I bear my fair share of the burden of responsibility for the lack of connection. My own fears and phobias would challenge even the stoutest of constitutions. I’m stubborn and idealistic and cynical and somewhat jaded. I’m also creative and innovative and resourceful and unconventional in my thinking. I often wear my heart on my sleeve. I’m unpredictable and can be fiercely protective of my home and the things and people that I love. Personally, I think I’m rather unique and, given half a chance, would prove to be quite fabulous.
I'm really learning, for the first time in my life, how to be me. Without restraint or restriction. Without guilt or fear. I’ve spent too many years trying to impress, only to be repressed. I’ve heard too many people tell me that I’m crazy while trying to shove their opinions and perspectives down my throat.
I used to think that I was invisible; that no one cared enough to bother listening to me, let alone hear me or even see me. In truth, I think, I may be too powerful for most people to handle. If that sounds vain, well, I'm not going to apologize. The fact is that I’ve been shut down by too many people in my life, cut off, pushed away, isolated, and the only reason I can think of for it is because they don’t know what to make of me. They don’t know how they are supposed to react - it apparently never occurred to them to just be honest and open. I used to blame my own fears, but I think that’s not entirely the case.
Why I ended up with the men I ended up with remains a mystery. They both had enormous and awesome potential. They both, it seems, were as afraid of their own potential as they were of mine. In hindsight, I saw that potential, but missed the fear that disabled it. I saw through the brick walls they had erected and fell in love with what lay behind them. It was the creativity, the humour, the sensitivity, the thoughtfulness, the genius that I loved so much and wanted so badly to connect to. It was the brick walls that I constantly ran into. It wasn’t enough that I had my own baggage to deal with; I seemed to be expected to carry theirs as well.
I still have hope that there is someone out there that, unlike the last two, isn’t afraid of me. Someone who isn’t afraid to challenge me and be challenged by me. I guess that’s what being 50 means to me. I can finally be myself and not have to compromise my values, my feelings, my dreams because someone, who is supposed to love me doesn’t have the balls to stand beside me and say, “This is my partner and I’m proud to be the one to share in her life!” As of now, nothing less is acceptable.
I have learned also to be grateful! I am grateful for all the things, people and experiences, good and bad, that have led me to this moment. I am not one year older; rather I’m one moment closer to finding and having all that I desire in life. I am one more moment away from all the pain of the past. I am in the ever-present moment of awakening to all the wonders the Universe has to offer.
So Happy 50th Birthday to me! Happy re-Birthday, Toni. Welcome to the dawn of a new age, a new life, a fresh start filled with all the very brightest of blessings. To those who will share this new age, new life and fresh start with me, brightest blessings. And to those I leave behind as I step forward into the next adventure, brightest blessings as well.