Monday, December 07, 2015

Help Wanted

This is the last week of my 40s.
That's right - a week from today, I turn 50.

How can this be?
How will this be?


I have no desire or interest in living until I'm 100, so I won't say that I am entering the second half of my life. I suspect that I entered the second half of my life sometime in the last ten to twelve years.

I am asking for your help.

From those of you who are adept at self-care and celebration, I need help in figuring out ways to celebrate, to remember, to enjoy this last week of this decade of my life.
What can I do this week to celebrate 50 years?
What can I be looking back at and recalling?
What can I be journaling about?

From those of you ahead of me on the journey, I need help in figuring out what I should look forward to in my 50s.
What have you enjoyed most about your 50s and 60s and beyond?
What makes the 50s better than the 30s and 40s?

From those of you not yet this far along the road of life, I need help with not giving in and giving over to some unnecessary definition of being middle aged. Help me to stay young.
What do I not have to give up in this new decade?

Forty-three days ago, I began counting down "50 days until 50" in my journal.
I have thought and written about friends and places, songs and stories,
hairstyles and fashion styles, schools and jobs, trips and moves in my lifetime.
I have reread old journals and flipped through photos and postcards and letters from earlier in my life.
I have read texts and emails and letters from dear ones, past and present.
I have followed recipes, eaten favorite foods, and recalled excellent meals I've enjoyed.
I have been grateful, grateful, grateful, grateful.

I have also remembered losses, heartbreaks, rejections, abandonment.
I have also remembered bad decisions, bad choices, and bad friendships.
I have also remembered being afraid, being angry, and being confused.
I have also remembered kanswer, chemotherapy, and surgery.
I have also remembered falls and burns and scrapes and scars.
I have also remembered weeping, wanting to run away, and wishing it could all be different or better or something other than whatever "it" was.
Still, even with these less joyful memories, I am grateful.
Because, thus far, I have survived every challenge I have faced.
I have learned, I have grown, I have been transformed.
I am learning. I am growing. I am being transformed.
Not always easy. Not always happy. Not always fun.
But here I am, still here, still strong, still thriving, still grateful.

I need your help, friends.
What's next?
But where and how?
When and with whom?
I am in seminary, it's true. I am taking classes and preparing to love, serve, and encourage people for the rest of my life. Can you give me ideas and suggestions of how to put all this education to use in this broken, violent, wonder-filled world?

Fifty years old.
Fifty years young.
Fifty years for which I give thanks.

"7 days until 50."

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