A day in November, 2019.
Today is the first day I am defined by a 5 in my age. First digit. It’s a big deal. I mean, I’ve thought about this day forever…like 50 years….or 14 years… or maybe just the past 3 months? I don’t know. I tend to exaggerate or use superlatives to describe the simplest things when I’m excited. I have mixed feelings. In the limo last night with my cousins, as we headed out to San Francisco to a comedy club for the evening, we got on the subject of birthday milestones. The conversation went from one cousin saying that 40 was a big one for her… because their mom was 42 when she died. When you reach the same age of the age your parent was when they died, it hits you harder than other birthdays. Unfortunately we all share this first hand knowledge. With the trauma of losing the parent, included in the grieving is a developed fear and anxiety around the age that you have to make it to…and then you can’t help but imagine what they were feeling when they knew they were leaving all of us behind.
My older cousin, brother of the first cousin who spoke of their mom’s death, said that it was in his 30’s where he felt pressure to get through those years. He was scared. Always living in fear of getting his shit together and getting it going….his mom died towards the end of his 20’s….and affected how he saw the rest of his life. His 30’s were mostly spent putting everything in to building himself, his career, his family… because he had to get it together…before THAT age. THE age. The age they lost their mom… 42. Breast cancer diagnosis at age 37. My cousins in the limo were 24 and 14 when their mom died.
My mom was their mom’s baby sister. My mom passed away at the age of 61. She was diagnosed with lung cancer at age 59. Non-small cell adenocarcinoma, Stage 4, at age 59. She was in her 50’s…. I turned 50 yesterday.
Like my cousins reaching 37, or their 40’s, and eventually 42, those birthdays affected them differently because of how old their mom was when she passed. They now have more milestones to fear or anticipate…or push towards. Life – your health – the milestones reached – your happiness… It matters and once you lose a parent, it seems common that the children start to see the stages of their own lives and reevaluate what they want out of life.
This milestone birthday places me in my 50’s. It gave me something to think about. It’s a “heavier” birthday, I explained to my cousin last night in the limo. His sister and I got deep for a few moments… We discussed why these ages affect us; How we see our own mortality; What our fears are at this age, every time we go to the doctor; Our phobias of taking care of ourselves, etc. We covered it all…quickly and intensely in the back of the limo, while on the way to celebrate my 50th in the city.
The mood got dark. Somber, cloudy, heavy, emotional, hearts were beating a bit faster… We sat for a moment in our thoughts, feeling the weight of the mood…
My cousin starts with a long winded, “Welllllllll, now that we brought the mood up, and are REALLY in the celebrating vibe, I hear the plague is making a comeback…“
Classic dark comedy that has always been our quick survival safety net… We are AMAZING at pulling the most inappropriate but ever so appropriate comedy out at the most perfect moments. Our Grandma taught us well. For the saint most people thought she was, she taught us how to laugh at the most inappropriate times. And in hindsight, or as maturity set in, we learned that life fucking sucks. Life is not easy. And that you will survive the hard shit. But only with a lot of alcohol, a bunch of weed, and/or thousands of dollars worth of therapy, amazing friends and family who catch you when you fall, brush the shit off you and stand you back up. And last but not least, a great fucking sense of humor to release the tension of heartache during moments you feel your heart is going to crack from grief, pain, loss….etc.
Sometimes it’s easier to just call it like it is – be sarcastic to deflect, simply to move the dark cloud over for a minute so you can just exhale for a minute. Life will be serious again tomorrow. It’s ok to breathe right now.
So, I’m 50. It makes you think. Aside from the added fear of my “50’s” – it makes you pause, look around and tally up the years, the accomplishments, the setbacks, the emotional state, the future…. blah blah blah. It’s so cliche – but it’s true.
The one question that I continued asking myself as this date was approaching was, what had i hoped to achieve by this age? (Some people, who try to help me see the positive in life and move only towards positive energy, would tell me not to go back down this path if it’s negative). I believe, for the sake of sharing and story telling, I should at least give the highlights…
* I would’ve been at my goal weight, 10 years ago, and would just been physically active, signing up for runs with friends, more group hikes and just BE a healthier person.
* Settled and accomplished in a long-time career.
* Would be in possibly my 3rd owned home, but this would be THE one. The comfortable, new, spacious, amazing energy house, with meditational sunset views, inspiring light filled space, with areas dedicated for creativity and development for my husband and my writing projects, outdoor peaceful living space and warm living space for holiday and friendship building entertainment. The home that makes me feel I made it. I’m here. Where I wanted to be. Me….
So as the calendar days go by and the day approached, I started to think about what I have had; what I have; how far I’ve come, but how far I still have to go….. Again, I appreciate the negative energy in my thoughts. But I need to speak it so I rid myself of it. If I don’t know what I’m trying to say goodbye to, I won’t know when it’s gone.
I am getting there. I’m in a house that I’d like to sell. It’s not THE home for me. I can see the right house is in my future, if I work towards it. I can have the yard, the space for creativity development, the energy, the meditational components — I can move on. Change our vibe. Change the energy. Improve our space and find one that meets all of our needs.
But it is time to let go. Time to move away from the emotional setbacks, the depression, the anxiety, the fear, the shame, the guilt…of where I’ve been, who I didn’t become, who I let down, decisions that didn’t work out, choices I made, but most of all, my own shadow. Something had hung over me for a long time and I’d like to believe that with turning this incredible age of 50, I am grown enough to let the bullshit go. The voices in my head that judge me, tell me how I should’ve done everything differently, the voices that tell me I only have myself to blame, and the worst voice…the one that tells me I’m too old to get a new chance. Fuck that voice especially. Time to let go of those voices.
I’ve never created a vision board. Always wanted to. They seem so spiritual and positive. I’ve heard of many women creating them. According to the good old internet, vision boards have been discovered in the cave man era, South Pacific indigenous people and native Americans. In the cave man era, they visualized the hunt. That makes perfect sense. They planned, visualized it. I’ve clicked on the top 5-6 websites that came up when I googled, “origination of vision boards,” in order to give proper credit to where they come from. In my results I stumbled across a couple of sites that disagreed with a vision board in the sense of cutting out pictures and posting them on a pretty board – fantasizing and dreaming of the big house, world wide travel, new career, bigger family, etc.
I find that I do not dive right into things, without doing my own research. However, because I read too much of the negative opinions, I often hesitate. It’s a problem. It creates a very difficult commitment pattern. I can find fault in EVERYTHING, so why would I trust ANYTHING? …I’m also working on this.
But in doing actual research to develop a balanced blog and cover my ass, I found that the reasons psychologists don’t support vision boards is because they don’t support the notion of hoping and fantasizing for success, without visualizing the necessary steps required to build oneself into that position.
Done. Sold. Makes perfect sense to me. I don’t pray for things. I don’t hope. But I do believe in speaking the energy into the world. Some may say that is their prayer. I just don’t believe in a God. Raised Baptist, I am finally settled in to who I am… I am agnostic. I believe in energy. I believe in the human spirit. I believe in our brain power. I believe that when I am moved by something, it can change the energy and that energy can change anything else if guided correctly. That’s my spirituality in a nutshell.
The vision board must create the vision of the steps that it will take to create what you are manifesting. BOOM. Mic drop. I just summarized it all for you. And me. And this…THIS is how I’m starting my 50’s. I will manifest the shit out of what I want in my life. What I want to achieve in my lifetime. I’m ready.
I have always felt that the small print of manifesting and visualizing what you want in life is code for, GETTING OFF YOUR FUCKING ASS. As much as that might be true, I can’t deny that I appreciate the emotional strength and character building that is organically developed and strengthened while you learn to get your shit together. Or reach your goals…. depends on the angle.
Manifesting is a new thing for me. It started to really develop in my conscious this past year. One of my best friends has been preaching to me for over a year about how I need to change the dialogue in my head, clear the bullshit negative talk, find and see my inner beauty, believe in myself, own the energy that it requires to manifest my goals in life….
More recently another friend who lives in Florida started to share her experiences with manifesting what she wants to bring into her life through positivity and giving back to her community. Another bestie from childhood started reading a book on manifesting and bringing into your life the things that bring you happiness or the things that you want to achieve. It’s on our minds. We are talking about it and sharing that energy and knowledge.
It’s buzzing. It’s catching on. Just like vision boards did. Pinterest probably has a whole, fancy, collection of the best quotes and books and workbooks and guides for MANIFESTING what you want in your life. I recently saw an Oprah YouTube interview where she discusses “manifesting”. And of course, go figure, it was Oprah’s words that connected…
‘’…You have to meet the vibration. You can’t be above or below it, …like negative energy and positive energy. In order to draw the thing to you that you want to come, you can’t want it so much that you fear that you won’t get it. You have to want it. And then let it go…. Meet that vibration and be ready when it shows up….” – Oprah
Those words connected. I mean, I’m of the Oprah generation so I connect to almost everything she says. But those words gave me a true sense of manifesting. I can honestly say that for me, manifesting is like meditating. It takes practice. Lots of practice.
That energy is something real and rare for me. I know when I’ve felt it. I know when it’s lacking. I think that during most of my life, it’s been organic. I remember the passion that set my soul on fire during various stages of my life. That fire that drove me to do the big things in life. The energy was raw and pure, and during those times, full of youth. The adults told me I could be anything, do anything, I just had to push myself.
My passion for stuff was overwhelming at times. I had passion! But looking back, I realize I had no idea how to manifest it into a lifelong fulfilling career.
Here I am, at 50, trying to manifest what I want in life. I believe I have enough quality experience, developed wisdom and valuable failed attempts, to make better calls moving forward. If not, at least I’ve gotten a lit bit better at not giving a fuck.
Better than that, at 50 I’ve stopped caring about who cares if I say or write the word, “fuck”. Ok well, I care a little bit because, oh I don’t know why. I just care what people think, still, sometimes. Dammit.
I just need to grow up. And own my shit. And be an adult. And live my life. And find happiness. And find myself. And be proud of who I am, even if I don’t feel I’ve “become anyone”, yet. The ONE thing I have become, is a mom. Twice – and raised a bonus son. And I AM proud of how I’ve raised my children. I showered them with love, acceptance, freedom to develop who they are organically, and kept them in their books, taught them how vital homework is, etc. — So academically, they became the opposite of me. I couldn’t be prouder of the fact that I broke the cycle and set them on their paths with the hunger for knowledge. They both have such deep passion for life, I couldn’t be happier. Yes, I’ll give myself a tiny pat on the back for THAT accomplishment.
But for me, this woman, I just need to grow up. I don’t feel 50. Yet I know that this age expects things out of me. And I expect a lot from myself. Let’s see what these 50’s bring…. I’ll keep you updated. 😉