I’m waking up and it’s Chapter Two.
In my “life after fifty”, I now occasionally catch sight of daylight and realize there is a shift happening in my life. But what do I do about these questions I’m searching for the answers to?
I feel like the first 25 years of my life happened to me, rather than by me.
I guess there were choices, but looking back now, it feels like the choices were made for me. I never really felt like I was making decisions for myself. I had a happy childhood and a family that loved me. My parents sacrificed so much so that my brother and I could have a better life than they had. I’m deeply appreciative of their love and how seriously they took their responsibilities as parents. I would say I was relatively sheltered, they were strict and I was not much of a rule breaker, at least not that they ever found out about. I went to school, I worked, I went to college, got a career job, got engaged and got married. I was happy and never questioned much about my life. For the most part, I went with the path of least resistance. I did what I felt was supposed to do and what was expected of me.
The next 25 years passed at hyper-speed.
It’s like I was pedaling a bike as fast as I possibly could, speeding down hills so fast that I couldn’t take my eyes of the road directly in front of my tires to even look around for a moment or risk a fatal crash. At other times, it felt like I was pedaling strenuously up steep hills using every ounce of my strength to make it over the hump. Again, with neither the time nor the energy to even slightly twist my head to the side to look around for fear I’d lose momentum and slide backwards. So many good times, the best days of my life, indeed; the birth of my three children and the amazing and exhausting years of raising young children; the seemingly 24-hour struggle of working enough to pay the bills and keep the lights on, to buy a few (hundred) pizzas, wash a few (thousand) loads of laundry and log a gazillion miles on County Route 1 schlepping myself and the kids to and from our life.
It was a big, beautiful, wonderful, exhausting blur and the best years of my life for sure. Best o’ times (wink wink Tracey)…wouldn’t change a thing. I feel incredible gratitude for all that it was and an acceptance of what it wasn’t.
Now, I’m at the start of the next 25 (if I remain lucky).
The lucky part is no joke. Sadly, I’ve seen too many female friends bravely battle for their lives against cancer in the last few years. Some winning, a few losing – all inspiring examples of extraordinary bravery. And also scary as sh*t. Contemplating mortality is definitely a part of the prompt to evolve and find truth in life after fifty!
I know this is a bit cliché and melodramatic, but I really want to find me again while I still have time here on earth. Yeah, I still plan to continue mothering, working, schlepping and keeping things functioning at home. I’m still in for making chicken cutlets for Matty and for keeping the dog hair on the floor to small tumbleweed. But with my parenting role slowly minimizing…
I’m feeling a growing need for honesty and the fresh pursuit of personal joy.
A growing desire to be authentic and feeling less and less pressure to do what’s expected of me is exciting. With less pressure to pedal so fast that I can’t look around, I’m not looking for the path of least resistance anymore. I’m interested in and optimistic about finding the path that feels real and is my own.
Down with the B.S.!
Maybe it’s just a natural “what the hell do I have to lose at this point” kind of aging “rebellion”. I’m not sure, but I plan to find out. Slowly on some days, more quickly on others.
And why share this boring story? I’m hoping there is someone else out there who feels the same way and is nodding their head YASSSSSS as they read this.
I need inspiration and maybe other women my age do too. And maybe they aren’t finding women’s magazines featuring “1,000 ways to cook chicken”, and tips on “how to a please your man” so interesting anymore either. Maybe they are even finding those articles offensive, silly and irritating like I am. Why do women have to be so interested in saying, looking and doing what other people say they should? Ok. Never mind. That’s a topic for another day.
Life after fifty
For now, I’m going to go put the clothes in the dryer before they smell like mold and have to be washed a second time – and after that, I’ll start thinking about an action plan for exploring more of what’s real, what’s true and what’s next in life after fifty.
Cheers to the second half!
Click here to subscribe for new posts and share in the journey!