As I travel this year of 2008 the fact of my looming 50th birthday is never far from my mind, but it mostly feels like a special layer that I associate with this year – not something I obsess over daily. However, because I have many friends who also turn fifty this year, the subject regularly bubbles to the surface as another birthday approaches. Today one of my dearest friends turns 50. My husband and I have known her and her husband since college, since before they were married. We have, literally, grown up with them. They and their family are as much our family as the families we were born to.
Last night my husband and I sat in front of the fire talking, once again, about turning 50. He turned 50 in January and I thought he made the transition well. We had dinner last night with a couple who are both a little over 50 and the man said that he had really struggled with the milestone. I didn’t think my husband had struggled much, but when I asked him how he was feeling internally, he said that he did feel that he had a new sense of urgency – a need to do those things that were still hanging around, unaccomplished, in the back of his mind. He had a realization that if he is to do some of those things, they need to happen because there isn’t forever. I immediately understood what he was saying. Writing this blog is, for me, a way of doing something that I’ve wanted to do for years. I’ve talked about writing for more than twenty years, but, with the exception of a few feeble attempts, I haven’t done anything to pursue that dream. As 2007 was drawing to a close and I thought about 2008 and that looming half-century birthday, I, too realized that there were things I want to do that I simply have to “do” or they won’t happen.
A lot of us occasionally procrastinate and, while it’s frustrating to have a task hanging over our heads, it’s also a thrill when the task is finally in process and close to fruition. With my birthday just a little over two months away, I find myself feeling excited. I’m looking forward to being 50. I have life desires that I have procrastinated on and, like my husband, I realize that I need to look at those desires, decide which are truly important and act on them. It’s the thrill of taking a task and making it happen. Turning 50 is, for me, a wonderful wake-up call that reminds me to savor this day and make it worthwhile.