Tuesday, June 3, 2008

50 for 50

My 50th birthday was last Saturday and to help me celebrate fifty friends and family members joined me for a Ladies Luncheon at a local restaurant. Prior to the luncheon, I asked each of the women to think about how they would finish the sentence, If I knew then what I know now, I would/would not have __________. At the luncheon everyone received a small piece of paper on which to write their sentence and I read a few random entries after lunch. Eventually I plan to type them all up and send them out to those who attended. Last night I finally had time to read through all of the submissions and what I found was an amazing wealth of attitudes and advice. Here is a sampling of the entries:

· I would not have been so stubborn. –age 14
· I would not have been so cautious. –age 50
· I would not have been so mean to my mom. I love her. –age 36
· I would not have done things so late at the last minute. –age 9
· I would have enjoyed each day without any regrets from the past or worries about the future. –age 45
· I would not have lost touch with some very close friends. I would love to be sharing their lives. –age 42
· I would have worked harder and studied in school more. Taking time off to figure out what I would be passionate about. –age 49
· I would have started my own business 25 years ago instead of working for dorks. –“ageless”
· I would have cherished my family more deeply and told my mom that I loved her everyday. –age 49
· I would have been less stressed out over unexpected changes and events and more open to the adventure of not knowing exactly what comes next in my life. –age 45
· I would have appreciated my “young” body that was fine but that I felt wasn’t. –age 41
· And my personal favorite: I wouldn’t change a thing. My mistakes and achievements have been the building blocks of who I am – I just can’t imagine removing any of those building blocks because that would change the magnificent person I am because of them. –age 43

When I first came up with this exercise, I hoped that it would show the girls and young women attending that there is so much they can do. While I think the words can definitely be addressed to those in the 30-and-under category, I also think they’re applicable to all of us today. We can all use a reminder to enjoy each day, to stay in touch with friends, to tell those important to us that we love them, to appreciate who and what we are now rather than waiting another ten years to look back with appreciation. As one person wrote: Be happy. Be present. Live in the now!

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