The Big 50


There’s something about these milestone birthdays. They get us thinking and reflecting more than usual. Well, I hit a big one this past weekend. The Big 50. I began pondering and reflecting.

Be careful what you wish for

For the whole year leading up to her turning 50, my mother fretted. She said all she wanted to do was sit in a funeral home and mourn her lost youth. She complained and expressed her wish so many times that my dad and her best friend organized a surprise birthday party for her. They staged it in a local funeral home. There was a large chair normally reserved for a widow that they draped in black. Someone got a bouquet of black carnations.

I never understood why she felt that way. I can understand it now, but I don’t feel the same way. I feel like I’m in my prime. I love my life and my work more than ever. I’m not mourning anything. I’m glad I’ve finally arrived.

What’s the difference?

My mom isn’t here anymore. On the morning of my birthday, at the time I was born, I visited the tree we planted with her ashes. I cried my tears and said my things.

I wish I could explore with her why she felt that way and how I feel differently. We had a pretty challenging relationship for most of my life. It didn’t lend itself to deep conversations about these things. So, I’m left to reflect and take insights from hindsight.

Our attitudes are 100% our choice. We control how we choose to look at every situation in front of us. And while we can’t control our visceral reactions, we absolutely control our responses.

I choose self-compassion. I choose to embrace whatever comes next. I choose to leave the past and my “lost youth” where it is.

What do you choose?

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