On this day in the year of our Lord, one thousand, nine hundred and sixty-four, at approximately 2pm in the afternoon, I was ushered into this world. My father, so the story goes, had waited and waited and waited for me to make my entrance, and figured going for a sandwich would be safe, and of course it was while he was eating lunch that I arrived. I like to joke that he has been out to lunch ever since. Love you Dad!
50 years has passed. FIFTY YEARS. Half a century. Given the general life span of the human species, it is safe to assume I have more years behind me than ahead of me, although Tony DePasquale, my dear maternal grandfather, is giving the universe a run for its money at 95 years of age and still ticking.
I am grateful for the life I have. Oh sure, I get out of bed every morning reminded of the delicate nature of our bodies, with plantar fasciitis making my left heel complain, and my right shoulder with its torn rotator cuff which needs repairing giving me what for. Also, I could stand to lose 40lbs and I have a zit. I am 50 freaking years old and I have a zit. The universe is HILARIOUS sometimes.
But I also have a lot of love. I have The Bob and The Coop, two people I truly never expected to have in my life, who bless me every day with their exuberance and laughter. I have a home that most of the time doesn’t aggravate me, even if it lacks a garage and central air. I have a job that, when I am able to step back from the cranky parents and the instant gratification demanding students, allows me to help people advance their dreams, and become something more than they were yesterday. I have super spectacular friends who care enough to successfully plan and pull off a surprise birthday party and whose children are such wonderful little people I am so very glad to know. I have friends and family across the country whose existence in my life makes it full and colorful. For all of this I am truly, humbly grateful.
There are a variety of life lessons I have learned that I could share now, but really, most of them are only useful when you learn them yourself, on the job so to speak. I will say this: I think the most important step we can take in our lives is to stay open to the possibilities. The biggest mistake people make is thinking in absolutes. Life must be this way or that. I must achieve this or that, by this age or that age. I love when ask me in an interview “Where do you see yourself in 5 years.” I HAVE NO IDEA. 12 years ago at this time I was recently separated from my first husband, grieving but OK with that change of events. A year later I was watching fireworks with the man who would bring love and laughter and motherhood into my life. 14 years ago this month I took a HUGE risk and took a job as the director of aid at a tiny college that was reinventing itself. I am still here, working along side some of the most talented people in higher education I could ever ask to meet, and that college has more than doubled its enrollment and added graduate programs. I am taking karate classes. I am a PTO mom. I didn’t PLAN any of these things. Opportunities present themselves, it is up to us to step forward into the unknown and make the most of them. They don’t all work out, or at least not the way you expected. But that is life. Nothing works out the way you expect. Sometimes it sucks out loud, and other times it exceeds your wildest dreams. You just have to ride the wave and keep on going.
I will continue to try to stay open to the possibilities. I will try to be quiet enough to hear the universe telling me the secrets it wants to share with me. I will try to love with all my heart and be grateful every single day for the people in my life, near and far.
Today I am fifty. And so far, fifty is nifty.