I am perched comfortably in my bed, occasionally looking over at the clock. Right now, it’s 11:22pm and I am still 58 years old. I am hanging on to these last moments of this age because I still have the opportunity to say I’ll be fifty something one more time. Next year, well – that is certainly going to change.
It’s hard to wrap my head around the fact that I am entering the last year of my sixth decade of this life. Each segment of 10 years has seen so many life changing moments; so many ups, so many downs. As we all know the older we get the downs can become more serious. In our teens our downs may be those of missing a party on a Friday night or having a tiff with your BFF. In our fifties a down can be the loss of a parent or the loss of a career.
So, reflecting on those decades I want to focus on the really great things yet not forget the life altering bad things that may have happened. You see, I believe those things are what builds our character. The things that we can endure – “what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.”
As a young girl up to the age of 13 I was bullied relentlessly. If that doesn’t define your character, I don’t know what does. It can either kill you, literally or it can give you a sense of determination to prove all the bullies wrong. Later in life I realized that bullies have their own issues of insecurity and that there was nothing wrong with me, it was they who had problems.
My teens were some of the best years of my life. It was then that I came into my own, that instead of being that girl that no boy would ever look at, I had dates. Lots of them. I had wonderful boyfriends, amazing girlfriends. Friends that I still have – that I love and cherish.
I went to parties, I was a pom pon girl and so proud of it. I was nominated for Homecoming Queen which to this day I still can’t believe it happened to the girl that was bullied all those years…but it did.
In college I had my heart broken and thought I would never recover. Well into my twenties I nursed that broken heart, even had a brief marriage that I will always regret but never gave up hope that one day I would find “the one”. It was only when I just didn’t care anymore that “the one” came along. At the very end of that decade.
In my thirties I realized the one thing that I was truly born to do – be a mother. There is nothing in my life that compares to it. I’d always known I wanted children and having them has been the greatest gift of my life. They have brought me more joy than I ever thought possible and that first decade of raising them was quite possibly the best. They were little, they really needed me and I was smitten.
It was in my forties that my life would change dramatically. I started a business at 40 and for the first time, I had a solid career working for myself. I knew from experience I did not like working for other people – I am stubborn and want to do things my way. Taking that determination and becoming my own boss was a risky but determined move. I still have that business. But in the midst of those 40’s my world was rocked all in a moment when I found a lump in my breast. After a rough year, I would always be known as a cancer survivor.
By the time I hit 50, I was five years cancer free. My business was going well, my girls would go on to graduate college and my husbands business was successful. Life was great and I was grateful. Then my mother in law died. Then I lost my own mother. Then I had a second case of cancer and a double mastectomy. Then my father died of brain cancer. Then my favorite Uncle died suddenly. That was 2014. I’ve been terrified ever since what each year will bring. But I forge on.
There are many times in my life I wish I could go back to certain days. Certain good days that will always be indelibly printed in my mind. This life just surges by quicker ad quicker and I sometimes want so badly for it to slow down, for it to be still. I still want to do so much and pray often that I will have the opportunity for more decades.
I appreciate my birthday. I appreciate this life and all it has blessed me with. I appreciate my health. I appreciate my friends and my family. And, if God is on my side, I’d appreciate a few more decades to enjoy all these things.
I’ll end with this:
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