People always ask each other, “How does it feel to turn 50? Or 40? Or 30?” No one really asks about turning 51, or any age that is not a “milestone”.
I was perfectly happy turning 30 – life was good – newly married and looking forward to the future.
Turning 40 wasn’t bad either – happily married with two beautiful daughters.
I cried when I turned 45. Oddly, I had no idea why I was crying. I now think that I may have had some kind of premonition of what was coming.
Two months after my 45th birthday, my husband died unexpectedly. The next 4 – 5 years were the most difficult of my life. It is beyond challenging to become a single mom and keep everything together while both you and your children are grieving. I was very unhappy for a long time.
Last week was my 51st. Five days after my birthday, I received a “Happy Anniversary” message from Word Press. I had started my blog one year ago. Both of these days are huge milestones for me.
A few months before my 50th birthday, I felt like I was finally beginning to recover. I began to feel like a “person” again and not just a “widow”. I also felt that there was somewhat of a “new me” emerging and that I was going to be slightly different moving forward.
My now teenage daughters were both in a good place which is always the most important thing to me.
Around this time I found myself in a new relationship – a good one, and that made me happy.
My 50th birthday was a pleasant one. No huge party, I was just happy being with the people closest to me. I wasn’t obsessing about getting older. I was looking forward to a better time in my life, possibly some kind of new chapter. At that point, I had no idea exactly what a new chapter meant for me. I just felt that a change was happening, and that I was no longer stuck.
Five days after my 50th, I suddenly decided to start a blog. I did not know much about blogging, so I did what anyone would do – I googled it. Then I closed my eyes, hit “publish”, and hoped for the best.
This was what changed my life. People actually read my blog and the feedback was incredible. I could write.
I had pretty much gone through 50 years without ever finding a “thing” that I excelled at. I was always terrible at sports, my grades in school were good but never spectacular, I couldn’t dance or sing, I was not an artist, I can barely swim to save my life, no amazing sense of fashion. I was always just me, happy with myself, but nothing “stood out”.
At 50 years old I finally found it – my “thing” was writing. I began to write non-stop. Not just for my blog, but all kinds of websites began to publish my work. This was so exciting for me. Every time my work was accepted somewhere, I felt this huge sense of accomplishment.
In a roundabout way through my writing, I began taking yoga classes. It was something brand new for me, but after a small amount of time, I fell in love with it. My intenion in starting yoga was to do something good for my body. Not only did yoga help accomplish this, it has become an unbelievable tool for my mind. Yoga has taught me how to let go of some of the anger I had towards my situation. It has truly helped me to become a better peron. With this, my new relationship has also been able to develop in a wonderful way.
A year has quickly passed and I am now 51. I was sad to see 50 go, not because I am getting older, but because my 50th year was an incredible journey. While I am still the same person, I have become a much better version of myself. I am much stronger and more self confident, while I also believe that I have become a kinder person who truly wants to help others.
The one thing that I wish is that my husband was here to see the “new me”. Sometimes I’m not sure he would even recognize this new version of me. I do like to believe that he can see the girls and I somehow. That he smiles when we are doing well, and that he is happy that I was able to finally move forward.
With a little luck, I hope that my positive journey continues in my 51st year.
“Hot yoga has really helped me through this. I will take a class with you if you want to give it a try.”
Although there was laughter in my head, I did not let it out. I didn’t want to insult the woman I was on the phone with. I had never even met her.
I had started my blog, “The Widow Wears Pink”, only two months earlier. I loved that I was starting to reach women from all over who were also widowed. The woman I was speaking with happened to live in my town, yet we had never met before. We were chatting about our situations and how we have gotten through the hard times. That was when she mentioned hot yoga.
Yoga? HOT yoga? I didn’t think so. When I thought of yoga, I imagined the graceful people you see in pictures or on TV who hold themselves in beautiful poses without breaking a sweat. That was NOT me. I am not the least bit graceful. I walk into furniture in my own house and have fallen down while walking in high heels. I would completely embarrass myself in a yoga class.
I said all of this to my new friend on the phone but she kept encouraging me. She explained how she had the same fears but she gave it a chance and fell in love with it.
She somehow convinced me. One Friday morning I met her at the 9:30 AM class at Powerflow Yoga. She brought me an extra mat and showed me where to get blocks (blocks? what did I need blocks for??). She then introduced me to the instructor and explained to her that it was my very first class.
I was nervous but there was no turning back. We walked into the full room and set up our mats in the corner which seemed like a good idea, but we were also in the front row which seemed like a bad idea. People were going to stare at me!
I need to reiterate how I truly knew NOTHING about yoga. The class began and everyone in that room seemed to know exactly what they were doing. I was clueless and it felt terrible. This was way out of my comfort zone. Just when I was considering an escape through the back door, the instructor came over to me and explained how to do the poses. She was so patient and understanding that it was my first class ever. She truly made me feel comfortable. What amazed me was that while she was giving me individual attention, she was also still teaching an incredible class for everyone else.
I was doing yoga (well sort of). I was also sweating (a lot). Hot Yoga is hot! When the class was over I was soaking wet and exhausted. The instructor came over to me and told me to drink a lot of water. She also said I did pretty well for my first class (still not sure I believe that).
The thought in my head was – although I was sweaty and exhausted, I didn’t hate it. Coming from me, that is a rave review. I have never been big on working out at the gym because that is something I do hate.
I was proud of myself for making it through, and I saw a tiny glimmer of hope that this was something I might grow to like. Before I left that day, I signed up for a trial month at Powerflow Yoga. That is how my yoga journey began…
*** If anyone is interested in trying Powerflow Yoga in Livingston, they are now offering a free week for new clients who would like to try it out. Just mention my name or The Widow Wears Pink! I believe in paying it forward – if you would like to have a friend for your first class, please lmk and I will join you – just like my new friend did for me 🙂