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.