“I know it seems I’ve always been around, but my movie career didn’t begin in earnest until I was 50 years old. These last 30 years have been the best of my life, and I’ve learned a lot on this journey. I’ve learned that with all the advantages of being a grown-up come responsibility: responsibility to be true to yourself, to honour those who came before you, to leave the world a better place when you go.” Morgan Freeman
A few months before entering my 50th year of life, interesting thoughts and ideas began floating up into my consciousness. Thoughts about the significance of celebrating 50 years of life began percolating with such persistence, that I decided to pay close attention to my inner voice, to see where this journey of self-discovery might lead.
1 A pervasive feeling of disbelief remained, and still remains a constant. Although the birth certificate states 1968 as the year of my birth, it doesn’t initially feel as though half a century has passed. However, thinking back about some of the interesting experiences in which I’ve participated, underlined by the dates of those experiences, I can’t but accept that I am Turning 50.
“F*#k you. I’m 50. That’s what I’m going to say when I turn 50.” Madonna
2 Some folks claim to experience a feeling of ‘If not now, when?’, when Turning 50. Consequently, this feeling may prompt a change in behaviour or lifestyle.
The passing away of both of my parents twenty-five years ago taught me the value of ‘If not now, when.’ Before falling ill, I remember my mother wistfully daydreaming about what she and my father would do, once retired. Neither actually reached retirement age. This taught me to identify what I wanted to accomplish, and to do it N O W. In fact, shortly after our wedding, my husband Alvis and I, sat down to discuss this very topic. It was interesting to discover that we both wanted to live a life of adventure. (I made notes during this discussion, which I have saved all of these years. It is fascinating, illuminating, and kinda comical to re-read the thoughts of your 25 year old self…..!)
While Alvis and I have enjoyed travelling, moving to and living in South America for over ten years, and now living in Europe, I feel like we have well adhered to our original idea. While intimately familiar with the concept of ‘If not now, when?’, I am now training myself to say yes to all manner of new experiences.
“I celebrated by throwing a big bowl on the pottery wheel, then going for a water ski at the lake on our property in the Catskills, and that night, skinny-dipping under the stars. Just being free and joyful. And that’s how I felt about turning 50.” Marcia Gay Harden
3 Contemplating Turning 50 has generated a wonderful feeling within myself – one of self-assuredness, that stands in contrast to my sense of self in my previous decades.
My twenties were a tumultuous decade fraught with learning to live with the loss of my parents, and learning to live within a marriage. (Yes, people – that is a real thing…!) My thirties were consumed with establishing myself professionally And my forties were defined by learning to live and prosper in two of the four corners of the world. Each decade was a constant pursuit of something, trying to prove myself, measuring and comparing myself to those around me.
As my 50th year approached, I have taken stock of myself, and a realization took root, germinated and started to bloom. I am fine as I am.
This realization while new, is welcome. It engenders a feeling of being calm, of not feeling pressure to prove something, of knowing my own competence.
This feeling allows me to listen and understand someone else’s point of view, without having to present my own; it gives me the confidence to chart my own path despite the negative opinions of others; and interestingly, it also motivates me to improve myself.
I am fine as I am. And you are fine as you are.
“I feel the older I get, the more I’m learning to handle life….being on this quest for a long time, it’s all about finding yourself.” Ringo Starr
4 Entering my 5th decade, the day I turned 49, I decided that I wanted to honour the year that I ‘Turned 50’ by living the next two years as fearlessly as possible.
Acknowledging the feeling of disbelief in ‘Turning 50’ made me realize that I am still kicking ass, and that I can kick ass. This lead to the decision to ‘Ride the Stelvio Pass….again.’ (next blog post) on my actual 50th birthday.
Internalizing the idea of ‘If not now, when?’ made me decide to travel as much as possible in the next 24 months, to set new athletic goals for myself, and to visit as many friends as possible.
Understanding that ‘I am fine as I am’ prompted me to create a list of as many things as I’ve ever wanted to experience. As it turns out I have a diverse and varied set of curiosities, which I’ve planned to realize within these two years. And I’ve decided to chronicle them all in this blog called ‘All Those Who Wander Are Not Lost’, which I will post every week on Friday evenings.
I have already spent one year travelling, experiencing, enjoying and chronicling many of the things on my list. And I am joyously looking forward to the next twelve months of adventure!
Please join me and let me know your adventure with list, and share your bucket list. Maybe our adventures will cross paths!
‘Turning 50’ is fabulous!
Ciao for now, Nora