Saturday, February 6, 2010

Staring down 50

Here it comes, whether I like it or not, 50...the big 5 0.

A couple of weeks ago I was getting a root canal, it was lovely. They had a monitor near my head with my personal information on it and my age said "49". Huh...that doesn't seem right and when I saw it on the screen it seemed way too old. I make no secret about it, I didn't like it.

As a younger version of myself I had visions of who and where I would be by this time.
Oh yes, I would probably be self-assured, successful and of course have buns of steal.
And this measure of success comes from what? I have no idea what 50 means other than half a century, 18,250 days on the planet, 438,000 hours alive?

What? 438,000 hours? That makes me wonder, if I were to take an accounting of how I spent those hours, would I be able to consider myself successful? Have I made good use of those many, many hours?

First I guess we would need to establish what success means. Success at 50 is a different animal than success at 40. By now our kids are getting fairly self-sufficient - we hope. How did I do with my children?

Good question, how did I do with my children? I guess we could ask them - I know that through my 2 decades of being Mom they have taught me how to be a better person; how to show up, why to show up, when to show up. Their training sounded something like this "Mom, Mom, Mom, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy...Julie!" Yes, they taught me to show up, bless their sweet little persistent hearts.

The inner realm of 50, my relationships, can I claim success?
In my lifetime I had established myself as the wise friend and consciously or unconsciously fostered dependency on me. As I zoom in on 50 I find an inexplicable willingness to restructure my relationships. When I wove myself in and through my peoples lives and made myself part of their structure I gave two messages.
The first was, "If you need me, and I am a part of your structure, then I must have value." Lovely. The second message was, "I do not trust you to figure your life out for yourself so I will insert myself here so that you do not fall." Double lovely.
Had I known at the time I was emitting these insecure and unfaithful messages would I have done it differently? Of course not, this was my manner of learning.

I find that today, 78 days before I surrender to my fifth decade on the planet I am willing to release those fragile perceptions that I was in control. There is a willingness in my heart to let go, let God. It's a ton of work to manage energy that you have no control over changing! There is a beauty in this surrender I am experiencing, the beauty that life can be a whole lot easier than I had constructed it to be.

So, staring down 50, am I successful? Is there any measure beyond the clarity and peace in my heart that decides this? Not for me. The success I claim is that I continue to be willing to look in to me, rather than out at you to determine if I measure up. Today, I feel that buns of steal or not, I am a success.