On Being Fifty

People keep asking today, “How does it feel to be fifty?” So, I’ll say it here.

It feels amazing! This, from a person who hates the over use of the word amazing.  This here really amazes me.

When I was in my late 20s, after a couple of years of being sick and tired, I got a really scary health diagnosis, and was told to prepare to live another ten or so years.


So, being a stubborn, scientific type, I went to the library. I ignored the doctor, failed to put a bar in my shower, and did not make plans to get to assisted living when I needed it. I did not show up when it was time to take treatments, in fact, I declined to participate in studies.  I figured if I had to die, I was going to go out whole – after a life fully lived.

First decision- I stopped eating anything that didn’t help my physical self to balance. I kept telling myself, “My body wants to be whole. Let me help.”

Secondly- I signed up for Tai Chi. I learned to meditate. I got a therapist. I practiced yoga. I prayed. Not one after another, but simultaneously. My evenings were entirely made of wholeness. I would visit the doctor periodically, to confirm what I already knew. That helps.

And then, my body healed. But I’m not writing this to tell you what a “Brave Lady Who Decided To Trust What Is” I am.

I’m writing to say thank you.

Thanks for changing your recipes so I could still come to the party.

Thanks for slapping cookies out of my hand.

Thanks for holding meetings on the floor when I was tired, without a second thought.

Thanks for walking more slowly, instead of telling me it might be time for a wheelchair.

Thanks for giving me happy music to listen while I exercised.

Thanks for letting me nap on your couch.

For praying with and for me, both when I saw you and when I didn’t.

Thank you for allowing me to believe that I could live.

And thanks for saying, “if this doesn’t work, I’m calling your doctor. And your mom.”.

But it worked. Because we let it!  That is amazing! And thanks for being happy for me that I am middle aged. It is my proudest accomplishment.

Point is, I’m really, really alive and kicking. This afternoon, the husband I swore I never take because it’s not fair to get married only to make a widow and I are going to pick up the kid I didn’t think I’d want to conceive and wouldn’t be able to see grow up from a camping trip with her friends. And yes, I’ll be the oldest mom waiting for her camper to unload and that feels like Grace.

Grace, Grace, and more Grace.

Thanks, Amen.

About thanks amen

Michelle is an artist from Milwaukee, Wisconsin whose professional experience spans working as an educator, nonprofit executive, and consultant. She has a fear of clowns and pecans, and works every day to listen at least twice as much as she talks.
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