The only gift I wanted for my 50th birthday last June was time with my family. I did not want a party. I did not want a new piece of jewelry. I did not want a new car or a new face. I did not want an extravagant birthday splurge. I only wanted to spend time with my husband, daughter, and her boyfriend and have time to reflect on life, my life. I wanted to take time to reflect on where I have been, and where I want to go. My birthday went as planned, or as unplanned, as I had hoped for. The day was both inspirational and completely uneventful. Perfect.
My birthday is in early June. Spring. A time for renewal. Life begins again, and sometimes life is just beginning, as is evidenced by nature during springtime. As a teacher, June marks the beginning of summer vacation. Rest, recharge, and renew. Those three “Rs” were especially meaningful to me last June, as 2019 marked not only reaching the half-century milestone, but the passing of my father last Valentine’s Day.
A beautiful 50th birthday. We enjoyed six days in Eugene, Oregon with our daughter and her boyfriend, then my husband and I spent five days in Vancouver, BC.
As I reflect on my life at the mid-century mark, I feel mixed emotions. I feel joy and accomplishment, and some sadness and regret. I have heard people say, “I live my life with no regret.” I wonder, do they really? I cannot help but feel some regret over unrealized dreams and sadness surrounding the people I have lost through the years. To help overcome any sadness and regret I am feeling during this life milestone, I have decided to draft fifty stories from my life. Not one story for each year, but fifty stories that stand out to me for one reason or another and that make up the tapestry that is my life. My hope is that these stories will remind me of the many gifts I have been given and the many obstacles I have overcome, and in doing so help to soften any sadness or regret I might be feeling as I contemplate life at 50.
It is my hope that these stories will reach others who either find themselves at the same life mile-marker, or those who are so brave as to get a sneak peek into the musings of life from a 50-year-old perspective. Regardless of which tribe you belong to, I hope that these stories bring inspiration, laughter, and reflection to you, wherever you are on your life journey. I am working on these stories each week and when the 5oth story is completed, I will determine how and where I will share. I invite you to join me on this journey and begin drafting your own life stories.
One lesson living 50 years has taught me is that I control very little, and as a reminder of that lesson, I will allow the stories to flow through me organically, letting each thought plant the seed for the next thought. Relinquishing the need to know where I am going before I begin. After all, when does life EVER look like that? Some chapters may focus on one specific story or person and other chapters may detail several shorter stories that share a common theme.
I expressed one wish for my birthday and my family lovingly obliged. One month later, I have one wish for myself. I wish for the time and the discipline to sit long enough to reflect and write 50 stories that have contributed to my life tapestry. If you are reading these words and celebrating or approaching your 50th or you would like to take this journey with me, regardless of your age, it is my greatest desire that you give yourself the gift of time – time to write your own stories, and when done stand in awe of what you have accomplished and where you have yet to go.
Copyright © 2020 Michele Lee Sefton. All Rights Reserved.