The Chapter of 50


In less than 2 months I’ll be turning 50.  I can’t quite get my head around this.  I think I’ve avoided giving it much thought.  I can be a coward this way, but unfortunately, and you’d think I would’ve learned this by now, you can’t avoid the inevitable.

So, here I am; about to climb this mountain called “50”.  I’ve climbed the hill of 20, the butte of 30, the foothill of 40, but nothing compares by far to this.  If I want to be ready I’d better saddle up and get on with it.

So, as I clear my head and contemplate the next chapter in the Book of My Life I need to review what’s driven the plot to this point.  When I was young, life was a vast and limitless expanse without boundary and without end.  Anything was possible and there was no sense of urgency.  I had the luxury to be aimless.  This was just my nature no matter how hard I tried to be goal-oriented and structured.  To try to be anything else usually ended badly; running smack into that proverbial brick wall.

I’ve made some huge and tragic blunders along the way.  I still carry a heavy sack of regrets behind me but this too is my nature and part of this journey.  I haven’t yet learned to leave the baggage behind.  Something inside has yet to be discovered.

I’ve learned what may appear to others only a thimble full of things, but I know I’ve learned much more than a few buckets can hold, although not yet enough to fill the ocean.  They say this is called wisdom.  Well, sometimes those buckets spill and can’t always be banked on.  Not just yet.  Thankfully, buckets can be refilled.

So now I’m preparing to climb this mountain.  It doesn’t look impossible but it demands a different approach and different skills.  When I reach the top the End will finally appear somewhere on the horizon and will never leave my sight again.  I have no clue how close or how far it will be.  Oddly, it causes a giddiness to flutter inside of me.  Something whispers, “you’re almost there.”

I recall long ago reading that in Native folklore a woman wasn’t considered to be fully mature until she reached 50.  At the time, I didn’t consider what it meant beyond a good excuse to remain immature in a lot of the things I thought and how I handled myself then.  Now I’ve seen a glimmer of what that means and even that little glimmer is dazzling.  Maybe it’s just the glinting of the water in those buckets.

That quiet voice inside is telling me that the Chapter of 50 will be the best so far.  The anticipation of finally seeing the End appear isn’t something to fear.  It’s a candle in the dim world of youthful aimlessness; a brilliant point of focus.  Now, with my baggage and my buckets it’s time to climb the mountain and begin to fill the ocean.  Setting goals won’t bind me in unreasonable chains.  It will be kindling to stoke the fires of some unknown engine which will carry me to exactly where I’ve always wanted to go.  It’s now finally time to take the potential out of my pocket and fly it like a flag at the summit.  The woman inside is ready to take existence to her bosom with wisdom and without fear.  It’s finally time.

The inspiration behind these thoughts was fueled by a wonderful post on the blog Cancerkillingrecipe by a lovely woman named Anna.  The post is entitled My 65-th Birthday.  I encourage you to visit her world.  It’s an amazing place.