I am about to celebrate my forty-ninth birthday. FORTY-NINE. I shake my head at that number because as much of a blessing as it is (I know many will never live to see age 49), it seems like it came quickly. I swear my mom was just 49!
There’s something about being one year away from the big 5-0 that has me reflecting on the past three decades. Each decade has had a theme, although not an intentional theme, just one that evolved as I was living through those years. I decided I want my 50s to be a more intentional decade. I’m more than halfway through my life, so I think being intentional about how to live it is important! I already know that I want my fifties to be about embracing who I am and fully experiencing all life has to offer. I came to that conclusion through reflection on the past three decades…
My 20s were all about exploration. I explored, made good choices, made some terrible choices, suffered the consequences of those choices, and learned a lot. I think that’s a lot of what the 20s are meant to be- coming into your own, figuring it out, making some wrong turns and learning from them.
My 30s were the decade of struggle. Some of that struggle was due to lingering consequences of the bad choices in my 20s, and most of it was about struggling to be who everyone told me I should be. I was paddling upstream to climb the corporate ladder, and although much of that experience I enjoyed, I also didn’t realize there were so many other options of what I could be doing with my life. I remained in a dysfunctional marriage for way too long, again, because I was struggling to fit a mold of what I thought I needed to do and who I thought I was supposed to be. Thankfully my 30s ended on an upswing with a couple of major life changes that led me into what has definitely been the best decade of my life so far.
My 40s have been the decade of becoming; becoming the person who I truly am and have always wanted to be. “Becoming” was by no means an easy process. It included a lot of undoing and shedding of the things that no longer fit who I was and what I valued in life. It meant saying goodbye to people, places, and things that no longer aligned with the true “me.” It was about choosing me, above all else, not in a selfish way, but in a way that was best for me and therefore, best for everyone who knows me. It was about choosing not to allow people to treat me poorly just because I’d known them forever, and choosing not to spend time with those who do not fill me with joy. It was about saying no to things that were unaligned with who I am and saying yes to things I love simply because I love them. Ultimately, as I said, it has been the best decade of my life. This gives me great hope for my 50s, which, as I said is to be my decade of completely embracing and experiencing the fullness of who I’ve become.
So, as I approach 49, I am committed to making the last year of my 40s one of celebrating the journey of growth and of continuing every day to honor who I’ve become. Every good and bad decision in my 20s, every struggle in my 30s, and every layer I’ve let go of in my 40s have all led me to a beautiful place. I honor each version of myself and celebrate the life that continues to unfold.
Here’s to aging gracefully and enjoying each moment!