I just turned 50. I guess the first step to acceptance is admitting it. My turning 50 coincided with my grandmother turning 100 years old. And as with most old people, I began to reminisce about my life and the many lessons that my grandmother has given me. Then, a friend encouraged me to put those stories to print and write a memoir. At first I thought she was joking, and then I thought she might be drunk, but then I realized she was serious.
You know that internal voice that creates doubt and insecurity particularly for women, the one that reminds us that we don't really have anything important to say, we are not that accomplished and who really would care about our life stories. Yep, that one, well it was screaming in my ear and with equal volume my grandmother's voice was yelling back that when we share our life stories we become connected to each other. We become the inspiration for each other. Be brave and put it out there.
I pushed on and began to write about the many lessons that I learned from my grandmother, like the importance of absorbing and treasuring moments in life, to be grateful for our mistakes and flops as they often teach us more than our successes, to always share more, do more and love more -- to be greedy for life. I was encouraged to write the stories as if nobody would read them. So, I did. But then came the moment of truth when it was time to release the book and actually allow others to read about my life. I convinced myself that I was ready until I woke up one night in a cold sweat realizing that my father and my neighbors would now have information about my sex life. What was I thinking? I guess this is what it means to feel fully exposed.
I've heard that women in their 50s tend to be more confident and less concerned about what others think of them. As a new inductee into the 50-plus club, I hope those wise woman are right. My grandmother says that our purpose is often revealed during our most vulnerable times. I guess my purpose is soon to be revealed. In the meantime, I raise my glass and accept my initiation into the group of wise, confident woman in their fifties.
I will share with you that my birthday wish for myself is that despite the fear of looking ahead and anticipating what is to come as a 50-year-old woman, I continue to hold tight to my grandmother's voice and remain greedy for all that life offers. I wish that I live each day truly knowing that the moment I am standing in is all I know for sure. I want to greet each moment knowing this could be that moment that makes it to my next memoir -- the one that stands out as an extraordinary gift, which I will savor and tuck away to be used later when painful losses and disappointments wash over me.
I wish that I will always feel younger on the inside then I look on the outside. And I wish that I would always look younger on the outside than my birth certificate says I am. I'm just saying... I hope I keep my grandmother's spirit of integrity and her gift of forgiving. That I always, always remember how to laugh and I maintain a sense of adventure and joy in living, even when things get hard. And above all, I pray that I never lose her voice. That raspy, rough, screechy voice guides me when I am lost, points me in the direction of doing good, helps me to remember to swallow my pride and forgive, and that reminds me that a life without gratitude is an empty one.