I brushed my hair from my face this morning, tucking it behind my ear, and noticed the silver at my temples. Rather than thinking the usual “time to get my hair colored,” I took a good, long look and smiled.
And I turned slightly to see the gray reflected from a different angle.
A wonder, aging.
Something I’ve given a lot of thought in recent weeks.
I’m aging. A birthday is coming. One I cannot hold back, even though I would certainly like to. One I have tried to ignore, but one that is knocking, knocking, knocking.
Last week, during lunch with a student, I confessed that my birthday was coming and that, despite all my protestations, it was coming fast. She just laughed and told me that her aunt always said that getting older is sure better than the alternative.
She’s a wise one, that student.
My husband has been asking me for weeks what I’d like to do to celebrate. Since I haven’t considered this much of an event to be celebrated, I just replied, “Ignore it.”
It’s the closest thing to how I feel.
And yet, I can’t. Ignore it.
It’s coming whether I like it or not.
In fact, it’s here.
On Saturday, I will be 50.
I remember turning 20—so much fun, a lifetime of surprises ahead of me.
And at 30, standing in front of the mirror, one child on my hip. Wondering how I had gotten there, and observing how much I had changed in a decade.
I barely remember 40. Three kids by then. Crazy life. Reflecting on the chaos of my 30s and thinking that the 40s had to be better.
And now, 50. I’ve been standing in front of the mirror for weeks now, amazed at how my life has changed.
Feeling so. incredibly. grateful.
And when I look at it that way, with a heart filled with gratitude, I have to think that the 50s will hold good, good things.
For months I’ve been dreading my birthday, but if I’m really honest, that’s just vanity talking. It’s been me focusing on graying hair, flabby arms, extra weight.
My friend, Robin, turned 50 a couple of weeks ago (lots and lots of friends will turn 50 this year!), and she did something I have not been able to do: she embraced it. She celebrated. She dressed up and danced and found the grace to face a new decade and say, “Bring it.”
And she encouraged me with these words from Scripture:
“This fiftieth year is sacred—it is a time of freedom and celebration . . .” (Leviticus 25:10 CEV)
Isn’t that awesome?!
Sacred. Freedom. Celebration.
This week I’m going to reflect. I’m going to write. I’m going to try to reconcile myself to the fact that I’m 50 and to try to figure out what that means for me.
And at the end of the week, we'll celebrate.
Will you join me? If you’re already 50, will you tell me it’s not so bad? If you’re turning 50 soon, will you tell me how you’re handling it? If you’re not even close, go put on your skinny jeans and dance in the rain.