Thursday, August 19, 2010

Late Summer Reflections: 50 Trips Around the Sun

Late Summer View ~ Dry & Hot

It is the third week in August. Late summer. Almost time for the kids to be back in school. Time to get in that last minute summer vacation.

Some call it the “dog days of summer”. Though the weather is still blazing hot, I know that autumn is just around the corner. Every August I realize this, and every August seems to sneak up on me suddenly as if I didn’t know it was coming. As if I couldn’t read my calendar.

Can you spy the veggies in between the weeds?

There are major weeds in my vegetable garden right now. I have really neglected it this year. I never even got most of it planted, and now it’s too late. For this year anyway. It’s just too hot out, and I have been too busy with other things to pay much attention to my beloved garden. The garden that feeds me. The garden that I enjoy so much.

The late summer season and my neglected garden seem to be metaphors for my own life. I feel as though I am entering my own late summer season, and I am aware that I have neglected many important areas of my life over the past few years.

Oh, I have been busy, not lazy at all. I always have something going on. Some project or plan on which I am working. It just seems that much of my time and energy have been siphoned off lately taking care of other people’s problems, cleaning up other’s messes and trying to find balance in my life that I swear I used to have. I haven’t spent enough time on the things that I love the most in this life. I need to focus more on the things (and beings!) that make me truly happy, that inspire me, that help me to grow and evolve my soul.

Whispering Jessie ~ My Sweet Kitty

Jack & Bob

Each August I think about these things, but particularly so this third week in August of this particular year. This is a special time for me.

Today is my 50th birthday.

At exactly 10am today I turned 50 years old. That’s the big five-oh. A half century. I am a “semi-centenarian”, if there is such a thing.

I guess I am feeling this birthday much more than I felt my 40th or my 30th. With this birthday come many things that have to do with the aging process that I don’t really like.

Physical body changes. Sleep disturbances. Weight gain. Forgetfulness and distraction. Acute mental and emotional awareness that I am not a young woman anymore. These are some of the things that I don’t really like.

The medical people refer to me as a “post-menopausal woman”. Great label. Thanks. Thanks, so much. Accurate, but not very flattering.

Aches and pains seem to occur more frequently now. Stiffness. Especially in the morning upon waking. Waking, that is, if I even get any sleep at all during the night.

I went bra shopping the other day. I really needed some new ones as my old ones were so tattered and worn. This is not a chore that I look forward to. Standing there in the unflattering vaguely blue-green florescent lighting in the department store dressing room looking at that middle aged woman staring back from the mirror at me. That can’t be me, I think to myself. I don’t feel like that woman looks. Didn’t I just turn 20, like yesterday? This woman’s body is overweight and saggy! That can’t be me. And these bras don’t fit like they used to fit on my once thin and sexy young body. It depressed me for a few minutes. Not a long time, I recovered my good mood fairly quickly, but it’s still not a fun task to shop for clothes or intimate apparel these days. Forget about bathing suits.

I need to get in shape and lose some weight. I am not happy with how my body looks or performs. I need my strength and flexibility back. It will take work, but I must do it, and do it soon. I want to feel strong, vibrant and sexy.

When I look in my mirror these days, I see my Mom looking back at me. Now, I love my Mom dearly, and I think she was a very pretty woman, but I am not ready to look as old as she was when I last saw her at age 73 (she passed away 13 years ago). I see more and more of her in my mirror each passing day. I say “Hi Mom” and walk away from the mirror.

My 40th birthday seemed like it was going to be a milestone. A turning point. My entry into middle age. But it really didn’t have a major effect on my psyche. It came and went largely unnoticed.

I remember on my 30th birthday, I sent my Mom a bouquet of flowers with a special note attached saying “Mom, thank you for having me. I love you.” She loved all flowers, and my gift really touched her heart. She thanked me over and over again. I am so glad that I did that for my 30th and did not wait, because my Mom wasn’t here for my 40th. I am glad I got the chance to thank her for creating me, raising me and giving me her love and wisdom. I do still miss her so very much. Especially on my birthday. She always made my birthday very special with her fun gifts wrapped in colorful papers and ribbons.

My Mom ~ Jennie

I think maybe that’s why this 50th birthday is making me pause and think so much. Maybe I am just really missing my Mom right now. I miss her nurturing and her acceptance. I miss her passion for life, her laughter and her love.

A lot has been going on in my life this past year. A lot of changes. A lot of responsibilities. A lot of stress. I have had to deal with letting go of things that I had been holding onto for a very long time. Letting go of some things from my childhood, too. I’ll write more about these things another time, but for now, I guess I have been a bit too focused on my own aging because of having to let go of my childhood things. All at once. With me sort of kicking and screaming to keep hold of them. At age 50. Sheesh.

I need to learn which things to keep and which to let go freely. I need to get my balance back. My joy. My passion. My zest for life. I need to look forward to new chapters in my life. My fifties. OK. If I have to. There are worse things than growing older.

I actually like my life. I am loved. I have friends. I have family. My home is comfortable and pleasant. I have plenty to eat. (too much usually!) I really do have it good. I need to focus on those positive things more often.

This milestone 50th birthday has been a wake up call for me to actively improve the things in my life that need improving and to let go of the things that are not working to make me happy.

It’s time. I have much work to do.

I will start tomorrow.

Today we celebrate and eat cake & ice cream!

Happy Birthday to me! I love you all. Thank you for being in my life. ♥

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