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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Six months till half a century

One of the most used clich├ęs of all time is "Life is short". And it is true. I never realized how short until fairly recently. I have been thinking about time and age and life and death a great deal of late. Probably because in exactly six months from today, I will turn 50 years old. Half a century! How does that happen?  Where does the time go?
 We don’t think about it very much, but about 100 years ago, a large portion of people never made it to 50.  
Here is a list of 59 people who didn’t make it to age 40.

By today’s standards, 50 is considered very young to die, and is still considered “middle age”.  I have an uncle who is almost 94. He  turned 50 forty- four years ago! That really puts it in perspective. But consider that there are still many people who never make it to 50 and that in certain regions of the world, 50 is considered old because the life expectancy and quality of life is radically different from what it is in this country.
Global life expectancy tables

So, here I am, looking 50 right in the face. My last 6 months of being in my 40s. The last decade has been an amazing adventure. As an example, I will share some of the highs and lows of the last decade:
I started working for the Department of Defense, which changed my professional life
I met, fell in love, and married my husband
I became a grandmother, twice
My youngest child turned 18 and my two older children got married and “grew up”
I began to fulfill my lifelong dream of becoming a professional writer
I accomplished many personal and professional goals
I experienced the death of a grandchild
I embrace a life of sobriety
I have had my spiritual and “religious” faith tested and have maintained and grown in it
I have watched both of my parents retire
I have seen friends and co-workers die, some at a very young age
I experienced 9 months of unemployment in 2009
I have seen the world change and technology grown in ways I could never have expected
As I approach my half century, I feel intense gratitude, love, joy, optimism, strength, pride in my personal and professional accomplishments; and I look forward to many more years with my loved ones and friends. I am not afraid of getting older, looking older or even feeling a little older. I am embracing and accepting that aging is inevitable and I rejoice in it.
Getting older doesn’t have to be a negative or depressing event. Quite the contrary! Consider the alternative- death. And although that too is inevitable, I am not focusing on it. I hope to have many more years to spend with my family, husband and loved ones. I have been fortunate and blessed in my life and I accept that when the time comes, I will be ready. I am thankful for the last 50 years and hope for a future that will allow me to continue growing and learning and becoming the person I was born to be.
I am so thankful for the last 50 years- the good, the bad, the ups and the downs. I have experienced incredible joy and devastating losses. I have seen the best life has to offer, and the absolute worst. But I can't complain because I have LIVED, and loved, and fallen and risen. I have made terrible, aching mistakes and I have triumphed over incredible adversity. 
I look to May 12th, 2012 with a sense of wonder and great humility, and I hope and pray that the   future will allow me to continue growing and learning and becoming the person I was born to be.

2 comments:

  1. Diana,

    Thank you for reminding all of us how lucky we are to turn 50 or to live over the age of 50. It looks you have accomplished a lot of things in your life. Yes aging is a process we need to accept (not always easy). My mother recently died at the age of 90. She was beautiful (never had botox or plastic surgery). He outside beauty was coming from her inner beauty. And her best ally was love: the love she gave us and the love she received in return.
    Diana, you seem so much attentionate to the ones you love too. It looks like you are going to live at least another half century. Happy Birthday with little advance !

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  2. 50 = wisdom

    That's my mantra and I'm stickin to it! Now I have to come up with a new one as I approach 60 in a couple of years ...yikes!

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