On Turning 50
“I do not ask to know,
I do not ask to see,
I ask only to be used.”
- Sufi Prayer
Today is my last day of my last year of the forties. Tomorrow is the first day of a new decade for me and so it seems only right that I start with the beginner’s mind. These last weeks of my 49th year have been a jumble of success and pain. I have been recognized outwardly as a success by large groups of successful people and earned lovely media coverage in the process. Oddly and ironically even, for all my longing and desire to be recognized by the world for my love work at Good Clean Love, this recent winning and all the external recognition that has come with it has fueled both my insecurity and a fierce inner search for what success means to me.
I learn and re-learn this most fundamental of all truths: that the world is made from the inside out.
It is timely to learn this again as I celebrate my 50th birthday. I am keenly aware of time and energy now as the truest resources of life. I watch now as the long period of daily mothering winds down along with my seemingly endless spurts of energy.
Now I have to choose where my energy goes and some must replenish the stock that has been poured into the childhoods of my four kids. Now I have to reconcile with the truth that the options are not endless. That time is actually the resource that is most limited.
I want to honor the time I have with the work that is truly mine to do. I want to be of use. The insistent pain in my shoulder has brought me to the beginning again. Discipline that seemed effortless is now requiring a new level of commitment. The skills that I was, not so long ago, cocky about, need to be reinvented again. If aging gracefully is anything it is the courage to know that life’s truth is seen best through beginner’s eyes. Real wisdom is embodied in the joy of this day, of the connection right in front of you.
I have been a giver for years. At 50, I am learning the gifts of receiving. Letting go of how I think things should look, or what I expect them to be and listening as an action verb are the fundamentals. Holding the space for others to find their own truth instead of insisting on telling them is a profound shift that only years could have given me. This active listening is how I am learning to discern what is really mine to do. It is how I might be able to hear in the deep ear inside my chest, where I might be of use. This is the age where willingness is soft, spirit is large and love is all there is time for.