Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what happened.

Jennifer Yane

It’s hard to believe in a few short hours I’ll be 49. I don’t feel 49.  I feel…well? Young!

Like I always have on the inside, with a slightly heavier and slower body. Emphasis on “slightly.”

And much more optimistic than on other niner years.

At 19, I was depressed. It could have been all the change that comes from being a freshman in college. Feeling out of control with too much homework; sharing a small room with 2 other people; listening to my mother ask me to drop out, come home, and get married; and juggling 2 guys.

The guys tuned in to my birthday dread. Ironically, both bought me the same card – mocking my concerns with arriving at such an “old” age. (Although, one card was ‘supersized’ – I had no idea card size mattered.)

At 29, it was all about still being single. While still technically a 20-something, 30 something was right around the corner. And you know what they say, if you’re not married you must be gay!

It couldn’t possibly be because I was just coming out of an emotional coma after years of cancer and death. But why did I feel the need to explain?

Oh, and then came 39 – and I wasn’t a mother. I wasn’t even sure I wanted kids at the time. My biggest fear was being a single mom. I’d watched too many women struggle after divorce. Not something I wanted for myself or my kids. Teaching Sunday school for 5 years was fun, and filled my kid space.

So it seems nice to have a much calmer niner year.

Well, maybe calmer isn’t the right word. Perhaps I’m getting used to life throwing curveballs and realizing most everyone has something going on in their life and that I’m not that special. I guess I’m just happy to be here and still have a life ahead.

Wisdom doesn’t necessarily come with age. Sometimes age just shows up all by itself.
– Tom Wilson

Yes, things have been unexpectedly challenging the past two years. Facing the failure of a beloved project. Striking out on my own when I thought I’d found my tribe. Having a vertical learning curve that is financially crushing….and the continuous opportunity to move forward anyway.

Maybe I’ve just learned to live life knowing that it changes fast and, despite my best efforts, I still struggle to keep up! (Can I get an amen?)

I know one thing – I’m not dead yet. And I have a life to live and a life to give!

Maybe it was realizing a few weeks ago my life could end in a flash from choking on mashed potatoes and meatloaf. In that moment I thought, “You’ve GOT to be kidding – dying from choking? Are you serious?  That’s not fair and it’ so stupid! I’m not ready…..” What a gift to have people rush to my aid.

Maybe it was hearing of the sudden death of a 23 year old or the murder of a college student. Or Trick or treaters getting shot.

Or perhaps the passing of Elizabeth Edwards – A Steel Magnolia, strong when others can’t bear the burden of loss. And then there’s the troops.

Yes – I’m having a niner birthday. I feel ALIVE.

And I’m looking forward to counting up to 50!

If you enjoyed this post, don’t be shy – feel free to leave a comment.

Whatever with the past has gone, the best is always yet to come.

Lucy Larcom
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