Friday, April 2, 2010

On The Eve of My 50th Birthday... Friday, April 2, 2010

This is a milestone, folks. Yup – as of midnight tonight, Yours Truly will crest the half-century mark.

Thanks to my beloved husband Alex and our family and friends, the week leading up to this big moment has been memorable. There have been gifts, cards, parties, lunches, dinners – I couldn’t ask for more!

Aside from the celebrations, though, there have been moments of reflection. Those of you who have already sailed past this marker will likely know what I’m talking about. There are times when one’s age really is more than “just a number”.

Achieving the age of 50 is one of those times.

I’ve found myself plunging into a near-fugue state while sitting at my computer or standing in the kitchen, walking, driving or lying in bed. One question keeps running through my mind

Am I where I should be at this point in my life?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to assess my status in material terms. I have a good day job that pays the bills, as does my husband. We have a home, car, education for our children…

In terms of material considerations, I’m more than content – I am downright grateful.

No, my ponderings have nothing to do with money or clothes, jewels or homes. Instead they are focused on the less tangible assets – the lessons of life. I review the years that led to this moment, all 50 of them, and what they should have taught me.

I’ve certainly tried to take those lessons to heart. I suppose I must hope that effort counts in the grand design. I’ve tried to be generous and loving, tolerant and truthful. I’ve bent in the storm and stood my ground in the hurricane. I’ve been sometimes stubborn, and at other times compliant, as the situation warranted. I have loved my family truly, even in my childhood, when doing so often seemed impossible.

But there is so much more I want to learn – so many pearls that still scatter past my feet, out of my reach. And now, on the eve of my half-century, it seems appropriate to chase down some of the most valuable pearls, before this moment passes and I forget what it was that seemed so pressing.

So here, for all to witness, is my To-Do list for the next 50 years:

1- Always appreciate the love of family and friends. Let no kindness pass unnoticed. Try to see myself as my loved ones see me. Forgive my own short-comings. They never arise out of malice.

2- When in doubt, proceed with kindness. Let gentleness be my ‘default’ position.

3- Stand tall. Make no apologies for who I am. Courage is not the absence of fear, but the facing of it. Brave is the person who rises each day without knowing what challenges lay in wait.

4- Treasure my physical health. My aging body is less than perfect, but it serves me well. Take care of it to the best of my ability.

5- Follow my passion for written words with conviction and energy. Make no excuses – place no blame.

Just keep on riding the tiger until the end of days.


  1. What a lady to ride that tiger! Happy Birthday Donna, you sure got class.

  2. Happy Birthday from someone who is four years older than you. I remember turning fifty and then being shocked when I turned fifty-one. Now I just marvel as the years fly by. :)

  3. Wow Donna, it's the 3rd where I am so Happy 50th! May you spend "the next 50 years" gathering as many pearls as you wish with the style and grace so on evidently display.
    Wishing you only the very best.
    -karen xo

  4. "So evidently on display" :)

  5. Thank you both. I'm liking this number so far!

  6. Wonderful words of wisdom, Donna. Or should I say 'pearls'?
    I will be 61 in June and I don't know if I ever gave it that much thought at 50. But, I will say that I wish I had. I am first now reaching that point. 60 was a momentous time for me when it came to realizations and learning all there is to know about myself. You are a decade ahead of the game.:-)
    Happy Birthday!

  7. We all get on the train at a different station - sounds like your train is making some really impressive stops along the way.

  8. Well I hope you had a great time! Congratulations for reaching middle age. Yes, as folk are reaching 100, that makes you a middle aged woman.

    I am middle aged, plus 24 months ;0

    All aboard for a good life!

  9. Thank you, Cynthia, Andrea & Glynis! I hope/trust you are all having a wonderful Holiday weekend!

  10. Love your To-Do List for the next 50 years!

    To my thinking you have #2 down perfectly so there's no need to aspire to it.

    A Happy Birthday toast to you!

  11. This is just so beautifully said! I have a sense of the depth of your character and values reading this - and I feel blessed to know you. You have indeed learned much during the time you have graced this earth - the important stuff IMO :-)

    Now as for hitting the half century marker - well, lets just say I'm only two paces behind you and gaining faster than I'd care to be - so run faster LOL.

    I saw a quote on Twitter, wish I could remember who said it and the exact words - but basically the message said:
    Do not measure your life by the passage of time or years, measure it by the quantity of love in your life.

    I love your ToDo List. Have a very happy birthday, Donna!

    Love, James aka GroovyMystery

  12. Donna,
    Thanks for sharing your contemplation as you turn 50. Milestones are often great times to consider the value and preciousness of life. I loved the 'default' of gentleness.

    Have a terrific birthday and great blessings in your next year. Thanks for being such a good friend. :)

    Be refreshed,
    Dawn Herring

  13. Happy Birthday!

    And here's to 50 more. Cheers :)

  14. I thought I heard rumblings that you were celebrating a half-century of excellence. What a gift you give yourself and the rest of us - the magic of words that speak to others. Thank you and bless you with many many more Happy Birthdays, Donna!

  15. And so my big day ends. Never before have I made such a fuss about my birthday, but it was worth it. Thank you to all my friends for your kind wishes and for sharing the fun Alex & I had today.
    Good night to all, tomorrow is another day...

  16. Finally got a chance to read this! It's beautiful. I am going to have to steal some for my list especially now that I have entered the - god help me - 60's!

  17. Happy belated birthday, Donna. This was a beautiful, introspective post.