On September 6, 2021 I turned 47 years old. In roughly six months from today, I’ll be 48. I feel like 50 is approaching a lot more quickly than I’m comfortable with.
For some serendipitous reason, I was recently scrolling through old emails I’d sent to myself. Among them, I found messages I sent when turning 40 about my plans for 50. According to me, then, at 50 I would be writing to be published, I’d have been meeting with a Spiritual Director, and training to be a Spiritual Director. I wanted to accompany or companion Spiritual But Not Religious (SBNR) folk on their paths. Of course, I’m not ready, today, to embody any of my prior aspirations.
Instead of focusing on writing and spiritual practices, my early forties were an extension of the survivalism of my thirties. I attended to developing my resume with more professional jobs and left a small business for the nonprofit sector. My daily life was hectic with very little left over for me. I remember scrambling to leave the office in time to catch the bus to pick up the kiddo from after school care then to catch the bus home then to make some food then to relax and relate. They were long days of bettering our chances of survival. I did make small gains in terms of work experience and now occupy a position in a local school district’s administration office. My son is thriving in an alternative school. I’m happily remarried. We own a house we call home. We are comfortable, safe, and secure.
It makes sense that 40 year old me is reminding and prompting 47-leaning-into-50 year old me about our dreams. I could actually do something about or for them now. I want to live up to the intentions my younger self set. What does that mean? What do I do next? I feel like I’m on the cusp of something fresh and my own. What on earth is it?
The speed at which 50 is approaching both thrills and terrifies me. On the other side of this cusp 50 is waiting for me. I will know something. I will have some clarity, insight, wisdom. I will do something with all that. If, and only if, I attend to it now. Otherwise, we’re looking at a few years of settling into this newfound comfort and security with nothing in particular to show for all the effort and change that brought us here. What value is there in individual contentment? I feel challenged by my younger self to sift through my experiences and perceive some meaning or message, and offer it... to whom?
I’m on the cusp of understanding something or things. I’m on the cusp of proficiency in some set of skills and practices. I want to meet 50 with my hands full, ready to share it all. In these brief years between 47 and 50, I commit my time to discernment and practice so that I can be effective and generous in the next phase of my life.