Friday, November 23, 2012

Day 328: Gratitude For Being In My 50th Year

Yeah, I know I keep saying I am gone and done with this blog but, then I start thinking about something (yeah, like that's a big shock) and feel the urge to write. And, while it is still technically my 50th year, this seems to be the place to do it.

Yesterday was Thanksgiving and it came and went in a blur. I don't know what happened to this year, it has sped by, which started happening more and more as I have gotten closer to this milestone.

There are so many things that I have to be grateful for in my 50th year. First and foremost on this list is the fact that I made it to age 50. It seems that we take aging, like most other things in life, for granted. I never had any reason to doubt that I would reach this milestone. But, I didn't know what it would feel like--or, what I would feel like--would I be feeling good at this age, or, would I be unhealthy? Would I be even crabbier and more negative than I already was? Would I have any "life" left or, would I have given up and just settled for wherever and whatever I was at?

I am happy to say that I don't feel "50," whatever that is supposed to feel like. I feel good, and am so grateful for the gift of health. As tired and cliched as it is, that old saying: "when you've got your health, you've got everything" really is true. There's no amount of money, work, or even love, that can make up for the lack of physical health. While I know I can always be even healthier (especially mentally :D, oh, and of course I do have more weight to lose), I am thankful that each day, I get up and work towards those goals rather than fighting just to stay well.

As for whether or not I am crankier, I'd have to say that yes I am in some ways. But, in others I am less so. And, after spending a very hard year looking at myself very closely, I have started to rediscover the part of myself that isn't cranky, the part that is full of life, and that wants to express that regardless of who gets uncomfortable if I do so. The funny thing is what made me cranky is the inability to express it, and being exhausted from locking it away for so long until I no longer knew that it was in me anymore. 
As Popeye would say, "I am what I am," and I like what I am, including my dorky side. I am so grateful that I discovered this at age 50, it has been an unexpected gift. I am so thankful that I have no longer given up, and am no longer  trying to be something I am not instead of being who I really am.

It is not only liberating, but it also makes me grateful that even at 50, or maybe especially at age 50, to discover that there's no reason to hold back, to put off doing the things that you want to, or to live the kind of life you want to. 


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Day 311: Voting In My 50th Year

While I realize that I "closed" this blog on August 14, 3 months post 50, I also realize that it is still my 50th year and that I had more to say. At least, I do today, on Election Day.

I have had the privilege of voting now since....gulp....1980...32 years! Wow, seeing it in writing like that sure does make it sound like a long time. But, the funny thing is I can remember voting in each Presidential election since my first one. This amuses me because I can't remember what I ate for lunch yesterday, but I can remember that.

There are many things that I have become cynical about at age 50. And, if I am completely honest, some that I have been cynical about for pretty much my entire life. Ironically, at the top of this list are politics and religion, two topics that my Grandpa Kritt would often advise me not to discuss with family.

I never have seemed to be able to take his advice and might regret this post. But, he also encouraged me to have an opinion, and to not be shy about having one. He's not the only one that encouraged this, my Dad always has and continues to do so.

Now unless you have just met me; and/or have never seen my Facebook page; or just happened upon this blog by accident; you know that even in spite of my increasing cynicism, I remain a: l-i-b-e-r-a-l, yes, I used the "l" word, and I even spelled it out. NOTE: this is my personal blog, reserved for my personal viewpoints, opinions and feelings, therefore, I am not asking for a debate, or, to have my mind changed, or, even to change yours. Trust me, any rude thing you can call me, I have probably already heard.

I do not want to fight anymore, or defend my position anymore. I just want to be able to express that opinion freely, without fear of retribution and if we don't agree, then agree to disagree. If my political viewpoint angers you, or makes you "unfriend" me, or write vile things on my Facebook wall about me, or my political choices, then chances are you have bigger issues than me being a liberal.

The sad thing is that things have become so nasty (and that goes for either side of the political spectrum) that I have started to feel that it is better to just not say anything. Which goes against everything I am and everything I have ever stood for. It is these feelings that made me feel like I had to write today.

And what I wanted to write about was that in spite of all this negativity and cynicism, that even at age 50 when I go my local polling place, and they hand me my ballot, I still feel like I am doing one of the most important things in the world. And, as a woman, I think about all of the women who came before me that worked so tirelessly, some literally starving themselves to death in protest, so that I would have the right to vote.

To take their sacrifices for granted is wrong. For me not to exercise that right is wrong. I must honor them and show them my appreciation even if there are times when I feel that my vote doesn't matter. It does matter. My vote is my voice, and no matter how weak I think it might sound amid the much louder din of other voices, it matters to me that I use that voice.