Monday, December 31, 2012

Day 365: The End is Here

Well, this is the end of my 50th year, at least the end of the blog which I started on January 1, 2012. The good news is that I still have 5 months until I turn 51, and for those people that are tired of my self-indulgent whining, I repeat...this is the end of my 50th year blog.

And, as I wrote in August, I thought that I had pretty much covered everything I learned then, and didn't want to become even more pathetic by repeating the same thing over and over.

But, as I wrote, those "last" lessons were going to come tonight anyway and some really are worth repeating and often.

Foremost among these, and just as cliched and tired as it was back in August, is this gem: you only live once and life really is short. You will not, or do not get, another chance to do the things that you think you can put off until "later." In spite of your best intentions, you won't, or you can't, or you have too many responsibilities, or life just gets in the way. That means in reality there is no later, there is only now.

That's not to say that you won't discover new things to do, new places to see, new work to try, and even new people to love. And some of these will be even better than you thought they would be at age 50.

But, there are some things that you won't ever get the chance to do again because the circumstances will prevent them, or the opportunity only comes once. DO THEM! Travel to the places you want to see, explore more, live where you want to live, love who you want to love, and try work that you are interested in. TRY EVERYTHING.

This is YOUR life. In what I am sure sounds like a "no shit Sherlock" observation; finding out what truly makes YOU happy, will give you a happy life, and you will not just settle for whatever you stumble upon. Don't tell yourself that this job is "good enough" or this relationship is "good enough" because as Sarah McLachlan sings it, good enough really isn't:
And don't you know that why
Is simply not good enough,
Oh, so just let me try
And I will be good to you
Just let me try
And I will be there for you,
I'll show you why
You're so much more than good enough
Do not find yourself at age 50 with regret for the things that might have been and wondering what if.  I have to say that at age 50 my life is so much better than I ever thought it would be in so many ways. But, I have to be honest and say that the biggest regret I have is for the things I did not do when I had the chance to do them without completely disrupting my life in the process. Do not pass up an opportunity when it comes because it may never come again.

However, even I cannot end my 50th year blog on such a depressing note. So, in spite of any regrets I might have, and the bitching that I have done about turning 50, I have to say how incredible my life is and how grateful I am for it. As I have written before, I am healthy, I have work that I love and people in my life that I love. What has surprised me the most about reaching this milestone is that I also find myself learning every day, discovering new things and appreciating even the littlest things even more each day.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Day 361: The End Is Near

I realize that some people might think that my 50th year won't end until I turn...gasp...51 in May. However, I started this blog on January 1 (with a preview post on December 31, 2011) so to me, the end is near (but, not in the Mayan Calendar kind of way) since I followed the calendar year.

While I have been pretty open and shared just about everything that I thought had import on this blog, there are many other things that I have not shared. Perhaps the biggest of these things is how incredibly difficult I have found this milestone to be. And, how I believe that I have epitomized the midlife "crisis" cliche, questioning everything and everyone in my life, and finding this past year one of the hardest I have ever faced, which is saying a lot considering I have been through actual horrible things in life, not just some stupid milestone birthday.

But, I am me. I over-think things so it should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me. In all fairness to myself, as I reflect on it, I did not go out and buy a red sports car (oh wait, I am not a man); nor did I get myself a boy toy and go all Cougar on anybody; nor did I start coloring my hair or go under the knife for a little nip and tuck in an effort to be something I am not. 

As I wrote when I first started this blog, I have used this milestone as a time to reflect on my life, both the good, the bad, and everything in between. I think what has made it so difficult is the reality that taking an honest look at yourself  makes you not only aware of the things you do not like, but also aware that you need to change them.

Changing life-long habits and beliefs is hard work. But, I am a workaholic (one of these self-revelations) and hard work is something I am used to. It is just not something I am used to doing for myself, but for everyone and everything else. And hiding in work isn't any better than hiding in other things.
Your life will still be waiting for you when you finally have to face it. Hiding only postpones the inevitable, and I realized that at 50, it is way past time to stop letting fear run my life, including the fear of not liking who I might really be, or not liking the life that I have created for myself.

So, as a way to end this blog and my 50th year, I will use this last week of this year to share a few of the big things that I have learned, and will post them over this last week of 2012.

The first of these is that I have discovered that my life is not any more special, difficult, or unusual than anybody else's. It is simply life. But it really is what we do with the things that happen to us, how we react or conversely, don't react, that really matters.