What’s in a number?

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50

50 – it’s not really a milestone that people embrace with open arms.

When you’re a kid, 50 seems ancient and brings images of grandmas and polyester pants and never again shopping for the perfect pair of jeans. Or at least it was that way when I was a kid.

As you age, 50 doesn’t seem quite so old, but still seems to represent the end stage of hopes and dreams, rather than the beginning … you know, retirement plans and empty nest.

Now, for me, 50 is when I look in the mirror and see laugh lines, memories both good and bad, and a reflection of a life that I hope has been well lived. Regrets? Maybe a few. Cheeky grins for the things I don’t regret? You bet.

Looking at where I am at 50 has been eye-opening. Is it where I thought I would be? Absolutely not, but it is somewhere I am thankful for. Having the one and only kid we could have at age 36 always makes me one of the older moms in the group, but it also keeps me young, up-to-date (mostly) on all things related to 13-year-old girls, and has been a different kind of fun than I ever expected. Yes, Bruce, I like to listen to Eminem, and to my daughter explain the reasons why she likes his music.

Seeing the world around us through our daughter Brenna’s eyes will never get old, and forces me to open my mind, self-reflect on engrained behaviour and prejudices, and dig deep for patience to really listen. I don’t always succeed, but that’s part of the journey.

At 50, I’ve learned that wise words and life lessons don’t always come from the people we expect it to. A small child who hasn’t yet learned to lie to please people, a friend with no filter, an off-hand remark from a perfect stranger, or the lyrics of a rapper who I didn’t think could teach me anything but how to drop F-bombs.

So now, at 50, I am the mom of a teenager, a person who is helping start a business from the ground up and an individual who recognizes that the people in my life are what gives it substance and flavour. Relationships – from wife to co-worker to mom to friend to sister – make life worth living.

I never thought I would reach 50 and have so much of my life ahead of me to live. Uncharted and unknown.

I still wear jeans and listen to loud music. Although I admit the loud music is a bit louder because my hearing isn’t what it used to be.

I still laugh at potty humour and am closer to being comfortable in my own skin.

And I will still look to each new day and wonder what next adventure lies ahead. Although I do ask for your prayers and support as my teenager nears an age when dating, door shutting and eye rolling draws ever closer.

Love and patience, don’t fail me now.

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