Monday, January 30, 2012

And Now I Am Fifty

I had a birthday last week.  Fifty is one of those milestone birthdays that get a lot of press and I spent a lot of time trying to decide how I wanted to celebrate.

I seriously considered a tattoo. I came up with designs and words that I loved and even got the name of Max’s heavily inked stylist’s tattoo guy but in the end, I decided against it. It wasn’t that I was scared of needles – what I had in mind was so tiny, I’m sure I could handle that. And it wasn’t that I was distressed about the permanence of getting inked. Fifty, I discovered is one giant lesson in impermanence. When I thought about getting a tattoo and was really honest about why I wanted one, I think I wanted to change my physical body – my outsides – in order to reflect a change I’m cultivating on the inside. As the day got closer I realized that what’s happening on the inside is enough for me. I don’t need to etch something onto my body as a sign.

I didn’t want a big celebration either – though I struggled with this too because isn’t that what you’re supposed to do on a milestone birthday? I thought a long time about how I wanted to celebrate and wound up having a really perfect day that balanced time with friends and solitude. There was cake and dinner at the mexican place down the street and it was exactly the kind of celebration I wanted.

But it is fifty.  A milestone to be sure (and if I wasn’t sure, my AARP card came in today’s mail just to drive the point home). So in honor of fifty, I hereby declare this my jubilee year. (In the bible, the old testament, God declares every 50 years a jubilee year wherein debts are forgiven and celebrations abound.) I will celebrate this birthday all year long, choosing at least one special something to celebrate every month.

It is as simple as that.


  1. i love your way of looking at this. i, too, will soon be passing this most "interesting" of milestones....with children, we applaud and cheer their milestones, but this one? for myself? still not sure. as i am surrounded, daily, by women who are older than me, i get very little sympathy (they have forgotten what it was like, i think!!) and the younger students have no clue and send only looks of pity and sadness my way. ;-D
    i believe i may adopt your jubilee year idea, if you don't mind. i like a good celebration and having one every month does sound like a good idea. but, just for the record, i do wholeheartedly plan on celebrating a "birthday month"....when i was 40, i was pregnant and the celebrations were a minimum....i have some to make up for!!
    Happy Birthday, my dear friend....i can't think of another person, other than my close friends at home, i would rather celebrate a milestone with.

  2. Happy Jubilee Year, Laura! I turned 53 last month. I've loved The Fifties, so far! Wouldn't trade them!

  3. Yes! Happy Jubilee! I am 54, and I like to think of myself as a crone now. A wiser woman.