Milestones: To Celebrate or Hibernate?

Milestones: To Celebrate or Hibernate?

Well, it was inevitable. We all get there at some point. It can be the dreaded number responsible for hair transplants and red sports cars, or the rebirth of a fitter, slimmer self with a penchant for luxurious creams and cleansers.

Yes, this year I turned fifty, and it wasn’t as bad as television led me to believe. I sometimes feel a sudden craving for better facial products, but I’m quite content with my “soccer mom” vehiclem and haven’t signed up for the latest Pilates-kickboxing class…yet.

Reaching fifty carries a rite of passage unique for each person, although I’m noticing that men seem to have a harder time veering into that lane where they’re “not quite middle aged, but not exactly eligible for the senior discount.” For me, reaching half a century triggered a carnival of emotions ranging from relief (“Wow, I made it!”) to impending mortality (“Can I keep it up at this accelerated pace?”). All of which was quadrupled by my family’s correlating milestones, sending me into a bit of an emotional tailspin.

This past year has been very difficult because my husband, Dan, suffered a brain aneurism on Christmas Day, and has been in the hospital and rehabilitation for the past six months. There were days when we thought we were going to lose him, and others that brought miraculous steps forward in his recovery.  I was coping with this as a single mom with three young children, trying to deal with my husband’s unexpected, critical health crisis and with running my company.

People have mentioned that it takes a village to raise a family, and this couldn’t be more true – I was able to cope thanks to the love and support of my friends, family, community, clients and staff. Dan came home on Father’s Day and while the road ahead will be full of new trials and tribulations, I am just thankful that he is alive and able to be with us.

My eldest daughter also graduated Kindergarten, forcing me to recognize that she is no longer my “little baby” but a growing girl coming into her own personhood and independence. I must admit, while I’m proud to see her transition into grade school, a part of me is grieving for the loss of her childhood and innocence. Not to mention my own aging process; the older she gets, the older I get. And I feel even older when I contemplate how my twins have just turned two years old. Not only are they running free and getting into tons of mischief, but I’m caught up in chasing them after them trying to prevent it. The good news?  I’m so busy with that constant chase that I’m not only staying in good shape, but don’t have time for too many reflections on life.

It has been an unbelievably challenging and joyous year. Some days I wasn’t sure I could make it out of the bathroom, since it offered such a serene and clean existence. But I’ve always been an incredibly grateful person, and I couldn’t be more grateful than I am today.

I celebrated my fiftieth with a surprise party thrown by family and friends, and was overwhelmed by all the heartfelt words, gestures and gifts. Reaching fifty is a milestone, and rightly so. At moments like that, take my word for it: we need to remember to celebrate our lives and accomplishments, and relish the love and human bonds we have spent years building with those around us.

And if you happen to watch Cindy Crawford’s infomercials and buy Meaningful Beauty’s skin regimen, well, then so be it.


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