by Lindsay Adams
This week I am celebrating my 57th birthday. I am a St. Paddy’s Day baby, and that’s always a mixed bag. The blessing is that “there’s always a party”! The curse is that “there’s always a party”! It’s one of those days that everyone remembers, which is lovely because I’m blessed with so many personal messages. However, it makes me feel a little guilty that the February 9th and August 4th birthdays are not always on my radar. I can say honestly that at this point in my life, I am fully embracing my age. This is a really beautiful time with kids out of the house, successfully navigating adulthood, and a renewed focus on myself, my marriage, and my relationships. The urgency for life to move a little faster has passed (like when the kids were at challenging ages, or I wanted so much to be in a different stage in life), and although there are so many things I’ve yet to see, do and accomplish, I am generally content with the NOW.
Let me pause here to say that it wasn’t until fairly recently (like in the past two years) that I came to fully embrace the fact that I have complete control over how I see my life and thus experience it. I have complete control over my happiness, my choices, and the general direction in which my life will go. At first, this scared the $#+! out of me! Quite frankly, a life of blaming things on your circumstances is easier. It’s not happier. It’s just easier. Because you never really need to take full responsibility for how things are going if it’s always someone else’s fault. Ouch.
This past year, in particular, has shown us that things can go to hell in a handbasket pretty quickly. It’s shown us that perhaps the superficial things we once relied on to bring us purpose and joy can be fleeting. I believe that even in the darkest of dark, there is always hope and light. And focusing on the light instead of the dark is the key to finding more peace and joy in your life. It does not mean things are always happy, but you can find peace, and there is beauty in peace.
Recently I read that there 2 phases to our lives: the outgoing and the return. From birth, throughout our childhood, and into our adult years, we are growing, expanding, collecting, and accumulating knowledge, things, experience, status, and all things that move us forward. Then, we begin to slow, reflect, exhale, and realize that some of that stuff was necessary at the time, but most of it, we no longer need.
My mid-fifties have been some of my best years, and if you are not here yet, I hope that they will be for you as well. Feeling content in my own body and confident in my gifts is allowing me to be used by God in whatever way He chooses to show up. The realization that my inner joy and happiness are fully within my control is empowering to me. Like a muscle that needs shaping up, creating peace and mindful presence is a daily practice. But, the benefits go far beyond just me and my mood. I believe happy, peaceful people contribute to a happier, more peaceful world, so in a way, it’s my duty to work at this not only for myself but for my children and grandchildren.
Ok, droning on here. Just wanted to bring hope and encouragement to all those who may be at this same juncture in life – celebrating those mid to late 50 birthdays, saying goodbye to kids who are leaving the nest, and possibly to parents who are leaving from this life. This can be a deeply profound and beautiful time in your life and every passing year is to be treasured and celebrated.
(PS…I chose the photo accompanying this blog because it fully represents the reality of simultaneously laughing and peeing your pants when you reach a certain age! #thestruggleisreal)
Lindsay Adams is a wife and empty-nester mom of 3 who is “Encouraging women to live a well & happy life at each new stage”. You can find her at https://getoiling.com/LindsayAdams/page/my-page