I celebrated my 51st birthday on Sunday.
HOW DID THAT HAPPEN???
It seems like just yesterday I turned 25. I was mortified. Despite this - or maybe because of it - my then-husband chose to announce the event to the world.
It seems incredible to me now, but that was the most panicked I have ever been about a birthday milestone. Even the big five-oh didn't hit me as hard. Now, of course, there are days I would give anything to turn the clock back to 1984. When I was 25, the future seemed bright. I was a newlywed, living in a cute little house in a comfortable neighborhood in Peoria, Illinois, keeping the home fires burning and teaching piano lessons while Jeffrey went to graduate school and worked part-time. I looked forward to having children and living the American dream.
Life hasn't turned out quite the way I imagined it would. My work is satisfying and I thank God every day for my three healthy, bright, creative, funny sons. But sometimes I find myself apologizing that I don't have more to show for all these years. I have felt ashamed of my simple home, my modest income, my aging face and body, embarrassed that I can't play the "Minute Waltz" on the piano in less than a minute, a failure because I am single.
There is a Rascal Flatts song with the lyrics, "There comes a time in everyone's life when all you can see are the years passing by, and I have made up my mind that those days are gone." This is my new motto. From this moment forward, I feel pride in my past accomplishments while feeding my dreams for the future. I may not post a sign on the garage, but I will never again apologize for my age. I don't feel 51, whatever that means; I will take care of what I have, and if someone finds me unacceptable because I am not successful or attractive - or simply young - enough, then it is his loss.
I can hardly believe it myself, but I am happy to be 51. As a wise man once said, "I'm not dead yet!"