Upon Finding 50

Well, it finally happened last weekend. I reached the half-century mark on a balmy, sunshiny day more glorious than anything I could have ordered. Sure, there were piles of snow still melting down the driveway like tears, a reminder of the soul-numbing winter grey we’ve experienced in the Midwest this year.

But, darn it, the living started to wake up on Saturday! Time for celebration that I’ve made it this far through depression, obsessions, autoimmune anomalies and the modern suburban lifestyle.

The big yellow ball in the sky, while delightful, also provided indisputable proof that the state of our humble abode had suffered through the colder months. A note to minimalists: while the idea of getting rid of items so that one doesn’t have to tend to them is appealing, the lack of material goods in a room exposes the cobwebs, grit and goo from a long winter’s night of neglect. There is nothing left to cover up one’s sins.

In other words, in the glaring light of 50, I can no longer sweep my transgressions under the rug, or behind a well-placed potted plant.

Still, housecleaning has become easier without the nicknacks of my latest infatuation distracting the room zen. On Saturday as I dressed my house for decency, I reflected on whether it was time for a spring cleaning of the psyche, a fresh start at fifty. The physical waltz of sweeping, spitting and polishing is triggering a rebirth — middle-aged in energy, but young at heart.

I often live in my head, so the housework becomes a practice in emotional cleansing. Milestone birthdays in the past have been orchestrated by outside forces and my own inability to accept my self. Looking back, I spent my 40th in the country home of my dreams with all its accoutrements, isolated, depressed and sick from an undiagnosed thyroid disease. Ah, the folly of thinking one can dictate to the stenographer of the soul.

Now (after a rather large mental yard sale) I can truly say that I’ve been looking forward to turning 50 with all that the age entails. And I want to thank all the folks over the years who helped me with this particular spring cleaning using your love, patience and kicks in the derriere when necessary.

This life lesson is what I showed up for.

Where do I go from here? The house is pretty tidy but will never be perfect. Nor should it be. I think I’ll dust off that midlife motorcycle. No telling where it will take me in the next half-century. And hopefully I’ll have less baggage to bring along with me.


6 thoughts on “Upon Finding 50

  1. Ginger Keener

    As one who reached the half-century mark just few months before you, I think you’ve gotten it exactly right! My little brother said, it’s the second half century that’s the best (I love his optimism) and my dear father just says, if I complain about getting older, it beats the alternative! Which are true true words. So here’s to no longer worrying about proving myself to others, and spending more time with friends who really matter — like you!

    1. suburbansatsangs

      Thanks for commenting, Ging. These are wonderful words of wisdom from your bro, your dad and you. Just think of all the trouble we can get into in our next 50 years. I can’t wait!

  2. Karla

    What a great self reflection way to sum up the ol half century mark you really nailed it by saying “rather large mental yard sale” Excellent. Now that’s advise we can ALL use no matter what age!!

    Loved it!!

    1. suburbansatsangs

      Thanks, Karla. I’m glad you liked the mental yard sale. Plus, I think I’m having little ones every day when I forget where I put stuff. 🙂

  3. I am sorry i missed your birthday – I had that book deadline and it “didnt’ register” – yes I like that “mental yard sale too,” although i still have the same preoccupations and distractions. It’s disturbing really. going forward and not going forward. At least, when you have kids, you can see them getting older so you must be too. Reminds me of “A beautiful mind” the movie. It was based on someone my mother knew actually. Anyway, he only realized he was crazy when his “imaginary friends” weren’t getting any older. I have no gage I guess except for my “birth” family. My sister made me a birthday cake (in the shape of an Easter hat) and she put all these hard round shiny silver balls on it (you can eat them but it’s hard.)i thought I broke a tooth but I was afraid to say anything. Then my brother-in-law spit them out and I knew it wasn’t my imagination. … Nice blog really And happy belated birthday!

  4. suburbansatsangs

    I would’ve liked to have seen that cake, Cathy! Thanks for the birthday wishes and good luck with the book.

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