This week I turned 51. Normally I get all weird and blue about this getting older thing, but this year is different. Over the last few weeks, I've known of two people around my age who have passed away. Two women who's lives were cut short and who won't have another birthday to celebrate on this beautiful earth. There is nothing like death to cause you to sit up and look at things in a different light. I woke up on the first day of my 51st year and felt a rush of gratitude for the life that I've been given.
It's sometimes easy for me to get mired down in the everyday stresses of life. I suppose that's human, but for a good part of my life I've beat myself up for the things that I percieved as failures. I was raised with a very strong work ethic, which is a great thing, but has also caused me to sometimes put more stress on being "successful" than I need to. Last year when I was facing my milestone 50th birthday, I wrote a list of 50 things that I wanted to do in my 50th year. It was intended to be more of a goal list, but as the year went on, it turned into a glaring billboard of all that I was failing to accomplish. The list haunted me and everytime I looked at it I felt the pressure to get it all done by February 19th, 2014. I finally just gave up and quit looking at it.
The morning of my 51st birthday, I pulled the list out and did a review. I started doing the whole "Didn't do that, didn't do this..." thing and then stopped. What a bummer way to start a new year! I took another look at the list and noticed the things that I did do. I had hoped to get 50,000 views on my blog ( I remember writing that and thinking it was a lofty goal) and here I am a year later at almost 146,000 views. Amazing! I had long wanted to go to San Francisco and see a real orange tree up close and personal, and I did that as well. There were things that happend in my 50th year that caused other things on my list to be put off (major surgery in Sept.) and things that at the time I thought were important that now seemed silly.
I wasn't going to write a list this year (who needs that stress!) but looking at what I wrote last year I decided that I would go at it from a different angle. More of a suggestion list. Things like "read more" and "be present" have made it to this year's list. And instead of "lose 50 pounds" I've written "eat healthy and exercise". Seems that a good many of the things that made my list this year are things intended to bring me peace and balance and not added anxiety. I could go for more of that. Peace and balance that is, NOT anxiety.