Today. It’s today that I meet the next half of my century. Today I step into and toward a self I’ve thought of but never fully embodied. Bolder. Wiser. More joyful. Less fearful. Less noise.
I’ll be honest here – I thought fifty would bring more. You know, like a big ol’ dinner party and gifts and a balloon ride. A larger paycheck. More pedigree. I thought fifty would have a certain fatness to it.
Instead, fifty seems to be about molting. I haven’t been eating much lately – it just hasn’t appealed – and I’ve been exercising more so I’m losing weight. And I have a desire to get down into the basement and throw things away. Lots and lots of things.
When I ask myself who I am these days, I’m not entirely sure. There’s a discomfort in this – shouldn’t I know by now? Instead, I seem to know less than ever. As though layers have been peeling away and I’m left like Chauncey the Gardener with an eerie outline. I go through the possibilities of all of the roles and people I thought I was. Neti, neti. Not this, not that.
It’s odd how this going into some center of stillness, of listening through a shell for whispers of who I am now, of where I’m headed is also tied to a growing fearlessness. When I was in California a few weeks ago, I met a British woman with squinty eyes and a simply amazing physique. She was on retreat – a gift to herself for her 50th birthday. When I told her I was soon turning 50 also, she smiled widely: “No more bullshit, darling. Right?”
Here’s to winnowing and molting. Here’s to the marrow. Here’s to listening for the purest voice to rise right from the core.