Fifty Shades of Free


I was in the checkout line purchasing “adult” beverages for a cookout when the cashier (my new best friend) says “obviously you’re not over 40, so may I see your id please?”.  This happens to me a lot, and tickles me to no end because I’m going to be 51 this year.

Let me tell you why I love being exactly my age. I have courage now, a tender heart, an open mind. No, it just sounds like The Wizard of  Oz, but it’s my life I’m sharing here. I made up my mind somewhere during my 49th year that the second half of my life was going to leave the 1st half totally in the dust. I was going to rock it out. I would rule.

And thus began my journey, my adventure, my brave exploration of the world I had created for myself and the lessons I had learned. I figured it this way; I had screwed up in every way possible, hurt many, cowered back from my own dreams, and spent my whole life trying so hard to never be controlled that I became a control freak myself! I blamed everyone for anything that was wrong and refused to see I was responsible for my own life.

Now it’s going to be time for the good life.

Only the “good life” doesn’t mean the same thing to me anymore. I am a little wiser. I can differentiate  the diamonds from the dung. I”m becoming brave, which to me means that when I’m afraid to do something I know matters to me, I step up without further thought and do that thing. Like sending my writing out to be accepted or rejected. Or saying what I think, knowing I’ll be scoffed at (however kindly) and admitting that it really doesn’t matter as long as I’m always being in my truth.

I’m ready to dare a lot and I probably will, and will continue to do so. It’s an awesome feeling to have learned that I make my own life with the gifts God has given me. Nobody “did” my first 50 years to me. I created them myself based on the beliefs I had about myself at that time, and although it wasn’t pretty-the lessons learned are burned in my memory as sign posts towards a path of integrity.

I know there must be a way to share this knowledge. Not to eliminate the individual right to learn from hard knocks, but maybe how to hold onto the joy and magic of life while the lessons are learned.  To be courageous enough not to shut down to protect the heart, to reach out in love or compassion when the offer could be knocked aside. To actually celebrate each unique individual as a living expression of God’s creativity.

I honestly do want my son to learn his own personal lessons in life, whatever they may be. But I pray with all my being that he do so with the courage  of an open heart, open mind, and open arms. May he not allow circumstances to subjugate him, to remove his fire, or dim the Technicolor of the world he sees.

My prayer for everyone is that they not wait for 50 years of age to free themselves from their “Stepford” selves, but if you’ve waited that long, or longer…open your eyes, and wake up.

There are no do-overs, so step up in this moment, right now, open your arms and heart wide and say “Thank You”.

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