50 For 50
I'm gonna be 50 years old next week.
Like, I still remember when my dad turned 50.
And besides, didn't I just turn 40 last year?
Turning 40 was such a milestone. I absolutely loved it. My debut novel, Faking It, had just catapulted up the Kindle charts, selling an asinine 22,000 units in three days. I had also just become a certified Reiki Master-Teacher, something I'd been wanting to do for at least ten years prior. I was living in North Carolina, teaching full time, and working on my third novel. I had good friends, good colleagues, and a good coffeeshop to hang out in.
And it was only going to get better. By the end of 2010, I'd gotten a publishing contract, met Aaron Sorkin (one of my writing heroes), and bought the car I'd wanted since I was a kid: a Volkswagen Beetle. It was the kickoff to a decade that was going to bring even more surprises, successes, and dreams come true.
In short, 40 was fabulous.
When the main character of my novel Adulation, Sunny Smith, turned 40, her friends goaded her into making a "40 for 40" list--forty things she wanted to accomplish the year she turned 40. no doubt I'd made a list of my own--it's a very me thing to do--and I likely ticked many of the items off if not that year, then in subsequent years.
So here we are, ten years later, and the decade ended very differently and unexpectedly from where it began. Had you told me then that I'd be living in midcoast Maine, married, and in the throes of midlife transition, my jaw would've dropped. The transition part has especially flummoxed me. I have to keep reminding myself that it's normal, that we're hardwired at this age to feel these feelings and question who we are now and what we want to be when we grow up.
But just because it's normal doesn't mean it's comfortable. And yet, that's one of the lesson's I'm learning--or rather, re-learning. This transition is about allowing myself to be vulnerable again, especially while I'm feeling like I'm in the tall grass and not sure where it's going to take me.
Maybe a 50 for 50 list can be a roadmap. Or maybe it can just be a fun thing to do. Although coming up with 50 things is a bit of a challenge, I admit.
Some of the things on my list are too personal to share. (I'm not willing to be that vulnerable.) But here's a little tease, in no particular order, of a few, even if they are so ridiculously typical of me:
Also on the list is to have a celebration with my twin brother. Sadly, we won't be able to celebrate the day together. And I checked another item off early, two weeks ago, when I went to Atlanta to finally meet a very special friend in person (a mere technicality) and some fellow Duranies for some fun.
Here's the thing, though. While drafting this blog, a package arrived for me. It was a present from my best friend (who is also turning 50 this year): the Fab Five in Funko Pop form. She also included a bad of Lindor milk chocolate truffles, and a glittery gold card that beautifully captured the sentiment and set the tone for what I want 50 to be all about. This is a year of re-purposing. Taking one familiar form and making it into something kind of different, but still playful and fun and adventurous and authentic. Taking joy and using it to light the way out of the tall grass. And taking your friends and loved ones with you, because they've always been a part of the journey.
I think maybe, just maybe, 50 will turn out to be pretty fab too.
I'm an author of commercial women's fiction and a writing instructor. My claim to fame: I can say the alphabet backwards.