Today is my birthday. Not a milestone one by some accounts, but from my perspective it is. I'm no longer the Big 5-0, I'm now officially 50+. A distinction that most people either love or hate. Personally I'm going for a deep dive into the "Let's live like we're dying" tank and moving on until my journey takes me off this planet.
I have to be frank: Getting older has its pains and perks. You're probably aware of that every year when the birthday clock chimes "Happy Birthday To You!" If you're not, then you're more than likely pretending, not fully living, and afraid of just being you. I know! That sounds like gospel, but it is the truth, and the truth shall set you free to accept yourself at whatever age you are.
For me, last year was the kick in the pants that took the wind out of my sails for about three months. I dealt with depression, empty-nesting, lack of excitement for everything from sex to my business; honestly, IT SUCKED. I actually feared that I wouldn't pull out of it. Of course I did. Yoga, meditating, a few pharmaceuticals, and of course a giant helping of "Get over your #$%* my inner child," got me out of the dumpy doldrums.
Over the last week I've found myself revisiting my life from about 335 days ago up through the first two months into my 51st year on this planet. During those little jaunts into the past, I caught myself starting to think about what it really meant to get older. Thankfully, I avoided thoughts like "my life's half over," or "I'm too old for this crap." Rather than give birth to the woe is me syndrome, I chose to ask myself one poignant question, "What have you learned from living for over half a century?"
Don't worry: this isn't going to be the proverbial list of "I've lived through 10 presidents, the birth of the internet, and the demise of Kris Jenner's talk show." No need to relive all that stuff. Instead I want talk about the real goods of living for over a half a century.
In my teens, I observed a rapidly changing world, which by today's standard, was moving at a snail's pace. Gone were the days of my childhood where Free Love, Streakers, Vietnam and the Bi-centennial of our country prevailed. Instead, HIV/AIDS, World Aid, Farm Aid and Name Your Aid fundraisers were tapping me on the shoulder, inviting me to wake up to my calling to be of service and to come to the aid of others. A calling that would take another three decades to become my reality.
My time in college (and really, all of my 20s) laid the foundation for pretending to be something I wasn't. Years later, I learned the mind blowing value of being authentic in order to live as me. While aspects of my journey was lived truthfully, the majority of my twenties and my thirties were lived in a dishonest duality; a place that was both scary and comforting. From these perspectives, the seeds of "I need to be doing something greater than myself," came sprouting up, only to be overgrown with career promotions, first home purchases and the inevitable, "Should we have kids or not?" question (we did).
I'm blessed to have found myself during my years as a 30-something. Not completely proud of how I found myself, but sometimes it's the deep dives into abyss that make you wake up. That and being a raving fan of the hit TV show, 30 Something, both of which led me back to center...my soul center. This decade of my life showed me I had matured enough to be who I always was — a gay man, with two beautiful daughters, ready to be in a real gay relationship, capable of weathering the storm of divorce, breaking apart a family, coming out and escaping corporate America. All lessons that taught me, when I'm screwing up, life is eating me alive and spitting me out, it's because I'm out of alignment with myself. Yep! Took 30 something years to learn those life lessons.
My 40s taught me the value of reflection. I flexed that looking back muscle, built it, and learned how not to dwell on the past. I'm not saying that I perfected the muscle into one to salivate over, I simply woke up and became aware that the reflection muscle exists for my benefit. Without it I wouldn't have been capable of embracing that I can rock my baldhead and goatee, which still make me a handsome guy. Without reflection, I wouldn't have learned to appreciate alcohol rather than abuse it like my father did. Without reflection, I wouldn't have come to a spiritual awakening that's shown me that spirituality is an individual awakening and has nothing to do with organized religion.
Now, here I stand! 50+1.
Two sophomores in the house — one in college, the other in high school — and the kids are all right.
A man who has been by my side for 14 years. Which proves that this gay man can do a long-term relationship.
Sporting an extra large muffin top, yet relishing the benefits of simple green eating and knowing that by 50+2, I could be looking in the mirror saying, "Buddy you look good for a 52 year-old."
Writing books, blogging my perspectives for some hip online venues, and taking the stage where I actually am doing something bigger than myself.
Looking ahead to what might be without getting tied to the damn outcome.
Yep! Here I stand at 51. I'm a Leo. Hear me roar because God and spirit willing, I've got about 20 more years of roaring, reflecting and reinventing myself still to do. What about you? Are you going to roll over and let life pass you by because you're 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80 plus, or are you going to join the mile high club of celebrating you no matter what your age?
Gay, straight, male, female, young, old, rich or poor — isn't it time you grabbed the life by the horns and stopped pretending, started living and just be you? Take a trip to the wild side of living and see what having a cool, hip, 50+ life strategist in your hip pocket might do for the life you believe you have to live. Set up your complimentary consultation today and ask about birthday special pricing!