51 tomorrow.

I’m 51 tomorrow.  51.  I can’t quite believe it.  I honestly don’t know where it’s gone.  Here I am shuffling towards God’s waiting room when I want to push the barrier of the emergency exit and make a run for it.  Yes, my friends.  Allow me a moment of indulgence and wallowing.  

For all the talk about empowerment, about owning your age, about it being the best time of your life, sometimes you have to face something else head on.  Fear.

Oh yes.  You can create bucket lists of such architectural magnificence the Pharoahs would weep. You can admire our theatrical dames for their talent, pluck and refusal to never quite give in.  “We are such stuff as dreams are made of” said Shakespeare.  Are we?  Or rather are we the composite of the chaff and roughage of our remaining dreams?  A collection of the memories of the things we did not do.

50 was going to be a major turning point.  Despite the fact that marrying at 45 and having kids at 43 and 45 could be considered such an event, I was going to morph into a healthy eating, exercise loving, slightly less robotic version of Sadie Frost.  The leggings were going to be replaced by chi chi retro 50’s dresses.  I was going to wander round the house dressed like Dita Von Teese eating chocolate ginger thins and demanding prosecco for breakfast.

Why do people write bucket lists, anyway?  Because it’s not about the material things, is it?  It’s about the experiences.  Material things don’t have fear attached.  Swipe your card, feel the buzz of the purchase, grab a coffee and chalk it up to the safest form of adventure we humans have come up with.

But do something out of your comfort zone that would really stretch you, test you and terrify you, there, unfortunately for us cowards, is where the experience is.

Sometimes I watch Caitlin and Ieuan playing and I am consumed with a strange envy and grief that is almost too much to bear.  They have the whole world opening up before them.  Endless summers watching the sun sparkling on the sea for so long their eyes go blurry.  Sand between their toes and just that sense of utter freedom.

These feelings wash over me like a seasonal high tide.  They come and they go and then I get a grip and recognise that I may make a century.  51 is no longer old and many have not had the privilege to enjoy the years I have.  My life has been relatively unscathed by grief.  There have been no great tragedies.

I think it is the crushing weight of my own expectations which I need to, finally, put down.  I’m not ready for Jam and Jerusalem.  But on the eve of my 51st birthday, I need to put some sweetness into my daily life.

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12 Comments

  1. May 27, 2015 / 8:39 pm

    I get those moments too with the envy and the grief thinking of all those years my children have in front of them. We are getting older but sometimes it feels good to be older and wiser!

    • May 27, 2015 / 8:54 pm

      That's true, Esther, I'd like to be wiser but about ten years younger! You can't have both though, can you? x

  2. May 27, 2015 / 8:50 pm

    You are not old. Children are a scary reminder that we are not children ourselves any more, but you are totally not old. Having met you plenty of times, I would have pegged you a good ten years younger, so really, you are in a good place.

    • May 27, 2015 / 8:53 pm

      This is because I am preserved in rioja. x

    • May 27, 2015 / 9:18 pm

      Awww this is lovely! I am 45, a mum of four, gran (yes GRAN) to four. If there is anything destined to.make you feel.old it is when your granddaughter is looking through your yoga book (she has developed my fascination.for.yoga!) and aid hey nan, there is a page for.older people! So I tried to ignore it through my daughters laughter and went back to my blogging about my dreams of travel. I have applied to go on the Island too in a desperate attempt make myself break through, have the courage and go for the dreams I have held for so long. I get what you say about bucket lists but for me the thing I dread more than leaving my family for a few months here and there, is that I will reach my final having never done the things I have put on hold. See I don't just look at my children and feel jealous of the life that they have stretching in front of them…I know that the young girl inside me is going to rise to the surface and make sure I live the rest of my life how she wanted. I can and will be the person who has the best of both world because I deserve it. So do you! You have done it the complete opposite way to me but neither is wrong. You look amazing, embrace being 51 and a mum to young ones. They see no age, they see love xxxx

    • May 27, 2015 / 9:38 pm

      Thank you Julie. Your words are a truly lovely and incredibly wise birthday present x

  3. May 27, 2015 / 9:38 pm

    I think bucket lists are interesting things, they can have such a negative effect if we don't wade through them quick enough. I'd rather appreciate the small things that bring happiness to everyday life. Children give us so many smiles and keep us young. Age is just a number after all

    • May 28, 2015 / 9:23 am

      That's so true about bucket lists. Those buckets can be a bit of a poisoned chalice, can't they? OK. I'm going to get a grip now x

  4. May 28, 2015 / 2:47 pm

    Happy Birthday! 🙂
    I have a bucket list of things I want to do before I'm 30. I feel sometimes you need a little structure and need a deadline for goals you want to achieve

  5. May 28, 2015 / 3:10 pm

    Happy birthday in advance.
    I never really was into bucketlist until last year I decided to conquer my fears hence my bucketlist

  6. May 28, 2015 / 3:27 pm

    I've never been one for bucket lists, I prefer to do stuff as i go x

  7. May 28, 2015 / 8:46 pm

    51! I'm really shocked, you look so good for your age and are a very young 50 year old. It is scary how fast time goes, we just have to make the most of what time we have, which I'm sure there is plenty more of for you!

    Leanne – A Slice of My Life Wales

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