Thursday, December 23, 2010

Day Two Hundred Fourteen

Whoa.....I'm 50 years old now.  Fifty.  50.  Half a century.  XXXXX. L. 

In 50 years I've been paid to do many jobs:  painter for a glass blower, movie ticket seller, line cook in a health food restaurant, telegram taker, russian linguist, sergeant, secretary, realtor, blackjack dealer, poker dealer, executive director of a non-profit organization, owner of a hydroseeding company, teacher, permaculture designer, toy maker, gardener, manager of a landscaping company, corporate controller, artist.  I've done my best in my roles as daughter, sister, friend, in-law, lover, employee, co-worker, boss, wife, cousin, aunt, niece and mother.  I've acquired skills too numerous to list, from replacing garbage disposals to baking the ultimate strawberry-rhubarb pie to tailoring clothing, building a hugelkultur bed, and preparing quarterly tax reports.  I've known great love and devotion and the painful sorrow of loneliness. 

The saying that life isn't about how many breaths you take but about the moments that take your breath away are only partly true for me.  I relish it all.  In 50 years I've had tremendous successes and epic fails (to coin a phrase currently popular with my kids).  But I've also had many many many days where there was neither a tremendous success nor an epic fail, just a regular day.  I remember those days with a happy heart for they were spent just going about the business of living, filled with all the things that make up a life and shape us.  In the living and the experiencing and the trying and the coping and the joy and the sorrow I've become fully myself and am at peace with that.

Julie Daley's article published in the Huffington Post entitled Old Woman, Wise Woman, Powerful Woman: The Beauty of Aging which you can read in its entirety here, speaks of the oppression of women in the patriarchal society and the untapped value that is lost as a result.  I must admit I've never felt oppressed on the basis of sex in my 50 years even though I see evidence of it around me; I've been lucky.  However, this part of the article hits home for me in a powerful way.

Women's power in the patriarchy is youth, physical beauty, a sexy, toned body, the ability to become more like a man than a woman, so how we act and what we do will move us up the ladder of what this culture deems is successful.
But in an entirely different way, we women are powerful beings, especially as we age. Not powerful in the patriarchal paradigm, but powerful in the sense that we are more authentic, more real, more truthful and more beautiful. And powerful as the crone, the wise woman, the woman who embodies crone energy. The crone is the woman who no longer sees herself only in relation to others, but as a woman unto herself, a woman who stands alone in the center of her own beingness, in the center of her own truth, and from this center relates to the people in her life from what is real for her.
I've experienced the time in life when heads turned when I'd walk into a room and also experienced the invisibility of age.  What I treasure is the relationships I have with those who see the real, basic, authentic me. I am blessed with a wonderful family filled with women I adore, admire and deeply love and also children who came here through me and will continue on their paths with a piece of me always with them just as I will carry a piece of them with me each and every day of my life.  These relationships are mine by blood and I am inextricably bound to these people.  But on this day I must also give very profound thanks for the friends I have without whose love and kinship my life would be much diminished.  We chose each other and keep each other in good times and bad, also by choice.  There is a beauty and power in these relationships which sustains me every single day of my life.  Thank you all, this has been a grand birthday.  I really feel the love.  I'm so excited about the next 50.
Today's five items to give away are:
1.  A pedometer (from now on I walk where I want, when I want and for as much or as little time as I want without keeping a tally)
2.  Yet another graphing calculator
3.  A master lock with key
4.  An iPod case
5.  Fiction Writer's Workshop by Josip Novakovich

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