In a last youthful ditch effort, I ate cake for breakfast this morning.
Not any old cake but the last of the many 50th birthday cakes I’ve been eating in celebration of being a half-century old. And they were all gluten-free.
Breakfast is normally just a ‘butter’ coffee until two in the afternoon when I eat a ‘big ass’ salad. I rarely eat starchy carbs and avoid sugar. So why on earth would I indulge in a delicious slice of pudding filled, chocolate layered cake with white chocolate frosting before 9 o’clock? Because it was that good and because it was my celebratory way of saying I’m young enough to eat cake in the morning and wise enough not to do it again.
I’m 5o years old.
I’m young enough to do what makes me feel alive and wise enough not to be repeatedly foolish.
I have been celebrating turning 50 for about a month now with amazing friends and family who have spoiled me rotten with oodles of love. I haven’t looked forward to a birthday since the day I turned 21 years old. In 1989, I thought turning 21 would tell the world I was old enough to be taken seriously. I had been on my own since I was 16 and wanted the world to treat me as the adult I thought I was. Who knew God would grant me that wish and an adult I would become. Fast and furious. Within a year of turning 21, I was married and had a baby boy and spent the next 30 years adjusting to what being an adult actually meant. Together Marc and I navigated married life, parenting challenges, and financially figured out how to pay for it all along the way. I had never once thought about the in-between years of being a young empty nester and a grey-haired rocking chair grandma.
Then I turned 50.
With very little grey hair and no grandkids, turning 50 was my permission slip to no longer having to chase the 30 or 40-year-old youth or keep up with anyone. I was confident and fully acknowledged my slightly saggy skin, bad eyesight, and wrinkles with adult acne. I can proudly chalk it all up to “Well, I’m 50, I’ve earned these aged-spots, they’re not gifted to all.”
This milestone comes with its own set of responsibilities. I’m too old to have the same ignorant mindset repeating the same mistakes over and over and call it a life. I’ve grown and my life changed. My body can’t process gluten and sugars like it used to and my metabolism has slowed to a bloated belly crawl. I have heart issues that I need a doctor for and hormones issues I need to constantly address. I have a 28-year marriage that has shown me what a vow truly means and I have looked death squarely in the eye as it stole my little girl.
Surviving a half century you see a lot and two thoughts come to mind:
- What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
- “Cake is my weakness, it makes me explode.”-Kevin Hart Jumanji
In the next 50 years, I have huge plans, big dreams, and lofty goals I can’t wait to go after. I am smarter than I used to be and know that life is all about balance. It’s full of responsibility and fun, sitting with the blessings and living through the broken. I’ve learned that life is a daring adventure and that it exists just out of your comfort zone. For me, the warning sign of unhappiness is doing a little bit less than I’m capable of doing.
After this month of partying and reflecting the first five decades of my life I excitedly look toward the future. I plan on going after it with the heart that’s young and the mind that’s wise. I am excited to have two books in the works to be published within the year. I am saying yes to more freelance writing work and yes to more corporate speaking engagements. I plan to experience more Xtreme hikes that test my limits and I plan to take with long walks on extended romantic weekends with the love of my life without forgetting to find time for my girlfriend getaways that leave my stomach hurting from laughter and heart full of love.
We are all blessed with the fact that we are breathing. With that blessing comes the obligation to do something with each breath. Now, I want to spend the rest of my life giving back anything of value as a way of saying thank you to all those who got me to this place in life. I could never have done it without you.
So thank you to my friends and family, and my cake-lady-sweet-friend-and-distant-cousin Joann for making me the most ridiculously best birthday cake ever, and because of all of you that crossed my path in the past 50 years, I got to eat cake for breakfast.