To FIFTY and BEYOND!

“The natural flights of the human mind are not from pleasure to pleasure, but from hope to hope.” – Samuel Johnson

Hey y’all, it’s Hope and I’m coming ‘atcha with a Hopeservations that’s a little personal in nature!

It’s about being present and accounted for but also hopeful of what’s to come!

So the countdown is OFFICIALLY on.

I turned FORTY-NINE this past July…

…and we all know what comes next!?

*BIG GULP* (and I don’t mean the drink)

Uhhhh YUP…FIFTY!!!

So here is the bottom line. I have these months left before I encounter this new and exciting decade.

So many people dread their 50’s, as if the last dredge of their “youth” is finally slipping through their grasp.

Certainly, society has placed a mixed bag of attachments and sentiments on this milestone which has programmed us to view it with hesitation. After-all, it is a proverbial turning point in our personal timeline where we have to honor that there are potentially fewer decades before us then behind us. Yet for me, I anticipate a feeling of ARRIVAL!

The way I look at it, this time is going to pass one way or another – so again – it’s like anything in MY life, I’m embracing it! I’m going to flow with these tides and ride whatever waves come my way. I plan to be present in my moments with mounting excitement and happiness for what’s to come!

Adventures and memories aside, (blogs for another day) my 20s, 30s and 40s have been a roller coaster, filled with life-changing and MAJOR developmental events in every way possible. So much has happened in my lifetime to make me who I am. I’m absolutely looking forward to these last months of forty-nine, my pending 50s and all the promise these coming years have to offer. Here’s why:

On Family:

It seems that somewhere in your 20’s you realize just how cool your family is and that although they’re crazy, they’re part of who you are. They’re wrapped into what made you, YOU! Your personality, your traits, your fears, your aspirations, and just plain you…however they aren’t YOU!

So you get to embrace the good and healthy parts, make a conscious choice on which parts to keep, continue with the take-aways and traditions you love, work on breaking patterns you recognize might be troublesome later in life so you aren’t plagued for all of your coming days and then continue finding your own way and walk FORWARD!

I’ve always respected my divorced parents and their individual roles in my life, and while my dad’s life was cut short in my late 30’s…I’m going into my 50’s looking forward to continuing my connections with my family, not JUST as family but as FRIENDS! I’ve been struck low with the grief of losing one family member after another far before their time over this last decade to where much of my core family has been whittled to an extreme few. While I have always cherished my family, as I approach 50, I especially cherish those I have left!

On Marriage:

The past 20 years of marriage have given me and my husband a chance to grow together through lifestyle adjustments while working through differing communication styles. We’ve encountered the loss of family and best friends, bought an older house, slowly refurbishing it with always more to do, child birth and child rearing times three, two of which were within 12 months in my mid thirties, 3 c-sections, breastfeeding after returning to work, my career in education, a business and multiple career changes for him all while in the same industry, a recession, financial strain and the pitfalls that come with that. Both of us evolving and finding our way multiple times over yet for vastly different reasons. Leaning on each other and sometimes respecting the space each other needed. Me, learning how to be woman and wife that can compromise while setting boundaries for the benefit of myself as a person within the structure of my marriage. Developing a truly interdependent relationship, and refusing to allow any codependent traits we could easily fall into manifest.

So I’ll enjoy my 49th year with these 20 years well under my belt and I wouldn’t change a thing. I won’t lie, I married a man that has made me scratch my head a time or two and I’m pretty sure he’s felt the same about me. Yet never once has he asked me to change who I am and that was HUGE to me. Not only do I love him but I respect him for that! He instinctively knew I was far to independent to even attempt it (and my dad told him when we married). I’ve mostly been able to stay the free spirited, independent gal I’ve always been. Although she was almost lost to me for a bit, I went on a journey looking for her, found her, fought for her and now all parts of ME are FULLY here and present…more aware and awake then ever!

So the countdown to GIFTY is on! Yeah, I called it gifty…because it’s going to be a gift to turn fifty and have this guy by my side.

On Kids:

I have a 19, 14, and 13 year old. Opinions vary on if we’re behind or ahead of the empty nest stage – I’d say we are somewhere in the middle. They are growing more independent of us everyday. One is in college and really spreading her wings. She’s back and forth, still needs us but delightfully finding her way. Seeing how quickly time flew with our first, I know it isn’t much longer with my last two and so I’m PRESENT in all their moments before they too start to fly from the nest!

My husband and I both had short lived marriages in our 20’s and at the time, I know we felt sadness over the failure of those relationships but in hindsight I also know we are both extremely grateful! Furthermore, my 20s were a time for extensive travel, focusing on me, starting my career, getting to know myself as a person and getting some things out of my system. As we all know, kids change life and as a result of a pretty great and growth filled 20something, I can comfortably say I was READY and had NO regrets. I was emotionally, intellectually, physically and spiritually invested in becoming a MOTHER and willing to put my focus right where it needed to be, ON THEM! Fast forward nineteen years, I’m still fully present in their lives yet excited for their independence and what’s to come!

On Career:

I have spent the last 25 years in a career that I see more as a calling. It’s been one of my greatest passions. It’s also a career that changes all the time! As a result, I have learned to change A LOT too! Sometimes I agree. Sometimes I don’t. Yet at the end of the day it’s about doing what we do, loving and educating children. I have struggled, questioned, learned, grown and faced more than a few instances of professional conflict, loss and just plain old, “what the hell am I doing?!” Yet, for every moment like that, there have been countless more moments of joy, love, fulfillment, and lifelong relationships developed. To know you have had a positive impact on someone’s life and helped guide them to adulthood is HUGE!

I have found some wonderful mentors along the way and been a mentor myself both to co-workers and students. In my early years I had a variety of professional aspirations all within the field of education but I chose not to follow those paths in lieu of balancing a fulfilling career with motherhood, my love for being creative in my home and for others, keeping my summers free to enjoy well invested, uninterrupted time with my family, and pursue my own interests and hobbies. I’ve always known myself and my desires and so I never wanted to be consumed by any ONE thing so much that it took my focus off being present for my family and the priority of LIVING LIFE! For me, it’s always been about BALANCE!!! It took a few years before I fully laid those professional “what if’s” to rest and I won’t ever make that same mistake again. What a bunch of wasted time second guessing myself all for something I knew in my heart from the start!

Now, I’m five years from retirement if I decide to go that route. I doubt I will at only 54, yet it is how I planned things for myself. My goal to retire close to 50 still seems pretty fun! I know each year I continue will ONLY be done so if my heart is fully present and invested in the service of others! Those kids deserve the best of me and I trust that I’ll know when it is time for me to go. Until then, I’m going to continue giving to something bigger, being a part of an institution and tradition where you foster roots for others to have a foundation to grow from. I’m excited to do something I still love, at a school that is my second home but at the same time, I see a future beyond and that’s equally exciting!

On Hopeservations:

I started this for a multitude of reasons, of which I discuss in my “ABOUT” section, so I won’t go into that too much here! The bottom line, I was encouraged time and again to take my Hopeservations beyond the commentary I offered on my social media’s as people found them uplifting and hopeful. I recognized there were a lot of people who seemed to enjoy and/or benefit from what I had to say and certainly I am just as qualified as the next human to say it. I have studied human behavior, education, been a coach and worked with people for over 30 years, in some capacity or another – and it has been those very opportunities that have shown me that even in the darkest of moments, the hopefulness of the human spirit is beyond resilient. It literally is what keeps us humans trying new and fresh everyday!

Cultivating this place to write – fostering a place for people to come, not only helps others, it gives me a place to continue my creative outlet, and focus my energies. Not as much right now but definitely in years to come. This is not a sprint, it is a marathon and I’ve already been in it for nearly two years with close to 60 blogs. I will continue building Hopeservations year by year because I have a keen awareness I will need something to be passionate about as other areas of my life shift. I have visions of sitting on the beach, watching the beautiful day go by, taking pictures and writing. I do it all the time anyway, mashed up little pieces of writing and sentences that take shape into a blog along with my pictures. So I’m beyond excited to see the direction this goes in my 50’s. I have ideas and in time, they will unfold. I’m in no big rush…

On Past & Future:

My 20s, 30s, and 40s have been filled with transition, adventures, love, laughter, fear, tragedy, grief and sorrow. There have been a lot of hello’s and equally as many good-bye’s. Life has been messy and precious and not a single straight trajectory to be found in any of it! I don’t for a second think that life in my 50’s won’t share the same.

It’s easy to question who you are, doubt yourself and wonder if this is what it is all about? It is easy to fall into a routine that feels like a rut. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, take on too much, losing yourself along the way – it’s so common, especially among women!

WE. DO. IT. ALL. THE. TIME!

Yes, it is easy. Yet for most women, somewhere (hopefully) in our 30s and 40s, perspective’s shift and a peacefulness settles in. It takes some time to grow through those decades to fully evolve. I recognize how blessed I am to have found my way. I recognize how blessed I am to have created my own small family unit and kept it intact over the years. I recognize how blessed I am to have made some small contribute to my community. I recognize how blessed I am to not take ANY thing for granted! Plus, there is a GREATER awareness and consciousness of how to treat ourselves and others that I love sharing. That emotional, intellectual, physical and spiritual understanding that continually evolves. It’s THAT very awareness that I plan to take into my 50’s and BEYOND that I am excited for! I’m blessed, at peace, and feel LIBERATED!

So…nope…I won’t be grasping for the last vestige of youth, instead I will celebrate! Standing at the top of the proverbial mountain and shouting, “I have ARRIVED!” Grateful for every perfectly imperfect moment that has gotten me to this place and truly excited and at peace for the next phase of my journey!

So what are some of YOUR thoughts on aging and the next chapter of your life? What do you look forward to?

DEAR READER! WHAT’S NEXT?

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It seems there are a lot of us out there who appreciate personal growth practices and living a lifestyle of spreading hope and sharing observations about life.

I look forward to us continuing our hopeful journey together!

After-all, everyone needs a little HOPE in their DAY and this is just the PLACE.

A place to find Hope everyday!

As always…

Go in love,

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