50 Thoughts: The First Last of the Firsts …

Originally published August 25, 2018

The thing about pushing 50 is you start to realize you’ve covered a lot of territory.

It’s obvious, right? After all, YOU’RE 50. Of course. You been to school. You’ve dated. Maybe you’ve married. You’ve had kids. And unless you’re Janet Jackson or Brigitte Nielsen, the Terrible Twos are way way back in the rear view mirror.

It seems more and more though, there have been a lot of those “last” firsts. Just this past week, I’ve taken two boys back to college for the last time, and my daughter had her last “first” day of school. And then, today, the gut punch of her last “first” high school meet of the season. Cheering my kids on and supporting their teammates and friends is a long cherished activity, whether it was the 5th grade class play, a 5K with Girls on the Run, a hockey or soccer goal, a marching band competition or a swim meet. These kids and their parents often have become extended family. To know this is coming to an end all too soon is wrenching.

Watching this transitional experience unfold in front of me is equal parts exhilarating and heartbreaking. I am so excited for my youngest as she prepares to soar from this nest, but absolutely despondent at the notion she won’t be across the hall from me, her sleeping form calling out to me on weekend mornings to cuddle up around for some snuggle time.

And it’s not just the parenting gig that presents those opportunities to preach about the passage of time. With every year, you’re faced with more “lasts” than “firsts.” The last ice cream cone of summer before you cave to your lactose intolerance. The last “nice” sofa you’ll buy. The last time you let yourself completely go and have more than two drinks at a bar. The last lawnmower you buy before you start researching senior living communities complete with lawn care and home maintenance. You get the picture.

All this said, I don’t see myself scouring the calendar trying to find the best date to hold my own funeral. Instead, pushing 50, I am choosing to embrace this era in my life for all the new firsts out there:

  • First meals I can still try when I start empty nest cooking (Is it too late to try brussel sprouts?)
  • First weddings for my kids and their friends (And first time to hear someone say, “Damn, she can still move on the dance floor. She’s pretty hot for her age.”)
  • First trips to new places
  • First grandchildren, if we are lucky
  • First time trying new hobbies ( Is this when I tell my husband I am going to make him do a ballroom dancing lesson with me?)
  • First skydiving attempt (Well, maybe. Need for a deathwish to kick in.)
  • First puppy
  • And more debut authors, of course …

The point being, as much as I know I will miss what’s behind, I’m excited for the future even more. Who’s in? Just don’t make me buy sensible shoes.

Today’s recommendation: The Little Book of Hygge, which is going to be my life coaching bible moving from my 40s to my 50s. I am all about the cozy, bug sweaters and drinking wine by candlelight. Yep.

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