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  • Mary Jensen

Quinquagenarian



When we were kids, we could not wait for things to happen. We could not wait for school to end and summer break to begin. We could not wait for Christmas and the pretty red ribbons adorning red and green wrapped gifts. We could not wait for long weekends, spring break, and birthday parties with friends. We could not wait to get our driver’s license, get our own car, our first job, and graduation day.


Then we became adults and our perceptions began to change slightly. We enjoyed our independence, having no curfew, no homework, and not having to change for gym class. I never understood why we had gym in school to begin with. I hated gym. I disliked sports then and still do. But I digress.


Some of us get married and get pregnant. We can’t wait for the baby to arrive. We spend nine months preparing, wondering what he or she will look like. We imagine what he or she will grow up to become. We can’t wait for the baby’s first words, first steps, first Christmas, first birthday and first day of school.


Maybe we have more children, or get a promotion, or move to a new town. We look forward to all those things. And that is when our perception of time and place seem to change yet again. We find ourselves looking forward to the future though we are not filled with the same excitement as our eight-year-old self who could not wait for Christmas morning.


It is during this time when I think we begin to realize that our lives have a backward and forward, a past, present, and future. It is this era of our lives when we laugh at memories yet look ahead to the great things we have yet to accomplish.


It is not apparent to us yet, that time is moving fast, and life has a funny way of slipping by before we know it. I don't know what happened, but suddenly, I am considered a mature adult, midlife, cruising to the top of the hill. How did that happen?


At the same time, it's okay. As I enjoy the last of my 40’s, I have been looking back at my life in part to figure out how to move forward and in part to decide what I should do next. These last couple of years have been literally life changing. I got married, for the third (and last) time. I finally got it right this time. I changed jobs and careers, a few times. I started my own business. That in and of itself is challenging and rewarding.


A heart stopping life altering tragedy occurred when my oldest son died in a horrific car accident. Two days later, my younger son became a freshman in high school. We found ourselves helping one child begin a new journey and shop for school supplies while at the same time we met with funeral directors and florists.


All the changes this last year have caused me to reflect on my life as I turn fifty and plan new goals for my future. I have found myself wondering what’s next?


I no longer think of most things in the context of I can’t wait, well maybe except for going on vacation. Gone are the days of ferocious nervous energy waiting for something exciting to happen. In this era of my life it feels different. The kids are older now. Family is spread out over several states. The holidays and celebrations are not the same.


Have age and life’s experiences jaded my perception? Maybe. It is in this era of my life that I can look back and appreciate all that I have accomplished, all the mistakes I have made, all the memories created and treasured, all the people who have come and those who have gone, and yet, I know there is more for me to do.


I look forward to the next chapter, maybe not with the same eagerness and excitement of my eight-year-old self who couldn’t wait for everyone to wake up on Christmas morning, but as a quinquagenarian who is ready to face the next fifty years, should I be that lucky, because I am not done yet.


MMJ



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