You say it’s your birthday
It’s my birthday too, yeah
They say it’s your birthday
We’re gonna have a good time
I’m glad it’s your birthday
Happy birthday to you
I’ve been hearing the Beatles in my head for the past week. I guess because their Birthday song is so positive, so motivating, so dance worthy!
And right now – today – it’s my time to celebrate!
I’m 55! And it’s the best birthday of my life.
For those of you new around here …
If you’ve only followed me for a short time, you might not know my story.
I went to college, got the job, settled down into “life” just like many of you. But something changed.
My dad died of a massive heart attack at 54 years old. Less than two years later, my mom had a massive stroke at 54.
54 is not a good number in my house. So I skipped it. Two years ago, I turned 53. One year ago, I turned 53-again. If you want to read more about it, you can see my photoshoot here.
And today … I’m 55!
Slow traveling to stay in place
Several years ago, we uprooted our lives, sold our forever house, got rid of most of our stuff, and moved to the Pacific Northwest to slow travel the rest of our lives. While we’re renting a small place by the river, we use it as a base, and travel all the time.
We’ve spoken with natives to this area that haven’t seen half the things we have. We pick a different spot on the map and head out almost every weekend.
We fly halfway around the world. Which is where I should be right now. We were scheduled to spend sixteen days in Portugal and Spain to celebrate my 55th. Instead, I’m staying in place.
But I’m 55! And whether I’m in Portugal or Portland, it’s a reason to celebrate.
We did another photoshoot, because why not!? The streets in my little village are all but empty, so we used the local businesses as my background. It might not be what I intended, but I’m going to celebrate any way I can to remember this time of my life.
The world is changing … And only some know it
Some people want life to go back to the way it was.
I’m not one of those people.
I’m fascinated by some of the changes that have taken place these past couple of months. We haven’t gone through a slow learning curve this year. Instead, we were thrown into the fire, sink or swim atmosphere. Because there was no other choice.
And some people learned. Here’s what I’ve watched and heard:
“I love working from home, and I don’t want to go back to sitting in traffic to get to a work environment I don’t enjoy. I’m more productive than ever.”
“I’m learning what’s most important. I’m taking care of myself like I haven’t in years. I’m discovering a part of me I thought had died.”
“My relationship with my spouse is better than ever. We go for walks. We talk. We spend time together and love it.”
“I’ve gotten to know more people in my neighborhood in a few weeks than in all the years I’ve lived here.”
“I’m simplifying. I’m spending more time on the little things. I’m finding happiness, even though I’m being challenged like never before.”
“I’m not wasting anything. I think twice about what I buy.”
I, too, am learning a lot. I’m spending more time in my creative zone. I’m giving myself permission to be in the now, no matter what I’m doing. I’ve learned to stop and listen to everyone I come in contact with, whether on my walk (6 feet apart, of course) or on the phone.
I also love that I see others learning new things and excited about it. People who said “I’ll never use virtual technology” are now buying groceries, attending work out classes, and conversing with family in an entirely new way.
Yup, that alone is going to change our world.
Why I celebrate 55 – Pro-Aging, baby!
For me, my hardest birthday was my 30th. My father had died the year before. I had just given birth to a beautiful baby girl. And mortality slapped me in the face. The questions hit me faster than I could recover.
- Am I doing what I truly want to do?
- Am I living the life I was meant to live?
- How am I going to raise a child in this world and give her a great life?
- What if it all goes fast for me too?
- What’s the meaning of life?
Oh, the questions! It was like a game of rapid fire, and I couldn’t find answers to any of them.
Time heals all wounds, they say, and I found that to be true. Life happened. My 40th was one of my best years. I made health my top priority, and signed up for a triathlon to prove it.
My 50th brought on a world of change. My daughter had picked up and moved over 1200 miles away to attend college, so my husband and I decided to make changes too. We started out on our quest for slow traveling the rest of our lives, and moved to the Pacific Northwest for something new.
Sometimes life doesn’t go according to plan. It’s how you live it, and how you move forward that matters most.
I think of this point as a time when I can wipe the slate clean. Decide who and where I want to be. Build for a future I truly want to live.
I might not be out of a job, and I’m grateful for that. But I did lose 20 percent of my income.
I’m re-evaluating every aspect of my life, and I’ll ensure that I’m better prepared when something like this happens again.
Because I’m 55! And I have so many things to live for!
My priorities are shifting, once again. I’m planning for even more change in my life.
You too? I’d love to hear how your priorities have shifted. Where is the change in your life? What will you be doing as we move into a more simplified, more intentional way of life?