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Have you ever been on a ride that was completely smooth — no bumps, no valleys, and no inclines? I can say with certainty that I haven’t, and naturally, my journey through mid-life was no exception.

When I was young, I thought I was invincible. My plans to battle age developed decades before I hit my mid-life years. My arsenal of age-fighters were nothing short of trying to maintain a healthy eating and exercise regime, and an ongoing supply of whatever beauty aids, creams, potions, and lotions I would read about, in efforts to preserve myself from aging.

But the truth is, aging is a natural process of life. And, it entails much more than just our physical attributes. As I transitioned into my middle years, many things changed. My perceptions and values changed, my evaluations on friendships changed, even my tolerances and gratitude changed.

Time became more apparent; not all of these things happened simultaneously, but as the hands of time began pointing in the direction of fifty, I noticed several changes within myself.

Although the healthy measures I adapted to when I was younger were moderately paying off, staving off wrinkles as best I could, my attitude towards life in general had changed. I became more aware of just how quickly the days were passing, and how illness can change life in a flash. And I became concerned about the fact that I hadn’t done anything truly accomplishing to feel that I’d be leaving my footprints behind when it came time to go to the next world as I felt time moving a little faster.

I found myself spending more time reading about spirituality, in efforts to regain a sense of faith I felt I needed to stay focused on being positive, particularly in dark times, and when my imagination would get the best of me with worries and unpleasant dilemmas.

I became much more aware about having gratitude; learning to be grateful for everything and everyone in my life, and for the smallest moments of victories and accomplishments — particularly for each subsequent birthday.

New realizations emboldened me, and I grew to realize that when I didn’t want to go somewhere I felt uncomfortable being at just to appease someone else, that I wouldn’t subject myself any longer. I re-evaluated friendships and found some were valuable and some sucked the life out of me, and learned to walk away from those situations. I learned to say no to those who constantly took from me and had given nothing in return.

I mentioned birthdays because as I grew into my forties, the passing years began to scare me; fearing each birthday signaled the remaining years in my life were becoming less. I also learned how when people have a life-threatening health scare, the incident can become a wake-up call for our gratitude. I realized this after undergoing open-heart surgery to remove a tumor on one of my valves, in my mid-forties. The experience reminded me again about how short life really is, and had me questioning myself about what I’d done in life, and what I still wanted to accomplish if I was given the chance to live. I discovered a new appreciation for how valuable my time was and I vowed to spend it being happy and positive.

My husband has a saying that began resonating with me profoundly, “You need to celebrate each birthday because it’s a reminder you’re on the right side of the green.” Prior to my surgery, I used to lament about having another birthday and getting older. But I realized how right he was when suddenly faced with the thought that perhaps there would be no more birthdays. We should never shun our birthdays. We must celebrate them in gratitude for our life, for how far we’ve come and for milestones we’ve conquered in our lives, and for how much we’re loved and appreciated by the people in our lives.

Life is what we make of it. Time is short as I notice the days whipping by like a freight train. I hadn’t accomplished all things I wanted to do, but learned that as long as I was gifted with a tomorrow, I had to do things that made me happy.

I knew in my soul, I was born to write. I dabbled in it for decades without taking a serious approach. In my forties, it became a nagging desire that I needed to write books. I reviewed my life experiences, and realized I hadn’t settled down or focused on writing books because I was too busy socializing, and couldn’t discipline myself to write. But as my late forties approached, gifted with my second change in life, I was compelled to follow my dream. I worked hard at staying focused on writing, while learning the self-publishing business. I began writing my first book.

It’s never too late to follow your dreams. I now feel as though I’ve left some sort of a contribution of my existence to the world. I’ve created footprints.

D.G. Kaye©2016

#Wisdom and #Gratitude #Writing, Aging

Author/blogger - Nonfiction memoir writer who writes about life, relationships, matters of the heart and women’s issues.

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