Frees, Harry Whittier, photographer. The Birthday Cake. , ca. 1914. June 24. Photograph.

Frees, Harry Whittier, photographer. The Birthday Cake. , ca. 1914. June 24. Photograph.

Here I am, on the cusp of turning 50. On the cusp of a half century. A HALF CENTURY, Y’ALL. It messes with my head when I think about it too hard.

“Autistic Woman Turns 50, News at 11!”

I often think I don’t feel any older than I did ten years ago. But then I remember how I was ten years ago. Less back pain. Less knee pain. Only just finding my first white hair. And less self-understanding. Fewer experiences that inform my ideas of myself, others, and the world. Less knowledge about what I want out of my life.

We feel like we’re the same people as we go through life, like we’re the same at 50 as we were at 25. In one sense, this is true. I still retain a lot of my interests, values, and memories from days gone by. But I knew nothing at 25 compared with what I know today. I wonder if 75 will have me looking back at 50 in the same way. Maybe I’ll repeat this exercise then, if blogs are still a thing.

I guess as our bodies fall apart, our minds gain clarity. One of the consolations of aging.

I also try to keep in mind a quote that I keep at my desk, to help me with the idea of getting older: “Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many.”

Indeed. Those of us who are able to grow old are fortunate.

In the manner of May Sarton, I decided that I want to do something to mark this milestone in my life. I realize that age and numbers are arbitrary, but they don’t feel arbitrary to me, and that’s what matters here. So I decided to make my Year of Being 50 feel special.

I’m going to do some things that help me feel like I’m making the most of the year, rather than just letting it float by, like the second half of my 40s seem to have done (thanks, pandemic).

I’m going to seek out fun, joy, adventure, and things that move me, as much as I possibly can. Sometimes this will mean just taking a beloved book off my shelf and reading it, or looking through it to learn something new about maps, residential architecture, clouds, or Scotland. Sometimes it will mean baking a new recipe I’ve always wanted to try. And sometimes it will mean going on voyages to distant lands (well, mostly domestic).

I’m also going to (fingers crossed here) write daily blog posts. Some will be meaningful and full of content. Others will likely be very short but hopefully contain a cat photo or a pretty cloud. But it will be a convenient way to chronicle the parts of my Year of Being 50 that I decide to share with the public.

I’ve done a variety of things over the years to chronicle my life. I’ve learned how to take selfies that I don’t hate. I have kept a five-year journal for the past 9+ years (I’ll have to buy my third one at the end of 2023). I’ve written about things on my blog, on social media, in letters, and in emails. But I’ve never done anything daily that was very time consuming, because it starts to feel like work after a while. But I feel like my Year of Being 50 is different, special, deserving of particular attention. Worth making the effort for.

Along the way, I’m sure I will repeat myself pretty frequently. I tend to do that when I’m writing. So I might write almost identical posts at some point in the year, forgetting that I’d already covered the material. Just bear with me.

Thank you for coming along this journey. I hope you find something meaningful in these digital pages.

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