Lessons at 50

3 min readMay 16, 2022
Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

Tomorrow I am turning 50. It is weird because I still feel the vulnerability of 18, the drive of 30, and the wonder of a child. I’m sitting here with sunlight streaming through my window, listening to music and feeling the stirrings of something new. And, honestly, it’s fucking miraculous.

I have felt so consumed by my grief over the past two years — and it is still there, pulling me and washing over me in unexpected ways. But there is something else there now too. A desire to fight. Fight for my happiness, for the feeling of being loved, for hope in this goddamn bleak mess of a world. That, in and of itself, feels unreal. It’s been so long since I’ve had any fight in me. Any hope that I could feel the energy and happiness that comes with sunlight. Here are a couple of things I’ve learned, things that have aided in this long journey out of darkness:

  1. Life is full of contradictions. My life is a testament to this. I have been a devout Christian, then an Atheist. I am right now, listening to Hillsong and letting the words wash over me in a cleansing tide — even though I don’t believe in the God they sing about. I can do that because I recognize that the music connects me to a feeling of renewal and I can take that piece of goodness without commitment to the faith. I am learning to balance opposites. I can be devastated over my daughter, and still hold hope. I can feel the sting of rejection and still love myself. I can make mistakes (tons of them) and still be good. Life isn’t about calming the shifting sands under my feet. That is not my job. I just need to figure out how to stay upright — and look around to enjoy what is around me from time to time, instead of putting all my focus on the shifting that I can’t control anyway.
  2. I get to decide. I get to decide how I want to be treated. I get to decide what my worth is. I get to decide how to love my life, or how much attention I want to give the fucked-up parts of our world. I get to decide with whom and how often I tell my story — it’s mine and it’s valuable. I can choose to hold my value inside of me without judgement from anyone else. It’s an incredibly empowering thing to realize that I am in charge of my life, and my happiness. This might seem a simplistic idea to many, but I grew up in a world where value was determined through submission, burden, and sacrifice. So for me, it’s a big deal. I say…

I am an assistant principal at a small middle school. I care deeply about people and I like to find solutions if I can. Life is hard. Let's be kind