The Countdown to 50…Yikes!

Tomorrow, which is currently approaching faster than a Japanese bullet train, I turn 50 and in so many ways am happy to chant “Fifty not out”, even though I’m not a cricket fan by any stretch of the imagination. After all, when we rewind six years ago before I found out they were were going to give me chemo to combat my rampaging auto-immune disease, I was in dire straits. I was potentially looking down the barrel of 12 months to live. That’s serious stuff for anyone. However, at the time, our kids were nine and seven. They were along way off independence and being able to fend for themselves.

So, I am absolutely exuberantly happy to still be here. I truly appreciate the frailty and transience of life and the need to grab onto it with both hands and carpe diem seize the day.

However, in addition to this gratitude, there is also disappointment. A disappointment which can feel like an arrow straight through my heart.

Of course, it’s only natural that reflecting on my 50 years really intensifies both the good and the bad. It brings out the stuff you don’t think about very often as well as the stuff you leave right at the back of your closet hoping there might just be an imaginary land out the back where it could disappear altogether never to return. Of course it doesn’t though, does it?!! Instead, it sends you a huge birthday card. One of those ones which play a song when you open it up which is too loud to ignore.

Of course, I’m not the only one you has had disappointments. Indeed, while mine have been pretty intense at the time, others have been through worse and even much worse.

Moreover, since I’m still here to tell my tale, I’m considerably lucky. Blessed. Whatever you call it. My glass is more than half full. It’s literally overflowing.

Yet, there is the tear. I’m not going to deny it’s there. Or, wipe it away so no one else can see it. Life is full of ups and downs and I don’t believe we should ever deny those times we’re face down in the mud unable to surface. It is what it is. However, acknowledging that, is very different from getting stuck there.

I haven’t got time now to take this any further at the moment. The clock’s just past midnight and so I’ve already passed from my 40s into my fifties and moved on.

Now, it’s time to get to bed because some wise owl thought it would be fantabulous to welcome in the new day by watching the sunrise with the family. We’re heading off to Pearl Beach about 6.00am when I’m usually snoring and dreaming away.

However, I’ll leave you with this great hit from the Uncanny X-Men:

Stay tuned for more reflections.

Meanwhile, you might want to share how you felt about and experienced your most recent milestone birthday in the comments below.

Love & best wishes,



23 thoughts on “The Countdown to 50…Yikes!

  1. tidalscribe

    When I had my sixtieth I had a ‘not a party’ all day drop in and at least a few guests claimed to be surprised I was that age! – ‘no presents, no bus pass, no pension’ was the invitation. The joke being that I am in that group where the state pension for women (and bus passes) is being phased from 60 to 66, so the ‘feeling old bit’ didn’t come till 62 and 11 months!
    Happy Fiftieth Rowena.

  2. pensitivity101

    Happy birthday from one who has a baker’s dozen on you!
    I lost my paternal grandfather the year I turned 18, my 21st was a farce with a box of chocs from my fiance-husband-to-be-later-to-be-ex which wished me a Happy Easter (Easter in April, birthday in May), my 30th was actually OK. My 40th sadly I lost my dad the following day, my 50th was celebrated for two weeks as it was also our 15th wedding anniversary and I took an early retirement package even though the bank had made me redundant 5 years before, and my 60th coincided with our silver wedding anniversary so our friend had Maggie and we had a night in a hotel! Bubble bath and strawberries! Yay!!! (Read tidal wave, flooded floor and a pruny me, but it was wonderful and they had loads of towels)

  3. IreneDesign2011

    Happy Birthday Rowena, wish you a beautiful one 😀
    For me the age has no important meaning. When I woke up from my coma two years ago, I felt grateful still to be alive and I still do.

  4. TanGental

    Hey happy birthday you babe! Fifty, schmifty. Wipe the past clean, turn the page and begin writing your next happy. That’s all there is so embrace it like an anaconda with abandonment issues. Hugs from London, smiles from everywhere!!

  5. maxwellthedog

    Happy Birthday, Ro! You’ve had a good first half. The second half will be even better. Except for the knees. The knees always give out. And the back. The legs. The sex drive. The hair. Oh, never mind. Stay positive. 🙂

  6. Rowena Post author

    I think staying ignorant could be the way to go with that dreadful list you’ve offered up. I’ve considered getting some kind of full body costume and prending that I’m 21 again. Who needs to act their age? Bring it on! Best wishes, Ro

  7. Rowena Post author

    Thanks so much, Monika. It’s been difficult to balance the celebrations with my energy levels. However, I’ve had a great week and I’m going out for my special birthday dinner tomorrow night. Really looking forward to it.
    Best wishes,

  8. Rowena Post author

    Thanks so much for that lovely message, mate. I like that idea of wiping the past clean and starting over like the waves washing away footprints in the sand.
    I’ve been thinking a bit about that young woman who did her own solo poetry reading in the Shakespeare Bookshop in Paris in 1992 wondering what happened when I got home. I went all corporate with my marketing career and it was like I stepped into someone else’s skin. Did I guess what was expected for a young person from my background. It was like my health issues dive tackled all of that to bring me back to myself. .
    Lately, I’ve been thinking about acquiring a full body costume of some sort and doing something a bit performance orientated. A friend of my DJs for Karaoke and that was a thought. There’s part of me who wants to liberate themselves from being 50 and just be totally ridiculous.
    On that note, I did buy myself this big fur boa wrap thing which is very flamboyant to wear to my lunchtime birthday celebrations and a red and black asia style jacket which I’ll be wearing out to dinner tomorrow night.
    As you can see, I’m a fully fledged introvert!
    Thanks btw for your friendship for all these years. Such a pity we haven’t been able to meet in person yet but I’m still working on getting to the UK. I don’t know if I mentioned that we’re send our son off on a European history tour with his school next year and so that puts our ambitions off for a bit. It was too good to say no to and I’m sure it will be life-changing for him.
    Take care and much love,

  9. Rowena Post author

    Irene, thank you so much for your birthday wishes. I had no idea that you were in a coma two years ago and clearly relate to what I feel about my own health battles. I am very grateful to still be here and it is a strange feeling at times to feel that sense of living beyond my use-by-date. I am quite torn about returning to work but as time passes, am thinking it’s time to make the move back part-time. Pick up the baton and run with it.
    Best wishes,

  10. jenimcmillan

    Many more good years, Rowena! My 50th was spent in a concrete culvert, trying to keep cool, somewhere in the middle of nowhere on a 2000 k bike ride with my then partner. It was a 50 degree Summer and my present melted (Toblerone was my favourite too). My 60th was at a rave party in St Petersburg 2018. Who needs a body suit? Just keep as healthy as you can (sorry to hear it hasn’t been easy for you) and love whatever the present brings… I hope it wasn’t melted Toblerone 🙂

  11. Rowena Post author

    Jeni, you certainly seem to lead an interesting life. My husband and I took Lindt Balls on our first Valentine’s Day together. It’s the peak of Summer here then and the insides liquified. They were very decadent but messy.
    Best wishes,

  12. Rowena Post author

    Thanks so much, Dan. There wasn’t really any sign of the sunrise that morning, but it was our sunrise and we enjoyed all that it was.
    Best wishes,

  13. Rowena Post author

    Thank you very much. I like your idea of an all day drop in to celebrate your 60th. I’m still catching up with friends and tomorrow night I am out for dinner with friends I haven’t seen much in the last ten years. Can’t wait. I love that aspect of the 0 birthdays.
    Best wishes,

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