I know, I know. It’s just a number. yet for some reason this number has been looming in my mind for a year now. Probably longer. The thought of turning a half century old has discombobulated me in such a manner I can only describe with the phrase (so telling of my age and generation): it has wigged me out.
And still is…if I think about it too much. Now that the actual day is within the week, I’m surrendering and fortifying myself for the event. I will likely sail right through this week without so much as a hiccup. Several changes have been made as I approach this mark. More are yet to be pursued. Certain practices are becoming even more crucial to working out the decades, both behind and before me. These same practices are teaching me an even greater awareness of and desire for dwelling in the present moment, for leaving the past behind and ceasing the future tripping I so easily fall into.
In a broad sense, I know what the next decade will bring. Children, all three of them, going off to college, graduating, getting married, possibly having children. The thought of myself as a gra…gran…(I cannot type it!) is simply mind-blowing. The decade ahead could also be fraught with more illness for myself and other loved ones, the ache of parents aging, and more dental work. That last one is definitely frightening. Ha!
I have never faced a decade where I could see such changes, hardships and challenges on the horizon. If I dwell there for long, it takes my breath away quite literally and I have to sit down, breathe, and remember the present…Here is where I am. Here, now, healthy, whole, loved ones all here, sun is shining, all is well. Even on days when the sun is not shining, all is well if I camp out in the present moment. I can breathe. No matter what the next decade holds I’ll be able to breathe if I just remain in the nowscape of each moment. Prayer, mindfulness, are crucial tools for facing my sixth decade.
So are drawing and knitting. More than ever before, I find these two endeavors life-giving, healing, enabling me to be fully engaged in whatever circumstance I find myself. I look forward to future drawings and paintings as well as more knitting adventures. I am thrilled to be teaching knitting and crochet classes! I get so excited about meeting new people in and through these classes, offering them the tools to knit that same healing into their lives as I have enjoyed in mine.
With knitting needles in one hand and a paintbrush in the other, I’m ready for the next ten years!
Bring it on!
Notes on the above photos:
1. Tea and knitting seem to go together, even at the beach! Recent sock knitting has me working with sun colors, neon bright…love it!
2. A friend posted on Instagram a pic of his bicycle in a field of poppies. I asked if I could paint it. This is where I’d like to be. Right now.
3. My birthday tunic is now finished. It is Liesl by Julie Weisenberger. Can’t wait to wear it and share the finished garment with you!
4. I’ve recently been doing a lot of line-only drawings. No watercolor added. Just lines. Continuous. Free-flowing. Caressing the beautiful life I live.
5. I’m enjoying drawing at a farm right across the street from our home. This is not Mr. Whicker’s Farm, as many of you have seen my drawings and paintings over the years. This is a working farm where the Smith family raises goats, chickens, Llamas, and horses. Maddie takes horseback riding lessons here. I draw while she rides. I love drawcumenting my days.
21 thoughts on “Turning Fifty”
You WILL sail through just fine. Fifty was a big number for me too although both my kids had actually left home when I was forty but forty wasn’t so scary. Well, let me tell you I am through those 50’s and they were just one more year after another just as those in my forties, thirties and twenties! Maybe the edge had been taken off since I lost my mom in my twenties, my husband’s mom in my thrities and my dad in my forties. You however are fearing it will ALL come crashing down on you at once and I can see how there really can be that many changes in your life. I hope the good things are in bunches and the bad is in a drop here and there as we simply can’t escape it but the good can surely outweigh the bad.
I remember my son telling me once when he was about 4, that he was never leaving home. I told him that if he never left home he’d never get to come visit! Your kids will leave and they will love to come home too. And you will look forward to the returns while crying on the leavings. Ah life can be so beautiful and also hurt some. But only take it one thing at a time, one day at a time! I’m pretty sure once you pass this hurdle you’ve got about 50 you’ll take it all in stride. I hope so.
Thank you Timaree! I am thankful for the encouragement! Have a beautiful week!
I love your blog and all your work. You encourage me to worship God through my creative gifts even on hard days! My husband went through cancer, chemo and now has Alzheimer’s. I have been inspired to encourage others going through difficult times through sharing art . Thank you!
Oh Katie, those are hard things to experience! I can’t imagine! May God’s blessings be poured out on you and your husband as you live each moment as fully as possible. Thank you for commenting here! I really enjoy hearing from friends near and far.
Wishing you a very Happy 50th birthday. Cannot express in words how much I enjoyed being your neighbor and friend for the years I lived next door to you and your wonderful family.
Hi Joann!! And we WILL get together soon!!! I miss seeing you and knowing you are next door!! I hope all is well with you!
Jennifer, you’re the best. I love your comments. The same for your art. It feeds my soul. Thank you for both.
You are so welcome Sheryl! Thank you for visiting and taking the time to comment! I really appreciate it!
Hello, Jennifer, from the Michigan Edwards cousins! I’ve enjoyed following your blog for awhile now, love your work and your writing. One of these days we’re going to have to get out to NC to come visit, to knit and drink tea together!
I’m going to share your post with Sally, the fearless leader of our knitting group here. She just turned 50 as well. As I told her — I hear 50 is the new 40, which makes you officially younger than me! 🙂 Welcome to your bright, shiny new decade — may it be wonderful.
Hi Gretchyn! Wow! This is so cool to “meet” you! It truly would be fun to meet up for tea and knitting and conversation!! Thank you for commenting and visiting my blog! Have a lovely week!
Hello. How’s this for a bday present. I found u this way:
-bought Art Before Breakfast
-he recommended joining Everyday Matters Facebook group
-came across your post
-clicked and read (I turned 50 last year)
Glad to read others’ feelings are similar to mine. Although I was a little late to the parenting gig – my son is 7 – what a joy this stage of my life has brought me. Not talking about needing readers
This is indeed an awesome birthday present! So nice to “meet” you here! And I have needed “readers” for a while now…and since I wear glasses anyway, I got the trifocal thing so it isn’t so obvious. Except that I need a more powerful prescription now so I’m still looking over my glasses like an old lady! Ha!:) thanks for visiting and taking the time to comment here Mary Ann!
Italians say “I have 50 years.” Not a big change from “I am 50” u til you think about it.m every year, every decade, is celebrated as an accumulated treasure no one can take away. As to the future, The Italians say “We plan, God allows” so after making plans, they almost always add “Then we’ll see.” It is their form of acceptance that they are not in control. This from the country whose people created half of the World’s greatest art treasures.
Just a thought…
a Very Happy Birthday, Jennifer…
And what a lovely thought it is Phyllis! And so good to hear from you! The French say it that way as well…j’ai cinquante and. (I have 50 years.) Beautiful way of putting it. Thanks for visiting me here! And I hope you and your family are well!!
Have a wonderful birthday Jennifer! I’m sure you will enjoy it. You are always so positive and deal with everything that happens to you with such grace. Your blog is a joy to read. Thank you!
Thank you Marie! I hope you are able to sketch a bit while enjoying your beautiful grandchildren and family! All the best!
Happy Birthday! An especially happy birthday, to mark your new decade. Coincidentally my own 50th birthday was only a month ago and I recognise so much of what you allude to here about the impact of arriving at this point in one’s life and have been thinking it myself. Funny actually as years ago I rather looked forward to being fifty – somehow it seemed a good age to be – with many of the uncertainites and agonies that can accompany younger years being done and dusted and the expectation of by now having “found oneself” and able to be what the French call being “bien dans sa peau”. The reality has been a bit different not least in that I naively thought at thirty that at fifty I would still have the energy I had back then and I don’t! And as you say, this next decade(s) sees / see some potentially rather costly milestones to negotiate with children leaving home and parents and oneself being less robust. Having said that, there is a sense in which one does know who one is deep down a bit better by now and that has all sorts of positive implications about the choices one makes. I also think that a sense of time ticking and a need to make the most of it is a very good lens through which to approach life. Helps one live in the present and not keep harking back to the past or rushing ahead to the future. And that is a good thing as it’s so easy not really to be in the present and then miss it and only see it as a wistful past. There’s an interview with Dennis Potter before he died in which he talks about the fact that all we have is “now”. I wrote about it in a blogpost about a cherry blossom prayer shawl a couple of years ago. I’ll dig it out and send you the link if you’d like. It’s poignant to read because of course one knows he didn’t have much life left to love but it is also very inspiring and positive when actually one does have, hopefully, quite a lot of life left to live! (My iPad has just corrected “live” to “love” – as Pope John Paul II once said, “no such thing as coincidence within the Providence of God”! Sending you a hug and lots of good wishes for your special day and for the coming years, may they be richly blessed and may you know all that there is to love in life in them. Elizabeth xx
Thank you Thank you Elizabeth for this kind and wonderful birthday wish! A belated happy 50th to you as well!! I so enjoy your musings and I would love to read your blogpost about a cherry blossom prayer shawl! I’ll try to go finding it. I so enjoyed your recent post about a visit from american friends and I think she was even from the same state as I live in…North Carolina!! So fun! Thank you for commenting and taking the time to read here. Cheers and blessings to you and yours! -Jennifer
I see my iPad corrected “live” to “love” in the previous sentence too! it was meant to say “it’s poignant to read because one knows he didn’t have much life left to live” but of course “love” is also applicable, as I say, “no such thing as coincidence…”! E x
I find that when the daunting parts of my life are draining my glass, I can always count enough blessings to fill the other half. After that Laugh, often and hard, it is the best release there is.
Have a Happy Birthday, Celebrate.
A beautiful way to counteract the heaviness and weight of life…gratitude and laughter! Thanks for that and for visiting me here!! So appreciate it Andrea!