It occurred to me today, as I unfolded from another night of nightmare-filled sleep to find myself safe in the arms of morning, that 50 years is a much longer time to contemplate going into it, than it is looking back.  I mean, on my 10th birthday I doubt I spent much time contemplating the first decade of life, or the next few to follow, it was far more likely I spent it thinking about me, in the moment, and… presents. lol. Now, I’m 50, and facing a very realistic likelihood of living another 50 years, or more. 50 years. Ahead of me. 50. That seems like a lot of nightmares, opportunities to miscommunicate, arguments with loved ones, disappointments, tedium, and all the disarray and mess that being a human primate promises and generally delivers.  It also seems like a lot of time to try new things, learn, become the woman I most want to be, to change the world for the better, to enjoy love and Love, to hang with friends and hear what they have to say about things that matter, to fight just causes, to celebrate milestones, to support and nurture what I value…and for hugs, kisses, sex, great glasses of wine, tasty bites of interesting foods, amazing music and art, new friends, new ideas, and a lot of cozy nights on the couch with lovers watching TED Talks… or whatever the equivalent of that might be, in 2063.

The menu in the restaurant of life is a long one – and everything is ordered a la carte, no matter how much we put into trying to plan all the details of the meal.

I feel sexy, and alive, and strong – in spite of everyday stress, and every night nightmares – I feel capable, and enthusiastic about life.  It’s a nice place to be. There are so many experiences I would like to have – I’m not sure 50 years is actually enough for the easy ones, and I’m often doubtful I’ll get to some of the odd stuff I’d like to explore. I resist the term ‘bucket list‘, because for me life is not about checking off a to do list (except on weekends, when it is a matter of managing the chores and essentials. lol) – but there are things I want to do – not ‘before I die’, just ‘at all’ because I want to, because I have done them before and loved the experience, because they are things I yearn to experience because they resonate with me, or because they would be a living protest in the face of my demons. I guess I do list them, because I’m human, and making lists is something many of us do. 🙂

(I pause a moment and wonder, if I had every list I’d ever compiled, without regard to purpose or state of completion, would I learn something about who I am?)

Seriously, though, who doesn’t have some sort of personal accounting of what they’d like to do, see, achieve, share, experience, know, or understand? Some of the things on my list are strangely specific, others are inexplicably odd (at least to me). Some look like an easy victory in list management, if only I would take the first step and get it done, others lack even the vaguest notion of a starting point, or have an as yet unreachable prerequisite.

This morning I am thinking, perhaps not so oddly, about things that are morning related… I’d like to have brunch with a lover in a lovely regional bistro on the Chesapeake Bay, watching sailboats make their lazy way along the waterfront, and feeling the heat of a summer morning slowly become a muggy summer day.   I’d also like to awaken tangled in clean sheets and heavy comforters in a sunny German Gasthaus, have eager unreserved sex, and a hearty breakfast over strong coffee and bad jokes – in Augsburg, or perhaps Munich – and then stroll the fussganger zone looking at art, crystal, and porcelain. I’d like to visit the Carpathian mountains, hiking and camping with a friend, and learning some Romanian. I very much enjoy supporting a good cause and seeing the world change through actions and voices…I really like that one, it’s one I’d want to do again and again. (In 50 years I’ve been awed to see so much history unfold…eager to see what more there is out there.) I’d like to visit a Pacific Island chain, something remote and simple, and walk on a quiet isolated beach and see the sun rise, and set. I’d like to visit Las Vegas in a very sexy sports car, exploring the city at night, and driving in the desert in the outskirts in the wee hours of morning before heat and sleep become the priority concerns.  I would like to paint in an isolated mountain cabin alone for a week, and in a yurt near the beach during a storm, and in the comfort of a charming bed and breakfast in Carmel, California – painting until inspiration is fulfilled, then wandering the galleries and talking to other artists about other inspirations.

There is a clear theme is my wish list for my next 50, and the theme from this vantage point is ‘satisfaction’ and ‘fulfillment’ – not trophies or brag-worthy endeavors, just simple pleasures of the heart and spirit. My heart. My spirit. My satisfaction. On a morning like this, finding those moments doesn’t really seem difficult. I’m near the end of this latte, and these thoughts… time to live a few moments without words. 😀

...walking a serene path.

…walking a serene path.