If you will recall, last year when I was writing my "50" series, I asked a friend of mine to write something about turning 50 in July. He agreed, but then got very sidetracked with his writing. He started doing a tremendous amount of thinking and reflecting. It actually ended up taking months before he presented me with his final thoughts on the subject. But I finally have it, and it's definitely worth the read. So even though it is a few months late, here is our July 50.
Jimmy Buffett wrote a song called a Pirate looks at 40, years later (probably 10?), he wrote a book titled A Pirate Looks at 50. I guess there is something that makes us want to look at our lives, reflect, and analyze where we are, where we have come from, and where we are going. I think it happens several times over our lifetime, I know it has for me, but 50 seems such a milestone. 50 years, a half century, by most standards more than half an expected lifetime. I am no pirate, definitely not a writer of Jimmy Buffett’s talent, but here is my look at 50.
My 50th year was interesting and eventful to say the least. My 50th year brought a cancer diagnosis, radiation treatment, 3 surgeries, physical therapy, 30+ days in hospitals, 60+ days missed work, but I am grateful for a lot more than a few road bumps can ever sidetrack me from. In my 50th year I saw a lot of loss among my friends. I lost a very close friend; I saw others lose children, parents, and siblings. Life can be gloriously blissful at times, disturbingly painful at times, but overall it is life and it does go on. How we choose to respond to life’s little gifts, distractions, and loss is….well, it is really just the way we live our lives. The years leading up to 50 were full of interesting change and events as well. We don’t just “turn 50”, we earn 50. Through good and bad, and all of life’s changes, we earn it. Through my life I would have to say there has been far more good than bad. So much more good than bad. I try to take things in stride and just keep on rolling. Life is short, and we only get one trip. No guarantees, no promise of any tomorrows. Live every day like it’s your last. All of those clichés come into play, but there is good advice in them.
After 50 years I have been blessed with two awesome kids, some great family, and some wonderful friends. Some friends that I really don’t even deserve. But that’s just another component of life….plenty of things we deserve, and plenty of things we don’t. Both good and bad. And then there’s music. A constant in my life. I have said it is like breathing to me. But it also became a part of my never say what if story. As I looked at 40, even though I had been singing in church most of my life growing up, I had always wanted to sing with a live band. I did not want to say what if. So at 40 I started to take the steps toward working with a live band. About a year later I was on stage performing live with a band. And in one form or other I am still doing it. Whether I am with the praise and worship team at church or a live band on stage somewhere…it still feels like living the dream. And nothing makes me feel like that. It is truly the breath in me.
So as this pirate looks at 50, life is good. It’s not perfect. It’s not very pretty right now. But it’s good. After completing a very difficult year, it’s still good. And I choose to make the most of whatever is left. Sing as much as I can. Love as deeply as I can. Tell people how I feel about them. Treat others like I want to be treated. And love. I know I already said that, but it’s that important. And even though I am single at 50, it doesn’t diminish my capacity or my desire to love. Life is too short. Live it and love all you can.