Wednesday Bubble: Bifocals, babies, hot steamy flashes of perspective. It is enough.

Posted by on Nov 11, 2009 in Inspiration | 1 comment

dreamstime_2826943A year ago I was fortunate to meet Author and Woman Extraordinaire Patti Digh. We met at an intimate reading of her book, Life is a Verb, in Washington DC. Since that time, I’ve repeatedly asked Patti to grace Flashfree with her words and her presence. She has graciously sent me the following guest post. Thank you Patti…

I got bifocals and gave birth in the same year. Now, six years later, the first hot flash has hit. I celebrated my fiftieth birthday this past August, telling everyone I knew that I was reaching that magic age, shamelessly announcing this momentous occasion to everyone I met. I stood on the beach at sunrise on that day–August 16–with my oldest daughter (who turned 17 the very day I turned 50) and wondered to myself if that would be the last birthday I would ever see.

If it was, it was enough.

It is enough.

None of us knows whether tomorrow will come. It’s a lesson I’ve learned many times over in my life—you have too, I’m sure—and it’s a lesson I’ve pondered daily for the past five years—how to live like you’re dying (because we all are), extracting every ounce of joy and pain from each day.

Many people disparage aging, joke about it, dread it. With a father who died at 53, I see every day as a gift he never had. He was dead far too young; perhaps my old age will be in homage to the one he never got.

For a long time in my life, I have felt I would reach my most powerful at 50. And having reached that point in the road, I believe that is true. Not my most fit, certainly, or my most rested, but my most powerful. There is a power in the transformation that starts taking place when power surges heat us up from the inside out. There is a power in the knowledge that we have nothing to prove, not one damn thing. There is power in knowing that we have every single thing we need, that we need nothing else, that we are fully human and gorgeously odd and contradictory and beautiful just as we are. That we are hot in the very deepest, richest, metaphorically resonant use of that term.
That we are not broken. That we don’t need to be fixed.

This decade for me is going to be one of simplification. Just as I peel off clothing to cool off several times a day, my infernal engine is fueling me to peel off things and toxic people and projects I dread, things I said “yes” to and immediately regretted.

Two months after turning 50, I have had a health scare, a big one, an “isn’t it ironic that this should happen to the woman who writes about what she would be doing if she only had 37 days to live?” one. My first two thoughts? 1) I have to clean out my house because I can’t leave this mess for others to see; and 2) My girls. I can’t leave my girls and my love.

That was good information for me.

I am calling in the dumpster—for files and old magazines and clothes whose single digit size I’ll never see again—and for fears and hesitations and waiting for someone to show me the way. I am calling in the dumpster for playing it safe and being practical and for bemoaning the fact that I have lines on my face and sweat stains on my best silk blouse.  I am calling in the dumpster for people who are toxic to me with their whining and complaining and gossiping and blaming. I am calling in the dumpster for regret.

But before that, I’m going sky-diving with my 17-year-old simply because she has always wanted to. And baking cookies with my 6-year-old because she loves feeling the dough with her dirty, dimpled little hands and sneaking bites of it, uncooked and raw, like life.

It is enough. I am enough. I am bifocaled and hot and lumpy and messy and spectacular. And so are you.

About Patti Digh

Patti Digh is the author of Life is a Verb and has written two business books on global leadership and diversity, one named a Fortune magazine “best business book for 2000.” Jer comments have appeared on PBS, and in the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, the New York Times, USAToday, the Washington Post, and London Financial Times, among other national and international publications. She speaks around the world on diversity, global business, and living intentionally.

Patti is also co-founder of The Circle Project, a consulting and training firm that partners with organizations and the people in them to help them work more effectively and authentically together across difference.

She lives in Ashville, NC with her husband, two daughters and various animals.

Learn more about Patti, her work and her blog, 37 Days. You can also find Patti on Twitter and Facebook.

One Comment

  1. 11-11-2009

    I turned 40 this year so I’m too young for bifocals but old enough for your words to wrap around my heart. I’m not sure if I can blame perimenopause or seasoned, tender emotions (that arrived the same time my bundle of joy did five years ago), but whatever reason, I am on the verge of tears. … And I want to borrow that Dumpster, throw out the wrong, and then jump in and dance amid it like a pile of leaves!

    Thanks so much to Patti — and Liz — for sharing this!


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