On the Occasion of a Woman Turning 48

This is a post I wrote last year for my 48th birthday. I’m sharing it again today. Tomorrow is my actual birthday but, as I have plans, I won’t be blogging. If you know me well, you know I love growing older. I’ve had too many family members and friends who were not given the opportunity to do so. I have some new thoughts going forward into my 50th year. I hope you’ll stay tuned and I hope everyone has a beautiful weekend! 

On the Occasion of a Woman Turning 48: Some random late night birthday thoughts.

First of all, thank you to Mom and Dad who created, carried, nurtured, raised, and taught me. And loved me, even when I acted unlovable. I owe you my existence, my life. I am grateful. (And I miss you both.)
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My 48th birthday. Where to start? I sure have learned a lot these past 48 years! All kinds of hard-won lessons and heart-breaking truths. I’ve made a shitload of mistakes. I’ve cared too much, too little, and too late.

I’ve worn my heart on my sleeve. I’ve had my heart broken. I’m sure I’ve carelessly and foolishly broken hearts, as well. And for that, I’m sincerely sorry.

 

I’ve given birth to babies, dreams, stories, art, ideas, and also to myself.

I’ve said goodbye, hello, goodbye again. Goodbyes are the most difficult.

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I’ve watched those I love suffer, sometimes to the point of no suffering, to the point of death.

I’ve worked hard. I’ve played hard. I’ve cried hard. I’ve prayed hard. And often.

I have been imperfect, perhaps mostly when I was trying to be my most perfect.

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I’ve had errors in judgement. I’ve judged others, often harshly. But, never as harshly as I have judged myself. I’ve forgiven and I’ve asked for forgiveness. I have forgiven myself.

I’ve tried on mask after mask after mask after mask in an attempt to find out exactly who I really am. I didn’t find out who I was until I got down to the last mask and found my own mask-less face beneath. Always there, always waiting for me to come home. I have no need of masks anymore. I am content with who I am, finally, going into this 49th year.


I’ve kissed skinned knees, reassured worried little hands, and rocked tiny scared bodies to sleep. I’ve watched broken hearts shatter, bleed, and spill to the ground. Helpless. Watching, wishing it were my own, instead of the heart I helped to create. The little heart that I spent most of my life protecting and fending off all harm and sadness. Until I couldn’t.

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I’ve tried so hard but, I’m sorry to say, I have also given up more times than I’d like to admit. Knowing when to release and when to hold on requires a sense of delicacy. And a honed intuition. I trust that part of me now. After 48 years.

I’ve suffered and agonized over when and how and especially why. But, don’t we all? I’ve learned not all questions have answers. Especially why. Why this is, I do not know. I am growing more comfortable with uncertainty.

 

I’ve played dumb, small, and incapable. Sometimes because it’s easier and sometimes to just be left the hell alone. I’m done playing now. I’m not afraid to be myself and to say what I need to say. Holding back my voice only creates resentment and serves no one, least of all, me. I speak my truth and listen while others speak their truth to me. We may have differing truths, and that’s ok.

I have been dependent, independent, and everything in-between, these 48 years.

I’ve cut off my nose to spite my face. I always lose when I pull that old trick. I am aware of patterns I’ve created. Being aware doesn’t mean I don’t repeat it again. It’s a process.

I’ve loved when it hurt and hurt when I should’ve loved.

There’s no denying I failed. I slipped. I didn’t quite measure up to my best version of me.

I’ve groveled, begged, and threw myself at the mercy of it all. I do believe in mercy.

There’s been too much sadness and at times I’ve wallowed in it. Sometimes a little, but sometimes a lot. I know that as morning always comes after night, joy comes after sorrow as soon as I surrender and decide it’s time to move on. Life is cyclical, not linear. I’ve also learned this, too, shall pass. Though it hurts like hell while you’re waiting.

IMG_3297‘Woman Before the Rising Sun’ Caspar David Friedrich

I only know through it all: I kept going. I kept going. I keep going, still.

I loved. I love. I will continue to love for the next 48 years. Or beyond.

I pray the next 48 years find me loving, kind, tolerant, encouraging, supportive, and understanding. I especially pray that the next 48 years find me helping to create a kinder world for my children, their children, and their children. And for your children. And their children. For all of our children.

So, on the occasion of my 48th birthday, I just want to say: I’m all in, God: make me, break me, but please do not waste this love that I have for this crazy-messy-beautiful world. Help me to use my allotted time wisely and in service to you and all beings.


I love being a woman who is approaching the half century mark of her existence. I can’t wait to see what happens next, as I’ve also learned to stay curious. I am grateful.

All photos mine except ‘Woman Before the Rising Sun’ by Caspar David Friedrich. All of his work is breathtaking. See for yourself here: caspardavidfriedrich.org

Also, the Earth and space pics were shared on the internet. I don’t know the exact source, sorry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


19 thoughts on “On the Occasion of a Woman Turning 48

  1. What a beautiful post Cheryl! And my heart gave a little leap at the sight of the Friedrich painting – I see so little of him nowadays. The ‘Eldena Ruin’ is one of my favourites, the new on the old, the shadow of the past intersected with now – the movement of time. I have to tell you I think your development is running way ahead of mine 🙂 I was 60 before I could really stand fully in myself and I so admire that you put your masks aside already. The next few decades will be such fun!! Happy Birthday, have a fabulous weekend!!

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    1. Thank you, Pauline! I also appreciate Friedrich’s exploration of time and impermanence. Those are subjects I think about a lot, as you probably can tell from my writing. It’s why I’ve studied Virginia Woolf all of these years, as her writings abound with references to time, memories, and impermanence.
      I started my journey early–my sister died unexpectedly when I was 39. My Mom died less than 6 months later. (My Dad had died much earlier.) Those two events completely pulled the rug out from under me and provided the impetus for major changes in all areas of my life. It’s been a hard-won accomplishment to stand up, show up, and speak up just as I am, but I’m glad I learned how. I do look forward to the next decades!
      I just read your Hello! page and found that we have many things in common. I’m so glad to have “met” you on here 🙂

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      1. Thank you – and likewise Cheryl! Isn’t it amazing how we stumble into like minded souls on this huge platform. I have lived with death all my life – from my own near death experience as a two year old, my father died when I was still 8, my sister when I was 20, my favourite aunt at the same time and my brother a few years later. By the time I was 42 I was an orphan and well onto the path that eventually led me here. Life is a short and erratic affair – living through trauma and loss can become the whetstone that hones us and sets us squarely onto the way of understanding what is important – and it for sure isn’t personal (or national) power and riches! I applaud your hard work and where it has led you – enjoy the coming decades 🙂

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    1. Thank you for the kind words, Janice. You and your family had such a positive influence on my early years and I think about you all often. I’m grateful to have you in my life and I love you, too. And yes, I will always be older! Haha! Thanks for reading and responding to my post–I truly appreciate it ❤

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