Last night, I received a phone call from a lady friend. It was the eve of her 50th birthday, and even though she is much better adjusted than most, it was still a big deal for her.
I would make the reminder for gentlemen that there is an inherent and powerfully structural biological difference for ladies of this age, as they experience an inline incarnational death around this age – the childbearing person they were since their early teens comes to an end, and a structurally DIFFERENT person comes into being.
So this is NOT about vanity or prettiness; it is a lot more than that on every level and it was little wonder that my friend felt unsure. What she did NOT want to happen is to go into this first night of the 50th year of her life full of regrets, worries, sorrows and loss of life; she wanted something better than that for herself, a celebration to help with this threshold moment, delineated by the way we measure time and count the days.
We could have easily chatted away the last remaining hour and a half before the clock struck 12 midnight and try and ignore this thing; but I didn’t feel that this was appropriate as it is a highly personal transition so we began to discuss a suitable transitional ritual.
Rather than now performing some kind of “death rite” where one gets involved with all the ne’ermores across one’s entire life, such as, “I will never hold a baby of my own in my arms again…” and “I’ll never dance to the Rolling Stones live at the Catacomb in a miniskirt again…” I suggested we focus instead just on the year that had just passed, year 49.
What had happened during that year?
Well quite a lot, actually. My friend got to live in house by the beach she always wanted. She had written and published her first book. She had written her first hymn, had her first public exhibition of her paintings and had swam with dolphins.
And how much more amazing still to consider that if we were to travel back in time by just two years, to her 48th birthday, and we discussed what might be to come, and I might have suggested just one of these things, she would have NEVER believed it possible and laughed at me.
So what might year 50 possibly hold in the way of new surprises and unfoldments?!
We cannot know.
But one thing we can know is that it is a year of new life, of new experiences, of new challenges, triumphs and moments of glory.
And it deserves to be stepped into proudly, and gladly, and in full acceptance of what will be to come.
It was decided to ring in the moment with a beautiful bath, by candlelight and a glass of champagne.
To spend the time before 12 midnight to give gratitude for what had been, and to spend a time of meditation after firmly turned to the future, to have the space to ask for things that might have waited for many years to be finally fulfilled and experienced; to have the space to ask for surprises and to declare one’s readiness to step, very literally fresh, clean and brightly new, into the new year of life here in this fantastic world.
This is what my friend then did, by herself, for herself and it was delightful, magical and entirely special an occasion, without regrets and instead, with a powerful lifting and affirmation of life, and love of life.
She slept very well, and when in the morning a box was delivered from which a helium balloon burst with massive numbers 50 written on it, which further showered her carpet with small sparkling pieces of foil, all with “50” imprinted on it, she laughed in delight and said, “This is going to be marvellous year…”
Happy Birthday, Nicola!