March 24, 2016
I am up super early this morning because I want to write a new blog. Today is a very special day. It’s my last day in my 40s. Tomorrow I will turn five-oh. Please note: don’t say I am 50 because that sounds too old.
Friends keep asking me if I am having a hard time turning five-oh. I laugh and say “No. I’d be having a harder time if I wasn’t.”
I recently told someone “I have learned so much in the last few months!” Blank stare. They couldn’t believe someone ‘my age’ was still learning every day. Five-oh is the new 34 so I am officially becoming a millennial.
Thinking back on the last decade, it started with a bang. I had such a hard time with turning 39! Instead of fretting about my 40th, three of my girlfriends and I planned a weekend down in Savannah and lived it up! We shopped, we drank, we flirted, we danced, and we laughed, and laughed, and laughed. It was more fun than I could have ever asked for in a single weekend!
If I had to pick a single word to describe my 40s, I would say growth. Shortly after my 42nd birthday, I sold my best friend in five days and moved across the country. I had owned my best friend, my house on Sunset Drive in Columbia, S.C., for eight years. A wise friend told me “It’s your home now, but when you move out, it will just be a house, a shell of what it was.” Another wise friend told me “Your life will change. Everything will be different. You will begin a new chapter in your life.” Both of those friends, Lori Sheldon and Marybeth Jacoby, hit the nail on the head!
I mailed myself 40 boxes and bought a one-way ticket to the Bay Area. It was time to start my new life in California. The first year I lived into a studio that was 1/4 the size of my house and triple the rent. Such was life.
I worked hard to make new friends. I quickly learned there was a big difference in ‘being lonely’ and ‘being alone’. If I wanted to go to the beach, or to San Francisco, or out to dinner – I did it alone. Some weekends I would say goodbye to my coworkers at 5 pm on Friday and not speak to anyone, except a cashier at Nordstrom’s, Target or Safeway, until Monday morning at 8:30 am in my office. I didn’t feel sorry for myself! It forced me to grow to love myself inside and out.
I grew professionally as well. I embraced new media like no one else around me. I cried the day I decided Santa Clara would no longer produce media guides, but never looked back. I learned managing people wasn’t a perfect science. Some people were going to love you and some people weren’t. Saying no wasn’t as easy as it sounded.
At times I looked to leave California for greener pastures. Each time, it wasn’t the right fit. THANK GOD! Had I left California, I would never have emailed a guy Sept. 29, 2011 after reading his profile on Match.com. Turns out he didn’t have plans for dinner Saturday night either. I met Nick Young at Viva’s a couple of nights later. An hour and a half into our first date he said “I like you a lot more than I thought I was going to.” Good thing – because I dug him too!
My Man tells people he fell in love with me through his stomach and at sporting events. I pulled out all the stops in the kitchen, never cooking the same meal for weeks! Besides following the Cardinals’ World Series run on TV in my cottage in Los Gatos, I also got us tickets to 49ers, Raiders, Warriors, Sharks, and Giants games! I worked doing PR for a college basketball team so he saw plenty of the Broncos’ games too.
I fell in love with him through my heart. I grew so much personally. I discovered I could truly love someone and let them love me even more. I finally behaved like a grown woman in a relationship. Finally finding my soul mate was worth the wait. I can’t believe how much time I wasted in my 20s, 30s and 40s crying about boys. I finally found the one I was meant to love.
A couple of years ago, I started to feel the itch to leave my first love, college athletics. After a long series of many interviews, I took a job at the City of San Jose with the new Mayor. Ten weeks in I came to the realization it wasn’t the right fit. I was forced to grow even more. I left the job and was unemployed for the first time since I started my second-grade paper route.
Leaving that job was a blessing in disguise. I kept growing and discovered I could give more of myself than I thought. I was there for my parents when my mom broke her hip. I was there for friends and strangers in South Carolina for a week during the flooding. I was there for friends and family when they needed a favor, big or small.
I have grown even more in the last four months. My husband was diagnosed with Stage 4 Prostate Cancer in November. All of the sudden I had to be a rock for us. At first I didn’t think I could do it. I thought about running away because it was too much to face. But after all the tears and sleepless nights, I discovered I could give even more of myself than I ever thought. I finally learned I didn’t need to run 24/7 and be everywhere and everything to everyone. I finally discovered that living one day at a time was truly my calling.
So tomorrow I will turn five-oh proudly. I will enjoy a huge hug from my man and from a few close friends. I close with my own quote “I can’t be a part of the future if I am not a part of the present so I have to love today the most!”