December 10, 2018

My Half-Century Birthday

I turned 50 years old today. I feel happy, blessed, healthy, and at peace. I worked really hard to get here and am now able to take a deep breath and look upon my life with a real sense of accomplishment. Fifty is just a number, but a big deal, and I am welcoming it with appreciation. I am feeling many different emotions, and am humbled by the blessings of this magical moment.

I have led a life that is nothing short of a miracle. I have survived many things and with each victory I am stronger, wiser, braver, and happier. My life has had moments of unimaginable joy, sorrow, pain, freedom, love, and heartache. If I were asked to pick one word to describe the first 50 years of my life, it would be faith. I have spent as long as I can remember seeking faith in different ways.

I have faith in a lot of things, including myself. I don’t trust a lot of people in this world, but I trust me. I certainly question my choices on occasion, but the bottom line is that I know if I stumble, I will be able to not only pick myself up, but find a way to try again. I have faith that no matter what I am faced with, both good and bad, I will be able to learn from it and find the blessing that is often hidden.

I have faith in God. Faith that he will listen, which is all I ever ask him to do. I speak to God every day. Every. Single. Day. God is a powerful force in my life. I am convinced that I have been able to live the life I have because of God. He listens and he embraces me with silence, so that I can listen in return. I do not blame him. I do not question him. I do not pester him. I do not doubt him. Ever.

I have tried to remember when it was I discovered my faith, and it is more than just one specific moment. It has been a series of events that taught me the value of faith. After each experience I have been rewarded. Not only in ways that were immediately understood, but with patience and attention a reward and reason will become clear. Faith is powerful when you find it.

As I visit my fifty years of memories, my mind stops on highs and lows. It really is amazing to take the time to reflect on your life, and I would encourage everyone to do it without a milestone birthday as a reason. Life is precious, wonderful, challenging, and confusing. We go in circles over and over again and rarely stop to take an inventory of what we have accomplished. Today is a day for reflection.

I will think about my childhood and memories of my parents, sisters, and brother. I will bow my head in respect to 1989, which was a year I spent almost entirely in the hospital. I will smile as I remember moving to America in 1991, meeting the man who would ease my sorrow, and marrying him in 1992, which would lead to the greatest blessing of my life, my son, who was born in 1996 and is proof of God.

I will marvel at my strength as I think of my divorce, and raising my son alone.  I will weep as I remember the loss of my beloved father Robert Angel, and the hole his passing has left in my soul. I will beam as I think of my son’s Bar Mitzvah and the personal accomplishment it was for us both. I will think of my mother who has given me her strength and craziness. I will love her deeper.

I will close my eyes and see my three beautiful sisters, remarkable brother, and 7 nieces and nephews. I will ache that my father is not here to watch them grow up along with my son. I will thank God for holding my hand through cancer, and coaching me to this very moment. It will take another fifty years to count all my blessings, and so the next half of my life begins today. I am a lucky girl.

I am flying to San Francisco this morning with my son. We are going to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge to mark the occasion. We will have a great day, enjoy a wonderful dinner, spent the night in a magical hotel, and come back in time for my birthday party on Saturday. I am 50 and I am fabulous. I am happy, healthy, and for the first time in a very long time, I am whole. This is a wonderful time.

Thank you to my family for everything. Thank you to my friends for being like family. Thank you to my readers for embracing my words. Thank you to God for what only he will ever know. Thank you to my son for giving me the life I always dreamed of. Thank you to me, for seeking knowledge, believing in love, having hope, saying sorry, letting go, hanging on, and forever keeping the faith.