I had a bit of a shock yesterday. I was away from the internet for 3 whole days in the wilds of Algonquin Park (see the official map here) with my friend Susan and her awesome ultralight canoe, the Catnoe. So beautiful and peaceful out there. We swam and we paddled and we made camp and we watched loons and salamanders and speculated about bears. How few women do this is the subject of a whole other blog post. Past the first few portages you see very few female faces and for the whole trip no women without men. It’s like there’s a rule. But I’ll blog about that another time
The shock was when I turned on my phone back at the cottage. Okay, 94 emails. I can deal. A few hundred Facebook and Twitter notifications for me and the blog. Fine too. But BIRTHDAY GREETINGS? Lots of them on Facebook. And yes, I checked my DOB on Facebook. It’s correct.
A week early. I have no idea why. But it made me realize that I’m not at all put off by turning 50. I was happy to see birthday greetings, even early ones. I’m ready to celebrate.
I’m alive! And well! I’m doing physical activities I love. Camping and canoeing to name two. But also, of course, cycling. The day before my actual birthday, on the last day of 49, I’m riding 50 km with friends. (On the days before that I’ll ride a few hundred more for good measure.) The next day I’ll eat cake and ice cream in the backyard.
I wasn’t sure I’d feel like celebrating. I wasn’t worried about the number or the significance of a new decade. Rather, after a year of sadness and struggle I wasn’t sure I’d feel like a party.
It’s been a rough year. See Rough times, tough choices and On counting almonds, searching for Devil’s Claw, and remembering Avis and Death changes everything.
Short story: I lost both of my partner’s parents and I’ve been close to them since I was a teenager. A friend in her early 40s died of melanoma, leaving two very young children behind. And over the winter our dog fell through the ice on the river and drowned. For awhile it felt like one horrible bad event another.
But even among the sad moments, we need opportunities to celebrate what’s good. Turning 50 is a good thing. I’m very happy with where I am in my life. I love my work and the people who surround me. My life is full of wonderful people and wild, active, outdoor adventures.
What’s not to celebrate? I’ll see you at the party! I’ll be the one in the pink party dress dancing barefoot to the music of my youth.
There’s a great line in the song Sailor, by Evalyn Parry, “every day I wake up on the right side of the grass is a good day, I reckon.”
I’m feeling a bit that way these days. Very happy to be here.