I had expected to be writing quite a different blog at this point in time. Last year I turned 49 and realized I was heading straight for the big Five-Oh, and I decided I wasn't going to use it to moan and groan about how old I was getting. Instead I decided I was going to remake myself for my fiftieth birthday. I would lose one hundred pounds, get a new hairdo, take up an exciting hobby, get rich and become an entirely new person all in the space of a year. However, as often happens, life intervened, so now I am about to start my birthday month and am once again taking stock. The sad thing is, I'm nowhere near where I thought I would be when I turned 50. I'm not rich, I'm not a famous writer, I'm not beautiful, I'm not thin and I'm not an incredibly successful doctor/research biologist/marine biologist/professor (or whatever my career of the moment was at any particular point in time).
When I look back at my adult life and how I got to where I am now, I see a road littered with lost opportunities and poor decisions. Part of the reason my husband and I are having financial troubles now is because of a decision I made to quit a job that I loved to try something that ended up not working out very well. I then compounded that by trying to start a business that was pretty much guaranteed to not make money. Part of the reason I'm not a famous writer is because I've put other things ahead of writing- such as sleeping, earning a living and raising children-- but also reading other people's books and goofing around on the internet. Part of the reason I am overweight is because of poor choices I've made about what to eat and because I have chosen to be a couch potato instead of getting my butt out of the house and being active.
It's easy to sink into depression in the face of all this self-blame, and for much of the year I've let feelings of guilt overwhelm me. To my husband's credit, when I talk to him about this, he points out that there was a lot more involved in everything than just my making poor decisions, and he's absolutely right. (Incidentally, marrying him was one of the best decisions I ever made.)
Unfortunately there are no do-overs in life. I can't go back and change the decisions I've made. Truth is, most of them I would make again if I had the opportunity to do so. So I have to move forward with where I am at this point in time and try to make the best decisions I can from this point on. I've got to take small steps-- steps that I've already started to make as a matter of fact. I didn't reinvent myself for my fiftieth birthday, but I've made a few changes that might, if I keep things up, mean I'm at an entirely different place when I turn fifty-five.