Tomorrow I will be fifty years-old. Fifty. This amazes me. I can’t quite wrap my mind around it. When I look in the mirror, I often catch myself off guard, expecting to see younger me. Younger me is somewhere in her late thirties, I’m not sure why that age has stuck in my head but she’s the me I look like in my mind.
Because of my dance with drugs and alcohol as a young woman, I never expected to live past twenty-five. After getting sober at twenty-three, I realized that I had no plan, no real concrete goals or any idea of how to get there. As my friends were graduating from college, I left behind my dodgy, short-lived college days and I went to work. I decided to wing it.
In my twenties and thirties, I traveled. I had curly hair and then straight. I enjoyed two careers that were fun and interesting. I spent time with some sweet dogs and cats. I learned to bake bread. I wore dangerous high heels. I made true friends. I had my heart broken. I drove a convertible. I read. I wrote. I stayed sober. They were interesting seasons.
Ten years ago, I met Mr. Rosenberg. Within the year, Bob was on his way. Thanks to an internet dating site and a game changing sushi dinner date in Korea Town, I had managed to stumble into the loves of my life. Now, is my season of motherhood. The soccer games and PTA meetings and wild boys chasing a dog through the house are everything. The tiny moments of folding laundry or helping with homework are lifted up in prayers of gratitude.
I think of a the final scene in Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory. Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka has just told Charlie that he will be inheriting the Chocolate Factory. Charlie is, of course, thrilled. Willy Wonka ends the conversation with, “But Charlie, don’t forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he’d always wanted… He lived happily ever after.”
Tomorrow I will be fifty years-old. I am living my happily ever after.