I have seen this quote on FaceBook quite often lately, accompanied by a picture of a person looking vibrant, healthy and beautiful. And I usually say to myself, “WOW, she looks vibrant and healthy and beautiful for 50”. Then I remind myself that MY Fifty is around the corner. How did this happen? Where did 50 years go? How are my second graders getting engaged or married or better yet, having babies of their own. I surely haven’t aged, so how did 50 sneak up on me?

The truth of the matter is, I don’t think I feel fifty, but I do know where the years went. I know that I lived them. I have memories of how my life was and of all of my hopes and dreams for a life filled with laughter and friends and family. I had dreams of traveling the world.

So, where did the years go? They went into teaching hundreds of children. For more than 18 years I lived for teaching. I made it my world. Life revolved around my students and what I could do to make life better for them in learning situations but also life lessons. I don’t regret the passion and drive I had when I was teaching, I just wish I had taken more time for me. More time with family and friends. I think about occasions I missed because I would not take a day off, or opportunities that were presented to me that I passed up. Again, no regrets…I am where I am today because this is where I belong.

Where did the time go? It went to so many unbelievable years working at camp and participating in CNYFTY. Probably the best years of my life. I met the most amazing group of friends and truly felt like I was living my best life; teaching school and working camp!! Who could ask for anything better?

Where did the time go? This is when everything seems to get blurry. You see, my thirties seemed to have escaped my memory. Not the teaching aspect, but the social aspect. Did I become a recluse? Was it anxiety and depression that created a fear in me that stopped me from living my best life? Was it being told over and over again that I am not enough? Was it fear of rejection or of not being accepted? Whatever it was, I made it through to my forties. That’s when things really got exciting. On August 1, 2013 I received a kidney from my brother-in-law, Lee. He gave me a second chance at life and I was going to get back in the game and use this opportunity to live my best life, again.

Well, the Universe had other plans; My body started rejecting my new kidney and as of March 2019, I had to go back on dialysis and continue to go 3 days a week for 4 hours per session. So, the hunt for a kidney begins once again. I am on transplant lists and am constantly in search of a living donor. “How do you get through all of this?” A question I get quite often which has a very simple answer. I either get through it or I die and I am not ready to leave this earth.

So, you see, THIS is MY 50!! I have learned to treasure moments with people, laugh more often and louder than ever before, help others when I am able, and try to live my best life, again. Fifty is MY time and I am going to make the most of it. This is just the beginning!!