I had a ‘big’ birthday this year. A birthday that ended with a zero. It certainly got me thinking.
It got me thinking about zero birthdays and the first one, 10 – you’re out of single figures, possibly for the rest of your life, you will remain in double figures. 20 – just starting out – finished school, possibly at university or starting the fiona runningnew job. 30 – maybe a mini-crisis, but perhaps entering into a more settled time of life. People seem to treat you more like a grown-up once you hit 30. Then 40 – for me a time of great joy and tiredness, a young family, a new home, new friends, new start.
50 is different…I still look at the number printed on the cards (I haven’t taken them down yet!) in disbelief. That’s OLD – even Victor Hugo described 40 as the old age of youth and 50 as the youth of old age. At every point in your life, before you reach that number, you think of 50 as old. Then you get there and realize that nothing has changed, on the inside, at all and you’re not really aware of the outside until you see a non-photoshopped/edited picture of yourself, or realize that the older woman walking towards you is actually you walking towards a mirrored shop window.
You begin to think about how many other zero birthdays you may have. You start thinking of the people who didn’t have another zero birthday or ones that only just made one more but never got a second.
On the morning of my 50th birthday, I decided I needed to have a run. I didn’t start any regular exercise until I was over 40, but I have learned over the last decade that I feel better about my body when I have had a run. So I set out, but I didn’t have much time before I had to be ready to go somewhere else, with people who saw my birthday as an excuse for a few daytime drinks and a nice meal, so my ideal 30-minute run was reduced by half. As I ran, every part of my being wanted to keep going and run for longer but I couldn’t – there wasn’t time….and it made me think of the race we are running for God, and that we want to keep going and do more, but sometimes it can feel as though it is being cut short.
God spoke to me on the morning of my 50th birthday…You don’t know how long you have, so make the most of each step and remember to be grateful for each step you have the privilege of taking.