God has recently been telling me, “Give it away” and that is just what I am doing! I’ve invited some beautiful souls from my favorite Facebook community for women in the 50+ season of life, The Consilium: a Gathering of Wisdom and Grace. Enjoy the words from their hearts and, if you don’t mind, would you leave a comment to encourage them? Feel free to join us over at The Consilium – we would love to see you there!
I turn 50 this week on December 11th. Half a century! When did this happen? It’s so hard to believe because most days I still think I’m in my 30’s – that is, until I look in the mirror and see fine lines around my eyes and mouth and full blown wrinkles lining my forehead.
Or I look at my hands – skin spotted with time, stretched thin across protruding veins.
I don’t think about the circles I’ve journeyed around the sun until, after spending a night in an unfamiliar bed, my feet hit the ground running. Creaks, not from the floor, but from knees and ankles, interrupt an otherwise quiet dawn.
Am I really half a century old? It seems I should mark this passing of time with more. Right?
More career success.
More in retirement savings.
More physically fit.
Certainly with more clarity about the next part of my life!
In 2008 when I joined Twitter, I confidently worded my profile simply, “I am what I wanted to be when I grew up.”
And it was true then. I had recently resigned from a satisfying career as a chamber of commerce professional and put out my shingle as a marketing consultant just in time to ride the front of the social media wave.
I structured projects with clients around my key strengths of Communication, Connectedness, Belief, Woo, and Individualization. The work was energizing. For a while.
After a few years, I began sensing a new trajectory – towards more ministry specific roles, both volunteer and for pay. I served on the board of a life-giving ministry, visited with women in jail, helped a dear friend struggling with increased limitations from her own aging, and spent time with another friend suddenly widowed.
I’ve continued my work with The High Calling, work part-time for my church, and still serve on the local board that same life-giving ministry.
But these days, there’s a restlessness I can’t quite put my finger on. I’m less sure about where I’m doing and where I’m headed. What once was yes or no, black or white, now is… nebulous. Gray. Uncertain.
These days I’m not concerned with accumulating possessions or titles (well, maybe some titles still have appeal). I’m drawn instead to simplicity and beauty, in breathing and being. And giving.
This year for my birthday, I’m following my friend Ann Voskamp’s lead and will celebrate with random acts of kindness. I’d love your help with simple, inexpensive ideas that might be a blessing to a total stranger. I’d be honored if you’d share your ideas in the comments below.
If you’d like to offer up a gift to a stranger this holiday (a gift card for a cup of coffee, a box of diapers, or groceries or gas or toys), let me know. We can work out the details here or via email.
What better way to stare down 50 than with the help of friends, showering extravagant grace towards unsuspecting souls!
Cheryl Smith used to have it all figured out, but now she’s not so sure. She and her husband Peter live in Lynchburg, Virginia and are blending a family with four teenagers. Maybe one day soon, she’ll start blogging again. Until then, you can follow her @cherylsmith999 on Twitter and Instagram, or like her page on Facebook.
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Diane, thank you so much for your generous heart that shares this space with women longing to age with wisdom and grace. You model both well!
I LOVE your vision, Cheryl. I think that this desire to “give away” is one of the most beautiful characteristics of having arrived at this season in life. There can be such freedom and joy to live open-handed. My husband is good at listening to people and then responding – like the time the single and pregnant cashier in the grocery store commented about how hard life is for her right now and after he loaded our groceries in the car, he walked back in the store and handed her $40 in cash – the cash he’d just received after paying for our groceries. I want to be as attentive as he is to these kind of opportunities.
Happy almost Birthday, Cheryl!
Cheryl, I have a friend that did 50 acts of kindness on her 50th birthday. I blogged her list of things she did you might want to check out: http://www.amyjbennett.com/2013/03/01/50-random-acts-of-kindness/
Also, I have two cousins in Lynchburg! Do you happen to know the Osterbinds or Oakleys?
Thanks, all! I had SUCH a FUN DAY! I didn’t count all the acts of kindness that we did, but numbers don’t matter anyway, right? 🙂
Amy, I do know Kelly O, but don’t know the Oakleys. What a small world! So glad to “meet” you!