fifty for fifty

Happy New Year!

When does it become too late to make an happy new year post? Not yet, I hope.

Happy New Year!

and so the adventure begins…again. Yes, yes it does. 

A new year. A clean slate. An empty nest.

Yep. I am officially a mostly empty-nester. 2017, despite its many ups and downs, will always be the year we celebrated my daughter’s high school graduation and transition to college, a victory of epic proportion for all parents who shepherd children through those difficult years. She still comes home, of course. She was here for Thanksgiving and Christmas. She'll be back for a week at the end of next month and for the entire summer. But what about these new in-between times? Life used to be full of her. Coming and going. Here and there. This and that. Now she no longer needs me as she once did. 

And so the adventure begins …again. But where? And how? 

As you can see by the meme, I'm turning 50 this year. Fifty! Fifty freaking years old. I know, I know. Fifty is the new 30 and I’m only as old as I think I am and all that jazz, but man. The last 50 years have flown by. I expect the next 50 will disappear even faster. To honor this auspicious occasion, I’ve decided to challenge myself to write 50 posts over the course of the coming year. 50 for 50. After today only 49 left to go!

Long ago I gave up making resolutions for the new year, preferring instead to focus on setting intentions. Resolutions are brittle, fickle things—designed to punish. They are a wagging of the finger at our naughty self, a demand for penance. Intentions, on the other hand, are about attitude. They are a warm hand resting on our shoulder as we stand at the crossroad, an encouragement for choice. Feel the difference?

I suspect I’ll find this challenge difficult. Impossible even. I expect to suffer over it, and rail against it. I expect to complain, both publicly and privately. I’ll kick myself, I’m sure. (See what I mean about attitude?) But I have an ulterior motive, a reason it’s important to be bold and make this type of demand for myself. I can’t let me off the hook.

My choice for 2018, my gift to myself in the face of this transition, is to focus for the coming year on self-care—the health and wellness “whole package.” I want to figure out what it means for the inside and the outside, and finally learn how to navigate potholes and pitfalls along the way. 

Like most women, other peoples’ needs have been atop my to-do list more often than not since I married and started a family. What would life look and feel like, I wondered, if I started every day by asking myself, "What would self-care mean today?" and then heeding the call. My chest feels squishy just thinking about it. I mean, how many of us learned that taking care of ourselves is selfish? Short bursts are okay, like a trip to the spa for a massage and facial, and only when life is plodding along just fine. But when bills have to be paid or or errands need to be run or someone needs to be helped or I’m distracted by, you know, breathing, self-care goes bye-bye as fast as you can say, “Bye-bye.” It’s time for a change.

Chronicling revelations here I hope will entertain and maybe inspire. When saying yes is hard, because it will be hard, I hope to commiserate. And maybe, if I ask often enough and answer often enough and write often enough, one of these days my attitude and my intention will meet at that crossroad and decide to wander together down the same path.

"You cannot have a happy ending to an unhappy journey." –Esther Hicks


  1. Awesome post, Tracey! I can totally relate. And standing at 55, I can tell you the 50's are fabulous years. Let's ride the roller coaster together!

  2. Happy New Year!
    I love this post and you know I can relate! I just turned the big 60–and honestly, it’s as good as 50. Happy Special Birthday to you!

  3. I swear Tracey, the second we met, I knew we were destined to walk together for a while through this thing we call life.

    Tomorrow I will celebrate my 53rd birthday. That number astounds me, and honestly, I keep forgetting how old I am when people ask me. And for some weird reason, people DO ask me. But nevertheless, I am celebrating. I can't believe I've made it this far, and the future looks bright for another half century.

    As the parent of a graduated child also, I agree with you that it's a whole new world. I finally have time for myself again, and I'm beginning to invest heavily in my own well-being. It's long overdue but I am optimistic about my ability to repair some of the existing damage.

    My self care for this year is exercising the word NO. I am consciously saying no to anything I don't truly want to do, and I'm trying to do it without guilt. I was trained to be a good girl, and saying no was not part of the standard vocabulary, so I'm still in the beginning stages of being okay with saying it. Fortunately I've experienced acceptance so far, which encourages me to keep on working it!

  4. Awesome Kelly!! And happy birthday. I'm so grateful we met and I'm so looking forward to knowing you better and better. And good for you re no. I fully expect to be saying it more often myself. Let's get together and practice saying it back and forth lol…in fact. The next time someone asks your age just say no. 🙂

  5. This is quite the goal to set for yourself. Good thing you aren't turning 60! Ha ha
    I've concentrated on self-care these last 2 years. I've come a long way, and I bet you will, too. It's rewarding once you get past the guilt. Maybe you can skip that phase as it's a waste of time. Taking care of ourselves means being happier & more able to be there for others. So it's awin/win.

  6. Love this post, Tracey! I relate on many levels… a 50-something, empty nester (for the most part), and striving to focus on self-care. I love how you describe intentions vs. resolutions. I also don't make new year's resolutions. I like to set goals throughout the year instead. I'm looking forward to reading your 50 (well, now 49) posts! Take care, and all the best for 2018! xx

  7. Well my bride is finally catching up to my age…I turn 68 in a couple of months and will attest to just how fast time flys…the only way you can truely stay young is to surround your self with companions with chronology younger than yours…Thank You Tracey for continuing to stay youthful…I remember when you were 25….glad 25 is not the new 15…I would have been in serious trouble….Fight on!! Love Thomas P.

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