Reflections on Fifty

This summer will mark my 50th birthday. And I’m pretty good with that. 30 was tough for me. 40 was…..okay. 50 is feeling good. Real good. Why? Because I think some important life lessons have finally kicked in and I’m learning what truly matters in life. I thought I’d share some of those thoughts with you today so you don’t have to wait as long as I did to get smart. πŸ™‚

What I Used to Think Was Important No Longer Is

When I was in my twenties, thirties, and even in my early forties, I used to place a high emphasis on worldly success. I thought it was important that one had success that others looked up to, physically, financially, relationally, etc.

Then I learned that it really, truly isn’t important what others think about you and your life. What really matters is what YOU think about your life. What are YOUR goals? What will make you truly, truly happy?

In my case, I learned that I want quality family time over material success. I want good health over fine dining. I want financial security over the appearance of wealth. I want health over beauty.

Taking the time to figure out what was really, really important to me (and doing this same activity together with my family) has brought us all a peace that cannot be surpassed.

Health Matters: Take Care Of Yours

All of the things you do and achieve in life don’t matter if you’re not healthy enough to enjoy them. After our first daughter was born, I spent a good 15 months bedridden. The birth was a traumatic one in which my beautiful Madelyn and I both nearly lost our lives. As I laid on the couch or in the bed for nearly a year and a half, all I could think about was how much I wanted to play with Madelyn, or care for my house, or do laundry.

I recovered with no thanks to the docs and their drugs (not an anti-drug rant here), but after a 30-day detox cleanse in which I ate only raw or steamed veggies and the occasional fruit.

Since then I’ve been on quite the dance with food. You see, I LOVE food. We’re a foodie family and always have been. I remember fondly the many family gatherings with my dad’s side of the family and all of the glorious food we shared.

It’s taken me awhile to learn that pig-out sessions and chocolate chip cookies don’t equal love. It’s also taken me awhile to learn that it’s okay to indulge on occasion and that my life’s food doesn’t need to consist of carrot sticks and steamed broccoli.

I had to learn to get happy from the inside out so I could more consistently make food choices that promote health and not disease.

Health stuff has always scared me as I’ve watched both sides of my family struggle with many often-preventable diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes, Heart Disease and High Blood Pressure.

I began studying the diet/health connection after Madelyn was born and continue to study it to this day. And the research shows that what one eats makes an impactful difference.

Since I’ve learned to conquer emotional eating, my health has improved dramatically. In fact, at my physical two weeks ago I was relieved to hear that both my blood sugar level and my cholesterol are “better than good”. This is NOT normal for my family. In my case it’s a result of working hard to conquer emotional eating and understanding that eating healthy foods is the true “treat” for my body, along with regular exercise.

These days I eat for my health and not for my happiness. Β I still enjoy my Oreo cookies and my homemade cheesecake, but they’re the exception and not the rule.

Self-Improvement is Good – When it’s Done for the Right Reasons

This has been by far the most powerful thing I’ve learned in my nearly fifty years here on earth. And the most difficult to master. The change came when I started seriously studying the Bible and learned that the Creator of the Universe says I am perfect in His sight. And so are you.

This truth didn’t release me from the need to improve myself. It released me from the need to improve myself for the benefit or approval of others. What a powerful thing!! Β The improvements I make now aren’t because I want to be accepted by others or by myself; instead, I accept myself for where I’m at and work on making improvements because I know I deserve a better life.

You are AWESOME. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Now go and make your life the life YOU want it to be. If you can get free of needing approval from others or working to find happiness from outside sources, you’ll find that self-focus isn’t a dominating factor, and you’ll improve both your own happiness and your ability to share joy with those around you.



22 comments on “Reflections on Fifty

  1. Happy 50th birthday, Laurie! πŸ™‚ These are great reflections and lessons to share.

    Honestly, I can’t imagine what those 15 months being bedridden must have been like. I was on bed rest for 3 months and nearly went nuts – all I wanted was to be able to cook a meal and do my own laundry. It’s great that you were able to find a way to heal and have continued health. Health does matter. It’s something we easily take for granted when we have it, but when we don’t, all we want is to have it back.

    1. It’s funny, isn’t it? I remember wanting so badly to be able to vacuum the house. πŸ™‚ I wouldn’t say I want it that badly now, but I definitely appreciate the ability to do so.

  2. Happy Birthday to you! And thank you for sharing this inspiring article. Every now and again we do need little reminders like this of our uniqueness and purpose. I totally agree healthy eating is a vital necessity, it reminds me of one of my favourite quotes: β€œA person with bad health cannot enjoy the pleasure of being wealthy”.

  3. That is a remarkable story. My wife was on bedrest for close to 3 weeks with our first child and we thought that was tough.

    My wife tries to follow a healthy “non-SAD” (standard american diet) diet as much as possible for many of the reasons you mention. If you stick with the foods our great-great grandparents ate, your chances of getting many of our modern epidemics are much lower.

    1. So true!! Good old farm food, as I like to say. Home grown veggies and farm-raised meats and eggs, etc., works every time.

  4. Wow Laurie. I didn’t know about your first birthing experience. 15 months is a long time to be bedridden. I’d like to know more about your food related healing. Our sermon last Sunday was about Daniel and his discipline in eating only vegetables rather than the rich food and wine of the king of Babylon. We really can change our lives by how we eat.
    Have a wonderful birthday, Laurie!

    1. Basically, I only ate the food God made. The Daniel diet. And it worked!! I still try to eat a large amount of veggies. Keeps me going. πŸ™‚

  5. Wishing you the very best Birthday Laurie! I had no you had such a traumatic experience and were bedridden for 15 months. Interested to hear how you dealt with food/eating. Always been a challenge for me too.

    1. Food is SO good, isn’t it? And everywhere we’re being tempted with it. The bad stuff, I mean. Our neighbor shared his recipe for deep fried Oreos two weeks ago ( Oreos dipped in Bisquick batter and dropped in the deep fryer) and I’m STILL thinking about them. πŸ™‚

  6. Happy 50, Laurie! I’ll be joining you in the half-century club this fall, and I find myself very comfortable in my own skin. That wasn’t always the case when I was younger.

    I still struggle to make healthy eating choices and to do things for myself for the right reasons. These things don’t get easier. I’m glad you’ve found your healthy balance.

  7. Happy 50th, I’m turning 40 in a few months myself. πŸ™‚ It’s interesting I’ll say that. In general I’ve gotten over the needing approval from others and appearance of wealth, but I still occasionally find myself slipping back to that way of thinking. I catch myself a lot quickernow, but it still happens.

    And food, man, I could “puff up” really quickly if I didn’t watch out and curtail my food wants. It’d be super easy to just eat and eat and over eat and enjoy every minute of it. I know that if i did that, I wouldn’t like how it would ultimately make me feel, and eating more to feel better about that would just continue the cycle. so, I enjoy what I do eat, am grateful to have food and varied choices of food, and keep myself in check with over eating. It’s just so tasty though….

    1. LOL, I hear you on the puffing up. πŸ™‚ It IS yummy, isn’t it?? Those decade birthday markers are really a chance to reflect. I read about a triathlon in my area coming up in six weeks, and I thought for a minute about training for it even though I’ve never done one before. Then I decided it was too much work and I like my workout routine as it is. Just no need to impress anyone but myself anymore, which is nice. πŸ™‚

  8. Happy soon-to-be 50! I’m so thrilled we’ve become friends. I can’t wait to see how life unfolds for you the next few years. Come what may, I know it will be filled with happiness.

  9. Great post and happy birthday! As a not-too-far-off 50-year-old, I agree with so many things. Obviously health. I hate it when I see blogs or hear podcasts where the advice to success is “never sleeping.” Yeah, that’s just great (read: sarcasm). That’s such total BS! You have to take care of yourself in all aspects or you’ll end up rich and dead at 60. And I agree with self-improvement too. Too often we change to please others. I’ve been there. It’s still tough to get past, but I’m working on it.

    1. Me too!! It’s mostly gone, that need to please others, but it still rears its ugly head once in a while. πŸ™‚ 50 is great!

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