Five decades, half a century, five-zero, midway, conquante, caoga, pum deg, two score and ten
No matter how they say it, it is still 50
“I am 50 years old” she whispers to herself.
It is taking her some time to grasp, if at all.
She planned ever so carefully not to be at work or in public on THE day. Her organized work colleagues presented her with an early birthday cake. As she walked into the tea room to the tune of happy birthday she stopped short at the rich chocolate glistening in front of her. Two candles, shaped into the numbers five and zero burned brightly on top.
She insisted there was to be no party, happy just to slip quietly into her 5th decade of life.
She travelled away for the weekend, spent precious time with her daughters and her mother. While 50 was mentioned a few times it was easy to ignore, almost forget.
Her friends keep saying embrace it. Her children tell her it’s better than the alternative, some people don’t get to make 50.
She knows she should be happy and content, it is just a number.
A young life in Manilla where she used to play with the neighborhood children along Hill St, play jumps out the tall lounge window until her brother ended up with stitches to a cut in the back of his head flicker through her memory bank. She remembers learning to ride a bike up the footpath with her cousins and getting her first bike for Christmas when she was 7. She smiles as she remembers how it took her forever to learn to skip rope and the frustrations of learning to drive as she was, and still is a little uncoordinated.
Photos bring recollections of trips to visit family friends in the city, the excitement and awe of walking the busy streets of Sydney, seeing the tall buildings for the first time and travelling on public trains. All a stark contrast to plucking chooks, collecting eggs, helping her dad feed the pigs and the menagerie of animals, the quiet modest life of home. A cat named Sooty, a dog named Barney shared previous fragments of her life.
Trawling through her Facebook brings joyous glimpses of the past through school friends,some were fleeting others have been a part of her life for many years.
She met others through Brownies when she was 9, who have supported her through the waves of joys and sadness for many years and she looks forward to the regular birthday lunch with these treasured ladies later in the week.
She spends time trying to shake the feeling of sadness that rushes over her at the thought of 50. She is in good health, a successful and rewarding career that has the potential to offer so much more over the next decade, surrounded by family and friends that love her.
The hair is grey, the eyes are weak. The hearing is fading and the body is sagging.
Its just a number.
She is nervous how quickly the years speed past her. Will she have time to fit her dreams into this life? Has she procrastinated too long and left it too late to…
The mind is sharp, the experiences many. The dreams are young, the years still plenty.
A deep breath, a bit of lippy.
Wipe the tears, pour the bubbly
Strap yourself and enjoy the ride.
50…and away we go.