My mother always said she wished I had been born on "All Saint's Day" (I grew up Catholic). She said she even tried to get the hospital staff to induce labor. But, much to her regret, I was born on "All Soul's Day" or "Dias De Los Muertas" (The Day of the Dead) in Mexican culture. I was always secretly thrilled I was born on The Day of the Dead. I think I probably didn't relate as much to the saints even though I would like to think I'm saintly.
I had always planned to spend my 50th birthday canoeing with the locals to the island of Janitzio in Mexico. Every year there are elaborate alters set up on the island's cemetery to honor the dead and the locals spend the night on the island. Apparently the highlight is when the fishermen light candles on their canoes and row out. A little macabre? I know, but I guess it's my connection with being born on a day to celebrate the dead.
But, here I am! 50th birthday next Wednesday and I'm in California! One of the reasons I'm hosting a women's health retreat focussing on mid-life changes is because I'm going through them myself and I want to reach out to other women my age and even much younger to say, HEY! We are going through a LOT here. Not only are our bodies changing (if you're younger, it's never too early to prepare yourself emotionally and physically for this), but we're also going through many life changes too. Many women at mid-life are rethinking their careers wondering if what we're doing now will satisfy us for the next twenty or so years of work. Many of those who have kids are sending them off to college and becoming empty nesters. Many women at 50 these days may even still have young ones at home and are struggling to keep up while their bodies are tired and their emotions are like a roller coaster. And overall, we're also starting to understand what it's like to watch our own parents age and dealing with inevitable loss. Some of us are on the verge of menopause (or already in peri-menopause) and realizing the window to having a child is closing - or really has all but closed.
Turning 50 is a big deal.
So here I am in California because at 50 I AM changing careers and in doing so am currently running two business. I'm stretched thin and finances are as well. I thought about that dream trip to Mexico. I also thought of using miles to go on a soul-searching trip to an ashram in India. I had all sorts of ideas. But, now that I'm planning a new retreat (the women's health retreat) and have learned to think things through and plan accordingly, I decided what I really wanted to do was celebrate where I live and the beauty that surrounds me. I also want to celebrate surrounded by family and friends and mostly - on my actual birthday - I want to be alone with my husband celebrating that as much as my life is in flux right now, the one thing that's certain is my love for him.
So my birthday party will ironically have about 50 attendees and I chose an environmental center called Slide Ranch on a gorgeous stretch of land along the coast in West Marin County where we will do yoga in the yurt, decorate sugar skulls (to honor the day of the dead), roam the gorgeous ranch looking at the animals, tide pools and views and have a big old chili eat-fest. Then a dance party in the yurt. A lot of work to prep, but it will be a lot of fun too!
Then off to Mercey Hot Springs where there is no internet and no phone service. Just me, my hubby, our Springbar tent and the healing waters of Mercey Hot Springs. If Harbin Hot Springs hadn't burned to the ground we would have been in "our" much loved dome tent five, but alas, we'll have to wait until they rebuild to again experience one of The Healing Farm's influencers.
Much to celebrate turning 50. I've had such a blessed life. A great and strong family. Deep, deep friendships, a fine career and talent and a deeply loyal husband whom I adore (and the feeling is mutual). As much as I struggle with all of my mid-life changes, I am so very grateful for my first 50 years.
I will make it part of my 50th year journey to celebrate the first fifty years writing about the many incredible experiences I've had in my life. I can't wait to share!
PS - Yes, that yurt in the above pics is the exact spot where I'll be doing yoga for my 50th with a picnic area right beside it!