The rain has been with us for days, washing debris from the sky and the pavement, leaking in through windows, trying to trick us into feeling unsettled. But, the rain has always made me feel safe, contemplative.

This year I will be 50.  I may write about it….a lot.  I might just push it into the dirt after this post, but that seems unlikely. I honestly find it slightly unbelievable.   I want to say it is because I feel 30, but I don’t.  I have brutalized my body for so many of my 50 years, and it holds the scars, reminds me how time both escapes and binds.  I am told that I don’t look 50, but grief has left lines on my face and darkness beneath my eyes. It has aged me, but also strengthened me.  I find the idea of 50 unbelievable, not because I crave youth, but because there is so much that has been chipped away, it seems impossible for so many years to have passed.

I often write about being broken, as if I am something that needs to be fixed, as if the pieces of myself that have been lost are meant to be recovered.  I don’t think they are.  I have focused for so long on the idea of wholeness, but as I approach 50, I begin to realize that I don’t need to piece myself back together or continue to look for the shapes of years I can no longer see clearly.  I don’t need to be fixed to be whole or strong.   I don’t want to be unbreakable.  I have strength because I am broken.

I have been staring over a precipice for so long, searching for who I was, or who I believed I should have been, but the truth is, I have no idea what that person looks like. It is time I stop trying to find her.  I know that I need to make changes in my life, and in some ways I hope I always will.  It is in change that growth is experienced.  I know there are burdens I will always carry; blindness and depression and loss.  But I know that I can, because I have for so many years.  It has given me strength.

Now, as 50 comes closer, I want to feel balance, expand my focus, learn to carve out time for myself as well as others. I want to honor the love I have for writing, but I also need to give energy to other parts of my life. I want to live as honestly as I can.  I will have dark days.  It is part of who I am.  I will have days flooded in light.  It is part of who I am.  I will feel despair without trying to erase it.  I will feel joy and know it doesn’t have to be fleeting.  I will be messy and ugly and angry.  I will soar and I will crash.  I am turning 50 and I have endured every wound, every fall and scrape that have altered my life.  I am broken and I have earned it.  I am proud of it.  It is in the breaking that I have learned to stand, to love and to see.