An old friend called this morning to wish me a happy birthday. “How do you feel at 48?” she wanted to know.

Without pause, I answered ‘I feel both sides now.’

Which is to say I’m more entrenched with my middle years even as I taste the sweetness of my twenties, and the far more bittersweet decade of my thirties. Fifty doesn’t frighten me because at last I’m settling into myself.

What I know at 48 is:

  • It’s good to be wiser, to connect the dots between past and present.
  • Pauses are vital.
  • Dreams are telling. This is as true about the dreams in our sleep as those that occupy us during the day.
  • Vulnerability is part of living.
  • We’re all hardwired differently. Some people laugh more. Others worry. Some people resist change until they have no choice. Others leap.
  • We go where we need to go. What’s right for one person is different for another.
  • Sometimes things just happen.
  • Truly difficult moments, times that feel unbearable, do pass.
  • Perspective is essential.
  • Happiness is contagious.
  • The word perfect should be eliminated from the English language.
  • Taste, touch, feel, smell, hear all that you can. Just not at once.
  • Authenticity is the seed of courage.
  • More often than not, joy and sorrow, loss and gain coexist. Find the middle place.

We needn’t a birthday to remind us of all that we hold dear, the people, ideals, and unique circumstances that make us who we are. Where do you fit in the puzzle of life? Do the pieces align?

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