Today, I turned 50 years old. Many people struggle with this milestone, I wasn't sure if I would, and today I know I am not struggling with it, I am celebrating it! Here's what I know NOW that I didn't know THEN:
1. When I was a little kid, I didn't know how incredibly important it is to have a deep and long lasting connection with your family. I know this NOW and cherish the love and support of my amazing family. If you have brothers, sisters, in laws, cousins and others who you call your family by blood or by love, pick up the phone and say I love you to one of them right now. And then make it a point to tell each one of them throughout the year. That should be on your bucket list BEFORE climbing a mountain.
2. When I was in grammar school, I didn't know that almost everything I learned back then I would still be using today.I know this NOW and I am thankful for the teachers who trained and taught me the basics that would carry me through life.
3. When I was in high school, I didn't know I would meet the three women who would be still be my best friends today.I know this NOW, and I cannot even tell you how much Kathy, Maria and Eileen and their never-ending support mean to me. When was the last time you called your best friend? Make the time, it is a priority, make the call.
4. When I was in college, I didn't know I was making memories and friendships that would last a lifetime.I know this NOW and boy did I have fun in my college years. Those memories are still some of the best days of my life. Go look through all your old pictures and smile. Enjoy your memories and celebrate the best times of your life. It will give you ideas and the motivation to create even more memories in the days ahead...because the best days of your life happen every day.
5. When I was in my early twenties, I didn't know that I would miss my mother when I was 50 as much as I missed her in my twenties.
I know this NOW and no matter how many years go by, a girl always wants to talk to her mother. If your mom is still alive, call her right now and tell her you love her and that she is special. I am very thankful that after my mother left this earth that I had three women who guided me along the way — my Aunt Isabel (my mother's sister), My Godmother (my mother's lifelong best friend), and my dear friend Maria (who is from the same generation as my mother who I worked with when I was in college). Reach out and tell your Mom or the women in your life who have guided you that you love them and say thank you. I don't think Moms hear thank you enough.
6. When I was in my twenties and thirties, I didn't know that Aunt would be the most treasured and important title I would ever have in my life.I know this NOW and there is no greater joy than hearing the voice of my nieces and nephews, watching them play a sport, texting silly messages or playing a board game or a virtual game of Words With Friends. I had NO idea that I could possibly love anyone that much but I know that NOW. I know NOW that the title of Aunt is an honor that I cherish. I know NOW that there are nieces and nephews by blood and by love and they all mean the world to me. I know NOW that kissing away every boo-boo, changing every diaper, attending every game, celebrating every success, standing through every graduation, every recital and being part of every important moment in their lives is truly the moments and memories I cherish each and every day. I know NOW that when a child goes to heaven, a piece of you goes with them. I know NOW that every hug is priceless and every “I love you” a song.
7. When I was in my early forties, I never thought I would have a position in a major corporation and that it would define who I was.