There are songs that echo and capture the mood I experienced at each place in time in my life.
These songs may bring tears to my eyes, or send me down memory lane, or even get me pumped up. It was really fun to reflect on each decade and figure out which song best captured the essence of what was happening as I journeyed along. I admit my kids helped me find most of these songs (confession: I’m kid dependent in my 5th decade).
- The Late Teens: It was so complicated in those early years. I can still feel the stomach pains from breaking up with my boyfriend half way through my freshman year in college. He was 6 years older than me – and I wanted to be “free.” He knew things I hadn’t yet learned and I didn’t want his advice – I wanted to adventure out and feel it all on my own. I am grateful that we are still friends today and can reminisce about those early years.
Song: I Did It My Way Frank Sinatra
- The Roaring 20’s: My 20’s were defined by adventure and fearlessness (well I still had my stomach aches but they didn’t hold me back). I studied International Relations and had my share of them. I lived in Paris at 19, for a year during college, and I lived in Japan for 6 months at 24 before graduate school. The boyfriends I had in each place I loved deeply. I felt courageous, impulsive and global. I was not afraid of terrorists but I did have a moment of being snatched from a dressing room in the Latin Quarter in Paris and being sold to the white slave trade. But that didn’t stop me from buying the outfit I was trying on.
I fell in love with the 4th man that walked through my door – I was 25 and we were engaged 4 months later. He was a family friend. He literally walked into my apartment in his cowboy boots, jeans and leather jacket to take me out “as a friend” and my heart started racing and didn’t stop. We were married the week I finished graduate school.
Song: I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You UB40
- The Thrilling Thirties: With my fancy new degree and a ring on my finger I landed what I thought would be my dream job at Pepsi. Too much bureaucracy gave me the courage to create and manifest my dream. I launched my own very tiny publishing company with a friend I met at Pepsi. We created magazines for raising children and I began to raise my own simultaneously
It all happened so fast..
Two beautiful boys and 3 parenting magazines defined my 30’s. In my 30’s my community of friends expanded. Raising children and working in my little village felt rich but we were not rich – my husband and I worked hard and played even harder. We raised our kids on skis and then snowboards – on boogie boards and then surfboards. Our home was abuzz with dinner parties and kids’ parties – loud voices and group napping. We were becoming adults as we were becoming parents.
Song : Father and Son Cat Stevens
- My F#*ked Up 40’s were about shedding and loss. My business was sold in my early 40’s which was a good thing but, I missed working with my team. My husband quit his job and came home to start his own company. Our oldest went to college. We were happy for him – but sad to see him go. And then my husband went away on a business trip – I was 48 he was 50. He didn’t come home. A truck on a morning jog hit him. Our nest was forever changed. My baby boy left home the next year for college. I was 49.
Song: Fix You By Coldplay
- The BA50s: My 50’s were about rebuilding. My boys began to find their way without their dad and so did I. An angel found me and I opened my arms to him and let myself fall in love. My Bill. He grounded me and brought me fully through my 50’s. With another ring on my finger we parented our boys into their 20’s. The boys opened their hearts to him and we were a family again. I launched another publishing company — Betterafter50.com and found the best partner ever – or she found me – Ronna. Business and family once again expanded- step children and community simultaneously. Friends were added, some were lost – and new community was created.
Song: I Get Knocked Down by Chumbawamba –
This became my running song for years – totally pumped me up.
Now, 50+++. And as I straddle this decade and the next, I STOP and INHALE the biggest fullest breath ever. I draw in love of family and friends and it feels good.
On my birthday this past week I received the gift of my boys staying and playing with me in the mountains. I felt so embraced it choked me to the verge of tears. I literally cried 3 times that day – tears of joy – full joy. Digital technology was also a conduit of full joy. Texts and calls and Facebook posts from my amazing community of family and friends built over 5 decades popped up like little gifts throughout the day and it felt sweet to be harvesting all that had been sown.
The truth is, I know that these friends/cheerleaders fortified me not only in the good times but when I bump up against realities that become harder and harder to digest. For one, as my boys venture into their careers on that “other coast” it breaks my heart and simultaneously fills me with pride I know that I am richer from the journey.
So on our way driving home from the best day of skiing with the boys and Bill on this birthday, my younger son played a song that made me cry (for the 3rd time that day). We all shed a tear because we were all on the road together listening and knowing these words to be true.
Listen to this one: Does it hit home for you? Does it give you pause as it did me about how fast the time goes and what we learn along the way.
Song: 7 years by Lukas Graham