The Year of Fifty

January 1, 2013

Well, here it is. IT has finally arrived…. The year I hit the half century mark!!!!! I have to say, I have dreaded this year. Dread, horror, fear, disbelief…..all the expected and predictable reactions of a woman turning 50 years old! But a funny thing happened. Somewhere between the pages of the calendar changing from 2012 to 2013 some sort of shift occurred. Why be predictable? Why not be fluid, strong, and adaptable. Why spend this landmark year kicking and screaming about that which can not be changed? I think most people who know me expect this year to be a wild ride for everyone involved…..but what if I took it in a different direction?

My friend Susan helped me articulate what this year should really be about when she came up with the idea of “50 Acts of Kindness”. The premise is that between myself, Susan, and two of my other closest friends, Jacki and Lynn, we would find and share 50 acts of kindness to mark this year. We decided that any of us could perform any act of kindness, big or small, and that I would chronicle these moments so we could look back on the year with a sense that getting older may not be easy, but realizing that with age comes a certain sense of responsibility for leaving this world with just a little more kindness in the atmosphere .

Soooooo, for our first act of kindness……

Today was New Year’s Day, 2013. Susan, Jacki, and I decided to start the year off right with a scenic run in nearby Auburn. There are some beautiful trails in the area, with much less traffic and some beautiful scenery to boot! I’ve been running with these amazing women for close to 12 years and we do some of our best chatting, comforting, problem solving, commiserating, celebrating and just plain being there for each other on our runs! What better way to kick off this milestone year? To top off the run we thought it would be fun to have our families meet us for breakfast and celebrate the New Year with coffee, mimosas, and some of the best cinnamon roll French toast I’ve EVER tasted!

Even with missing a couple of kids we had a table for 11 and we realize that often times we are a crowd. But the restaurant didn’t seem busy and we weren’t really in a hurry so the girls and I sat down to enjoy our coffee before the rest of the gang arrived. It just went downhill from there……

Starting with the restaurant being cold, the restrooms being freezing, and the server mysteriously limiting our coffee consumption, we weren’t off to a good start. When everyone else arrived, the waitress was nowhere in sight. We waited forever to place our orders and the server was somewhat snippy when explaining the split charges. Our moods improved again with the delicious food (and finally more coffee) but upon waiting for almost 30 minutes to complete the bill paying process, we found ourselves feeling irritated with our server once again. Our inclination was to reflect that in the tip we planned to leave but then I think it was Jacki who said something to the effect of ” let’s start our acts of kindness with our server”. I’m sure the server didn’t want to work on New Years Day. I’m sure the temperature of the place was not her fault. The whole coffee mystery is a different issue, but in the spirit of the project we did end up with plenty of coffee. In short, we figured we would drop our complaints and judgements and just give the server a hefty tip. The funny thing was, I think WE all felt better after the decision and we left the restaurant with a much better feeling overall than if we had left a lame tip and walked out muttering nasty comments under our breaths!!

Who knows what this project will bring. Maybe one of us will make a huge impact with an elaborate idea to save the world. And that would be wonderful! But I’m betting that each of us, through awareness and small gestures will create a ripple of kindness in our wakes….and that makes it seem like The Year of Fifty might just be downright fabulous.