Monday, May 17, 2010

Jubilee Year

If I may borrow from both Jewish and Christian tradition here. Today begins my jubilee year, my 50th year on this little planet.

I've never been one to agonize over my age. It never bothered me, turning 30 or 40 or whatever number it might be. But deep down, I wondered if turning 50 would bother me, even if just a tiny bit. It's a milestone. I tried torturing myself with numbers - "20 years ago you were thirty and so young, now in 20 years you'll be 70". Taunted myself with concepts - "you have more time behind you than before you."

Despite all that, I still really can't get negative about it. I'm alive, in my right mind (oh, hush!), in reasonably good shape physically, I have no major health issues. My knees have been bad for 20 years, my hair gray for 15 so I'm accustomed to that.

Every year for many years, I have taken a birthday trip. It was my present to myself. Now, wandering around National Forests and climbing mountains might not appeal to everyone. For me, and luckily, for Jason, treks into the vast beauty of the rapidly disappearing wilds of this country are soothing, spiritual times.

My past birthday trips lead many who know me to ask, "Why Amsterdam?"

Well, the truest answer is simple. I wanted to see the Van Gogh Museum.
Photo by me.
I wanted to stand before "Wheat Field with Crows" and see the brush strokes that Van Gogh's own hand created.

The more complex answer is a jumbled mix of feelings, assumptions, intuitions and hopes that can't be easily identified with mere words. It was a bold step (for me)to travel overseas. There was a vague familial stirring as many of my ancestors came from the Nordic/Germanic regions. There was the idea that I could let go of being a philosophical outcast in my hometown. Plus, there was just the exhilaration of walking into the unknown.

And it was all that and more.

Beauty, whether natural or man-made, is still beauty. If you can stop and see it.
Photo by me.
Photo by me.
Photo by JAZ (but you could tell, huh?)

A wonderful adventure to kick off this, my Jubilee Year.


Arnold said...
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Anonymous said...

What a great gift to give yourself....I have a friend who always takes the day off from work...gets a massage...a wonderful meal...and a good book...
I turn 62 in Oct. and I am treating myself to receiving Social Security....God Bless, Pam
South Bend

Anonymous said...

Happy half century! What makes a person really feel old is have a 50 year old child! And now favorite niece! Glad you took the trip to Amsterdam. I'm headed to Spain on the 26th, inbound flight is polar route and into Amsterdam with a 3 hr layover. Looks like Eyjafjallajökull may have different plans for me! Love you - Auntie Anon

JanetLee said...

Pam - I'm so jealous, I think I have until 72 for SS

Auntie D - Thank you! Love you too. I think we've been bitten by the European bug, Jason is looking at Spain for the next big trip. We had to detour behind Iceland and over Greenland for the flight home due to the volcano. Wasn't too bad, but hope your flight goes better.

Sharon said...

Happy belated birthday! Mine was on the 10th and, as it wasn't a "big one" (57), I spent it in Florida with my mother while my stepfather was in the hospital (he ended up getting the Whipple procedure, if you know what that is). I'm hoping to have a big old bash for my 60th, though! But you're inspiring me to think even bigger than just a party and think: travel.

JanetLee said...

Sharon - do it!! Pick a place you've always wanted to go and go!

Joan Perry; Sidewalk Curator said...

Jubilee Year - I like that! Happy birthday.

Love your hair, by the way!