As columnist Jennifer Powell nears 50 years of age, she wades through nostalgia’s sweets and defeats. Her “second act” will be her grandest period of life.
If a cat has nine lives then I have at least twice as many. One day shy of my 50th birthday, my mind runs a vivid montage of years past. I close my eyes and I am there. I feel a heavy melancholy as the movie rolls. I see my family. I see my parents. I feel my home. I feel safe.
I see kindergarten, brownies, and Girl Scouts. I am at our annual campsite in Yosemite. I smell the bonfire and see the smiles of friends who have passed away. I see hikes to the beach over steep terrain. I see my dad carry me and I feel protected. I see myself sail, ski, sing, cheerlead, tap, swim, and play soccer and piano. I am confident. I see pool parties, birthday celebrations, and my mom’s special cakes.
I see myself travel through countless countries and experience incredible cultures. I see plays, concerts, symphonies, and operas. I am enthralled. I crave cultural literacy. I attend the University of California, Irvine, and am a college graduate. My family is there. I feel love.
I am a teacher and love children. I cannot have children due to severe endometriosis and a radical hysterectomy at 24. I mourn. I grieve. I drink to ease my heart’s ache. I cry. I grieve. I lose my way and decide I want more. I admit I am powerless and give up alcohol. I find a personal faith and embrace newness. I find strength. I write a book about endometriosis and reach thousands. I am a chat host for WebMD. I help others and in turn help myself. I begin to heal.
I meet and marry my husband. I move to Southern California. I feel love. I grow. We grow. I learn to be a woman and leave the girl behind. I love and feel love. I own love. I nourish my friendships and am grateful.
We live and we laugh. We love. We travel and experience beauty. We grow through trials and tears. We hold on. We learn.
I have multiple sclerosis. I fear my future. He has my hand. I can do this. I do daily shots, then monthly infusions. Three years pass. I progress to secondary progressive multiple sclerosis. I begin Rituxan (rituximab). It makes me sick. I have new lesions. My body and mind change. I grow weary. I fight. I hope. I pray. I am grateful and I am blessed. I feel love.
|Read on: My Second Act: Turning 50 with Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis|