“On the night before she had left Moscow, when Sofia had expressed her distress at what her father wanted her to do, he had attempted to console her with a notion. He had said that our lives are steered by uncertainties, many of which are disruptive or even daunting; but that if we persevere and remain generous of heart, we may be granted a moment of supreme lucidity – a moment in which all that has happened to us suddenly comes into focus as a necessary course of events, even as we find ourselves on the threshold of a bold new life that we had been meant to lead all along.”
-Amor Towles in A Gentleman in Moscow
Every birthday I have conversations with younger versions of myself.
You should have…
You could have…
Why didn’t you?
These conversations in my head are more about lessons I’ve learned along the way and less about regrets. There are not many of the latter.
Yet this birthday feels different because it is different.
Today I turn fifty.
If 18-year-old Paula thought thirty was old, then fifty was ancient. She never spent time imagining what she would be like at fifty because she was too busy living and loving in the here and now.
And she was really good at it.
Yet this year brings a wisdom that I could only have wished upon my 18-year-old self. The months leading up to my 50th birthday have been shadowed by the truth that life is uncertain. It’s full of unknowns. Yet the beauty for me in this golden day of days is in the understanding that with every shadow, there is indeed a sun shining behind it.
Today I couldn’t wait to tell 25-year-old Paula that her 50-year-old self just may be healthier, happier, smarter and more beautiful than she could ever imagine.
And it’s all because of a bold new life that she believes she was always meant to live.