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  • JD Harper

Fifty And Fabulous: I Made It To the Half a Century Mark!


Happy 50th to me! January 1, 2019

“Fifty and fabulous.” That’s what a friend said to me after my response of, “Nothing really; it’s just another day,” to her question of “How do you feel as you approach your 50th birthday?” Fifty and fabulous. I like it, so let’s go with it! I turned the BIG 50 yesterday, and all I can think of as I write this is Hawaii 5-0, a favorite show of mine. But, seriously, and although it is a cliché, I will say it anyhow, “Where did the time go?” I have the memories. I know they’re in there, deep down in my limbic system, but gosh, really? 50 years’ worth?!? Honestly, I still feel like the 15-year-old girl walking around in high school wondering how I navigate this thing called “life?”

As I approached my 50th birthday, I truly was not depressed nor did I have unrelenting pangs of melancholy, still haven’t experienced either now that the day has come and gone. I can still do the things that I need to do, want to do and then some. Case in point, my son’s Christmas and birthday gift - yes, this happens quite a bit: the combo gift, LOL, no doubt those who have a Christmas Eve or Christmas Day birthday can relate - to me this year is a summertime adventure guided by him to the Wind River Range in Pinedale, Wyoming to feed my love of nature, hiking and photography! There is not a hesitation of doubt in myself of my ability to accomplish the physical demands of this hiking expedition, as I feel fitter at 50 than I did in my thirties and early forties, but what’s really cool is that my son feels the same way about his mom’s abilities to complete the trek. I’ll take that as another gift, thank you very much!

Wind River Range: Pinedale, Wyoming Photo Credit: Visitpinedale.org

Being born on the first day of a new year is interesting. First, your birthday gets swept up in the commotion of the holiday celebration, and second, it feels like my birthday is synonymous with the need for change. The New Year is heralded as the symbol of new beginnings, a fresh start, resolutions, quite simply a time for change. When I was younger, I, too, like countless others would make my list of resolutions; however, about a decade and a half ago, I let go of this tradition as my mindset started to change about what it means to live a happy life. I figured if I wasn’t working on being the best I could be every day, no amount of resolutions was probably going to change that. I have a Christmas book collection with several books still with me from my childhood. (If you follow me on Instagram, you will be familiar with my books of Christmas posts: https://www.instagram.com/sceniccitystories/ .) One of these books is titled, Santa Makes a Change, spoiler alert, the gist of the story is how sometimes we “decide” to make a change when a change is not necessary. As I have grown older, I get it. We are who we are, but if we are making a change because we have studied ourselves and found areas that we want to change then good, go for it; otherwise, appreciate the person you are. Don't change for someone else or for what you think someone else wants you to be.

Vintage Child's Book: copyright 1970, Parents Magazine Press

Another question I have been asked now that I am a half a century old (Wow, there it is again. If I make it another 50, I will be an antique!) is what’s the biggest lesson you have learned? Now, this one I can answer immediately and with passion. The biggest thing I have learned to date is not to rush the journey, for it is the journey that is the goal, not the destination because once you reach your destination, you’re done, finished, and I’m not ready for that. We are made in the moments and the challenges of the journey. Someone once said, “I don’t fear growing old because it’s a privilege not everyone gets to experience.” I hope your journey is a long one full of adventure and discovery, and when the difficult times hit, remember we grow during these times as well. It’s hard to think about but true. The painful parts of life help us appreciate the good things so much more. My recipe for a life well lived is to journey with honor, purpose and energy.


Living a life full of adventure and discovery, riding the elusive "Jackalope" in Wall, North Dakota: circa 2013.

As I start to pull away from my 50th, I look in the mirror, happy to be me. It’s taken a lot to grow into the person I am today, and I am proud to tell everyone that I am 50. I made it! My plan for the next 50: just keep doing, just keep improving and just keep being me.

Going to take a while to get used to hearing "50 year old", but it is what it is!

Happy New Year! Be sure to share any comments or stories from the New Year with me.


Happy New Year 2019

Fun Facts From the Year 1969:

1) Slaughterhouse Five was published

2) The Jackson Five debuted

3) Maya Angelou published, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

4) Xerox rolled out the laser printer

5) The National Women’s Hall of Fame opened in Seneca Falls, New York, the location of

the 1848 Women’s Rights Convention

6) Led Zepplin releases its debut album

7) Beatles release “Yellow Submarine”

8) Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon (this one is for you Mom)

9) Woodstock took place on July 4th

10) And, of course, yours truly was born!



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