Depositphotos_17355121_s-2015Turning 50 is a big deal in our culture, often triggering the onslaught of black balloons, off-color greeting cards and snarky remarks about sagging skin and memory loss. So as I celebrate my 50th journey around sun this year, I’m well aware of the significance. And here’s where I say, “Bring it on!”

I’ve always believed (and promoted) the concept of celebrating birthdays in big ways. In fact, I like to celebrate the entire month. Why not? I revel in the anticipation of seeing friends and having mini-parties or get-togethers as much as possible! And years ago, after getting the idea from a fellow trainer, I added the tradition of sending my mother flowers on my birth date as a thank you for bringing me into this world.

So obviously, I already adore birthdays. But because this one is so significant, it’s made me take pause and think, “What does this mean?”

It Means Abundance

As I age, I’ve increasingly found myself in a place of gratitude, and turning 50 reminds me that I’ve had a  wildly interesting and abundant life. Being born into a never-boring Cuban family from Fort Wayne, Indiana, I appreciate my family’s diversity and the struggles we faced over the years. Those struggles weren’t necessarily exceptional, but with four siblings, we had our share of conflicts and rough patches. I learned so many life lessons from my family along the way.

I lost my dad in 1996, and even though this was so difficult, I also recognize the gifts that came with his passing. That sorrowful time actually brought my family closer together. I believe that such difficulties often cultivate abundance.

It Means I am Blessed

From my high school years to my time as a college student at Ball State University, I have always been involved in sports and athletics. I ran marathons and participated on adventure racing teams. And I continue to be physically active in a number of ways today. Through all of this, I’ve learned about determination, perseverance, and the art of pushing myself even when it physically feels like I can’t go on.

My passion for team sports and connecting with other people was transformative, as I discovered the power of groups and team building. This led to my work with coaching individuals and teams. The skills I developed along the way have led me down an amazing path rich with countless gifts.

It Means I am Loved

When I think of all of the loved ones  in my past and present, I am overwhelmed with joy. The love that continues to flow into my life brings me to my knees. It is everywhere. I feel love when I’m in nature –when I explore trails with my two adorable dogs — or when I hold outdoor events with clients and colleagues. I’m so very lucky to know that I am loved.

It Means I am Still Learning

When people tell me they are struggling with a birthday, my guess is that it has something to do with being attached to the number. And my question is always, “What’s that about?” Is it because you are wishing you lived differently? If that’s the case, you can start to make a change today. Things can be different for you … and you don’t have to wait a second longer. That’s the miracle of ongoing self-development.

So as I’ve taken pause on this significant event, I want to leave you with some top lessons I’ve learned so far. I hope you enjoy them.

What I know

  • My mom was right. Pretty much Every. Single. Time.
  • Pray!
  • Life is lived in the spaces in between.
  • How you do anything is how you do everything.
  • You always have a choice.
  • Making a difference rocks!
  • If you’re not making up your own life, somebody else will.
  • Smile lines are sexy.
  • The little stuff is the big stuff.
  • In every situation there is always a gift and a lesson.
  • Believing in someone is one of the greatest gifts you can give them
  • Celebrate everything, often.
  • You can, in fact, have it all.
  • Being grateful will transform your life.
  • You create your own reality.
  • Follow your bliss and doors will open where there were only walls.
  • If it’s not a hell yes, it’s a hell no.
  • It’s all part of the journey.
  • You’ll know when you know.
  • TSRW (If you don’t know what this is, you’ll have to ask me!)
  • If you are not happy along the way, you won’t be happy when you get there.
  • Just breathe.

Do you age gracefully?

Have you experienced difficulties with any of your birthdays or other significant life events? How did you deal with them, and are you in a good place now? I’d love to hear about your experiences, along with any life lessons you’ve learned along the way. Please leave your comments below.


Most leaders struggle with disengagement, dysfunction, and non-productive behaviors with their teams. We deliver training that develops leaders and engages teams to increase your company results.