Tag Archives: turning 50

“The Club” and Nancy Lee’s Rules of 5-0

My friend Pilar Lopez, owner of  The Pastry Station, came to my studio on Friday and bought herself a pair of earrings (pictured below). She asked me what I was doing over the weekend. “It’s my birthday, and I’m gonna be 50!” I said. She rested her hand on my arm and looked at me with her twinkling brown eyes and said, in her lovely Colombian accent, “welcome to the club!” We laughed, and Pilar talked about how liberating this fifth decade had been for her, how she and her friends had embraced and celebrated it. My plan exactly!
This evening, my significant other asked me what I’d learned in the past five decades. Had to laugh at that one, recalling that I’d asked my dad that same question 26 years ago when he turned 50. He said, “I learned that I don’t know anything.” Some things just stick with you.
Over the past five decades, I’ve learned slightly more than I used to know, but way less than is necessary. Since it’s my birthday, and because my S.I. asked, I came up with a few key ideas anyway, and decided that they are my new “Club Rules.” Nice part is no one has to follow these “rules” but me.

  1. Trust yourself
  2. Trust others – due to number 1, one can spot the difference between the angels and the devils better
  3. Calmness is a choice
  4. Stand on the skinny branches of life (or, take a chance, already! dream big! start that master work!)
  5. Love, love, love like there is no tomorrow

And, when all else fails, repeat number 5, because all we have is today, and love is all that really matters. Live in it, revel in it, have fun with it, do what you love, be what you dream. Today, you are wished all that you want to have in your life, and the means to make it yours.

"Dawn Waves," by Nancy Lee
“Dawn Waves,” by Nancy Lee

My Old Friend: Fear

If you’ve been reading my posts lately, you know that I made a lone journey from Indianapolis, Indiana to visit my lovely friend and exceptional metalsmith, Ginger Meek Allen, in North Carolina. A trip of well over 600 miles, many of them over mountains that go way up in the air. A few points:
1.       I like flat – my childhood was spent in the dirt of cornfields and prairies in central Illinois
2.       I fear heights, bridges, closed-in places, failure, success, hate, melting my work, and spiders
3.       I’m sick and tired of fear
4.       I’m turning 50 and plan to celebrate all year
5.       Love
Turning 50 this year has spawned an intention to make this year my own – create a few trips, visits and experiences that are singularly meaningful and bring joy. That’s when I thought to visit Ginger and pair a visit with a learning experience. The trip through mountains meant list items #2 and #3 were going to have to be addressed. So be it. I was sick and tired of fear clawing joy from my life. This time, I’d be creating a path through fear. Later on, I found the part Number 5 played in this journey.

Nancy Lee at West Virginia Rest Stop
Nancy Lee at West Virginia Rest Stop

So, the drive through the mountains was fine, right? Heck, naw. The steering wheel has permanent marks from the death grip it endured for hours. I pulled off the road several times to let “normal” drivers pass, and sweated through my clothes more times than could be counted. Tired and lost, my eventual arrival, safe and sound, was pretty anticlimactic. The best part was being with my friend and her family for eleven days after that!
Since I’ve returned home, things taste a little different. There’s a little more peace inside. A little more Number Five. Room has been created in which to examine thoughts for potential lessons in what it means to love and accept things as they are, and in the process, myself.
My inner peace isn’t perfect, but it’s growing every day, and to feed it, I know what I need to do. Fear, my old friend, here I come. Because when you make friends with fear, you put yourself on the path to inner peace, and inner peace is love.
I’d like to hear what you are afraid of in matters both large and small, whether you have been able to find a path through fear, and how you did it. Really.