Well, here I am just past my latest birthday, which is making me ponder what it means to be 59. I'm pretty sure it's not what I was expecting as I enter the final year of my fifties and stare into the headlights of the big 6-0, next stop on this highway. I'm unwilling to accept that a number has any meaning other than what we assign to it. And that worked fine as I sped through my forties and fifties, but 60 is a little bit harder to deny. I mean, even if I make it to 100, I'm at well beyond halfway at this point.

However, as I really take an honest look back at each decade I've lived, there is no question that my fifties have been some of my best, most enjoyable, happiest years. I adored all the years of raising my children, naturally I did. But those years were lived mainly for them. With 5 children there's not much time to focus on personal nurturing. It's a rewarding, demanding, exhausting time, raising kids.

There's the shock of the empty nest after that, and for me, at least, that came with a profound period of self-exploration. When being the mom is one's whole life, being an empty nester is kind of like if you've been living in a 20-year-long hurricane that suddenly just stops. You walk out, blinking into the daylight, looking around and wondering “What now?”

For me my forties were a time of drastic change. My mom died when I was 43. My children grew up and started their own lives one after the other. My first marriage ended when I was 44. My new home burned to the ground within my first year of living in it, and I felt stripped to the bare bones. I drank too much in my forties, but by the end of them, had given it up entirely. And just as the clock ticked me into my 50's, the job I'd had my entire adult life, writing for Harlequin Books, disintegrated at the snap of some literary Thanos' fingers.

I had to entirely re-invent myself and figure out who the heck I wanted to be. I had never once lived as an independent adult. I went from being a teenager in high school to being a mother. No stops in between.

The turmoil and shapeshifting of my forties, led me into a building, growing, settling in period that has made up most of my fifties. I explored and meditated and mulled and pondered and evolved. I broadened my understanding and spent a lot more of my time on spiritual things. I wrote and read and learned and grew. I practiced and studied. I searched my mind to find and root out self-limiting beliefs and as I annihilated them one by one, I was able to grow ever further.

I launched my own company, Thunderfoot Publishing, Inc, at 52. I got remarried on Valentine's Day 7 years ago to a spiritual partner and soulmate. I started reading Tarot cards again and spent time developing my Bliss Blog.

At 57, I incorporated the Bliss business, combining a growing demand for my readings with an online magic shop that is a dream come true. There's even a line of non-fiction books in the field of spiritual self-help. BlissBlog.org marries my practices of Witchcraft and natural magic with my studies of Law of Attraction. I meditate and channel and write extensively on these topics.

Now, at the end of my fifties, I am having an unbelievable amount of fun! 59 is the year I resolved to follow my bliss in absolute faith. And in practice, what that means is to follow my heart, and do the things I feel passionate about doing, while knowing that this is the way to everything I desire.

So far it's led me into a whole new plant-based way of eating, and into a new idea for the bliss business, and a third of the way through a new novel. Following my bliss is the perfect thing to do!

And that's the thing about being my age, and at my stage in life, with no one relying on me but me. I'm free to follow my bliss. You can't do that in your twenties or thirties or forties. And it takes most of our fifties just to settle into being who we are without all the family stuff on us. We act the matriarch for a while, sure, but even that gets shifted gradually off our shoulders so it's an honorary title, not a working one. Like the queen mum, I suppose.

Covid took the ability to do what I want to a whole new level. I suppose if what I wanted was to be out around other people that wouldn't have worked out so well. But I'm a natural born hermit.

So my fifties have been good. Great, really. And this year, the best one yet. (And it's only February!)

I think I want my sixties to be an entire decade of following my bliss wherever it leads. I think that's how I want to live from now on, actually. It feels really good. Maybe this is the biggest blessing of getting older and becoming the venerated and beloved crone. I feel great, like I'm aging in reverse so far this year, so none of the expected down sides of knocking on the door of sixty have reared their heads, nor do I expect them to.

The end of Covid is in sight. Like the groundhog, we're all going to be emerging into the daylight soon. I'm emerging a very different person from the one who hunkered down last March. I've changed inside and out. For the better, I think.

Niblet says, “live in the moment!”