Turning Fifty: Reflection and Eudaimonia
Written by: Irene Kicak
Today is September 18, 2022 and my half-century birthday is several days away. I sit here at my laptop trying to describe my feelings as this big milestone birthday approaches ever so swiftly. I take stock of five decades of my life, where I have come from, where I am now, and where I want to be. Fifty. It is a BIG number. So many experiences fill my first five decades on this planet. What a ride it has been!
When I was a young teen, I never thought I would make it to twenty, let alone fifty. I have evolved from a rebellious teenager who made some self-harming decisions to a much more mature, wiser, middle-aged woman. Yes, life has led me astray at times but also and maybe equally towards personal and professional achievements. I teach high school students. It is an age I remember very well in my life. I choose to work with these young people so that I can stay optimistically focused on a better world for people, the planet and the entire biosphere. I put my best efforts into guiding our future leaders in and out of the classroom.
My father, who has inspired my earnest desire to learn about new ideas and stretch my knowledge of worldly things, once said to me that one of the pillars of a good life is serving others. Epicurus was the first Greek philosopher to posit that one must work where you feel that you are serving others and making a contribution. I have found that in my teaching profession. But I have also found that in our small business venture – Fancy Farmerettes Ltd. As an entrepreneur, I get to share with others things I know so that others may know them too.
My mother, who has instilled in me kindness, generosity, love, loyalty, and forgiveness, has shaped my ability to love another person with as much gusto and altruism as I can possibly muster. To give IS to live. My mother shaped my capacity for empathy through her affectionate nature. I am generous because she is generous and showed me the importance of taking care of others.
My life partner, Veronica, with whom I am deeply connected, had shown up at just the right time. Of my five decades, Veronica shares in one that has been filled with my most cherished and remarkable successes. In Veronica, I have found a person willing to put up with my entire self: the good, the bad and the ugly. I respect her because she sees me in moments of weakness and yet still chooses to stay with me. Veronica, you and I share a bond by which we both, as individuals, commit to continue in the same relationship for a lifetime. This is the best karma I could ever ask for.
And there is one other significant person who I want to reflect on. Our hen Ellie-Bellie’s namesake (EAB) has been my lifeline for over three decades. This person has fostered in me a desire to reach a better version of myself through in-depth talk therapy aimed at rooting out psychological problems entrenched underneath my conscious actions. Changing old, cavernous neuropathways into new, healthier responses is hard work. This person has been and continues to be my sustenance.
Finally, our small but so important business venture, Fancy Farmerettes, IS my focus heading into my fifties. Teaching will always be in my life in many iterations. So here is my birthday wish. Teach a young person something. Take the required time to connect with that young person. Tell them they are valued and needed to continue the important social work with integrity. Say “You matter to me and the world.” If you could do that on September 23, I will be eternally grateful.
With deep thanks.