Today is my 50th birthday. I woke up today at the Bastide Avellanne, a Bed & Breakfast in the Provence region of France, rich in history surrounded on all sides by oak trees and old vine vineyards. I woke a little before seven o’clock after a restful night of sleep, which is not a recurring thing these days. I sat on a quilt and started my morning meditation. Thoughts of my life flowed freely. These first fifty years have been full of so much love and joy, laughter and great memories. I am surrounded by a family, filled with people who were pulled into this crazy circle throughout the years, each serving their own unique and important part of my life. Each of them supporting and loving me in a way that only they could do. As I reflected, I gave thanks for each individual and showered them with appreciation for the part they each played in getting me to this milestone birthday. I also reflected on who I am, and what I need to focus on to make the next 50 years filled with even more passion. What came to me was – –
For both myself and all those I encounter in life. I took in all these beautiful thoughts and memories of my life, grounded in a purpose for the day and unfolding days before me and set off to celebrate my day, the launch of my fifth decade.
I ate a little breakfast with the thirteen incredible women joining me at the Bastide Avellanne for the Nomadic Belonging retreat. They wished me happy birthday and we excitedly awaited our departure to the beaches of St. Tropez. We drank champagne on our way to St. Tropez, through the winding roads of southeast France, singing to songs from Madonna, Bananarama, the B 52’s and others. Climbing hills and dropping into the town during a busy Saturday market in the center of town. We arrived at Le Club 55, and I must point out that fourteen American women do not ascend on a beach club in the French Riviera quietly. We settled into chaises and soaking in the sun of the Mediterranean was an idyllic way to celebrate such an important birthday.
We proceeded to drink rosé, laugh and talk, swim in the surf and drink more rosé. The time approached to head to our vans and start our trek back to the Bastide. I had skipped lunch at the club and the winding roads were not kind to me. I spent the entire one and half plus hours laying down on the lap of a kindest women you could meet, Kathy. We arrived at the Bastide after what seemed like an ungodly amount of time. I stumbled to my room and fell into my bed. It was probably around five o’clock in the evening at this point, but honestly I don’t remember. I woke up after Cheryl and Nicole R. came into into my room on separate occasions to check on me. It was 9:30 pm when I finally focused my eyes in the dark room, a cold compress gently placed on head, and stepped out of bed and made my way to bathroom. I looked down and noticed a basket of bread and butter, placed near my bed. I learned later that Jenn had come into my room after dinner to leave me something to eat. I had completely missed my 50th birthday dinner! I opened my cards, some brought with me from home and others deposited on my countertop as I lay in bed resembling a pathetic college student after a fraternity party. I was saddened at first but then I smiled as I read the cards and thought about my day. I celebrated my 50th birthday in Provence, on a beach in the French Riviera! Surrounded by women who are changing the world, make me laugh, make me ponder life and who support me and protect me after knowing me for only a few days. I may have missed my birthday dinner, but I learned a great lesson. Women will protect me, accept me and be there for me in times of need – but we cannot live on rosé alone!