A monumental non-MS related event happened to me this weekend.
On Sunday, February 19, I turned 50 years old. I know! Me. Fifty years old. I almost can’t believe it’s true. Oh, but it is true. I have the two-day recovery experience to prove it.
I agonized over what to do to celebrate this monumental occasion. My friend Sandy and I had been talking about it for weeks…What did I want to do? How did I want to celebrate? She knows me well enough to know that doing nothing would depress the hell out of me but doing something might have the very same effect what with the reality of what my life is like now. My post-MS life, I mean.
I knew I didn’t have a big night out in me. I knew I didn’t have the energy or the desire to have a big party out somewhere swanky like I’ve done for milestone birthdays past. I wanted to celebrate with people I love but I wanted to do it in my own home. I didn’t want to get all dolled up (hell, by the time I did the hair, makeup and put on real clothes I would be ready for bed!). I didn’t want to worry about looking cute or wearing the right outfit. I just wanted people I care about in my home with me, until I inevitably got tired and kicked them all out.
I needed people who wouldn’t be offended by getting kicked the hell out when I hit the wall.
So I had a pajama party. I had my personal party planner (Sandy, the best friend ever) instruct people to come to my house on Saturday February 18th at 6PM. Yes, at 6PM. This would be an early starting birthday party cause that’s all I have in me. I also told her to tell my guests to be dressed in the kind of clothes they would wear if they were hanging out at home having a wild evening with Netflix and delivery food. I had her tell people to wear their pajamas, in fact, because that’s what I would be wearing. Only one guest actually followed instructions, but I didn’t care. I was happy to be surrounded by friends in comfy clothes celebrating my first half century of life.
People brought amazing food. Sandy decorated with the usual “Look who’s fifty” kind of decorations. I had two glasses of champagne surrounded by people who are really important to me, while I sat in my favorite comfy chair. The guests all knew me (obvi) but some didn’t know each other. My family was there, including my sister (who made the amazing cake), my niece, my brother and some friends from work who are so much more than co-workers. And then a few significant others who have been in my life through thick and thin, and very many birthdays throughout the years…including my one and only Cheryl! Yes. I invited my therapist to my 50th birthday pajama party and she actually came. I don’t think anything could have made me happier.
I had been a little nervous about the whole thing – this seemingly random but important group of people I wanted to be with me while I celebrated in my own low-key way, might not like each other or have anything to talk about. But they all seemed to have fun! I know I did. And when I hit the wall? They actually cleaned up before they left. I mean, what could be better than that?
I planned my low-key celebration of me knowing that anything I did would likely wear me out for days and I’d need to recoup afterwards by sleeping more than a little and doing next to nothing and that is exactly what came to pass. Yesterday I slept in until 2PM. Today, I had big plans to run to Target for a few things I needed after taking a shower. Well I did take that shower. But I didn’t make it to Target. I just don’t have it in me. So I didn’t go. I did manage to get the trash to the curb. In my new life that felt like a major accomplishment and I am giving myself props for doing that.
My trash looks festive! We did it. Me and my friends. We celebrated, even knowing that my ability to do so would be severely limited, we did it anyway.
As luck would have it, our office was closed today for the President’s Day holiday so I have one more day to rest before my life begins anew tomorrow and my second half century begins.
I’m not sure what to expect. I know 50 is supposedly the new 30 and all of that but I am also eyeballs deep in this journey to get my health under some semblance of control and I’m nowhere near the end. I’m still trying to find the treatment that will work for me. I’m still struggling to stay awake. I can walk a little better, for now, but I have no idea how long that will last so I’m a little leery of getting too excited quite yet. I still feel more like I’m 150 and not just 50. That’s just the damn truth.
I guess this is really just like every other milestone birthday I’ve celebrated so far in this crazy thing called life. I have no idea what it will bring and I can only continue to do my best with what comes my way.
And if I have to do it in my pajamas? Well, so be it.