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The BIG 50

The BIG 50, originally uploaded by BissellBlog2.0.

I’ve been blogging in one way or another for many years now, but typically I focus more on photo and video blogging along with an occasional religious or political rant. But how can I let the BIG 50 slip by without a comment or two. Turning 50 is a big deal to lots of folks. If you Google “turning 50”, you’ll find all sorts of books and blogs about this particular transition. I’ve also gotten more birthday cards this year than usual and even $50 from my dad, who must really be feeling old today. 50 sounds a lot older than 49; 49 is still young, 50 is – well – it’s half a century. It’s like you turn old overnight!

One thing is certain, I feel lucky to be alive at 50. So many people die too young. In fact, I could have easily been a SIDS baby myself, due to airway problems back in 1958, which eventually led to a tracheostomy. Just having a tracheostomy was risky back in the 1950s. Then came a complicated pregnancy in 1993 and an almost deadly accident in 2002. Yup, I feel lucky to be alive!

I’ve learned a lot in the past 50 years, mostly from the school of hard knocks. But know one has taught me more than my children, who are also lucky to be alive. Being born three and a half months too soon, they continue to struggle with the disabilities resulting from their premature birth. They have taught me patience and unconditional love. They have taught me not to sweat the small stuff, what is truly important in life and to appreciate each and every day.

So, what is important? I believe that helping others is the easiest way to live a life of fulfillment. Especially with the holidays just around the corner, it’s important to remember that it is indeed better to give than to receive. And when I say give, I don’t necessarily mean material things. In fact, materialism and consumerism are two of the biggest problems in the United States today. By giving, I mean giving time and support, advice and comfort to those in need and getting involved politically in order to push for needed changes in our society.

There are lots of ways to help depending on your passion. For me, it’s an easy call. Out of necessity, I have become an advocate for children with disabilities and/or special health care needs. I started out advocating for my own children, but it didn’t take long to discover that there is much work to be done both locally and globally. So, for my next 50 years, my goal will be to help build a better world for my children, a world in which people with disabilities are welcome members of society and given the supports they need to live a healthy and productive life. A country should be judged by how well it takes care of its poor, elderly and disabled. By helping those in need, we build a better world for all of us.

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi