In my last blog post, I shared the benefits of Traditions. Traditions have grounded me and provided foundational lessons and truths. They’ve also given me the courage to bend some rules.
And acting my age is the first rule I’m bending.
Except, I’m not out to feel younger.
NOPE! Been there. Done that.
I’m going to act older. Or shall we say, wiser?
I’ve esteemed turning 50 with the flair of not caring what others thought of me, dancing like no one was watching, and living with breathless abandon.
This month I turned 49, and I’m not waiting for 50 to claim those virtues as mine.
I hereby proclaim that 49 is the new 50.
Bending the Rules
My faith was born and raised in a Southern Baptist church in South-Central Illinois. It was a traditional church building with AWANA, Sunday School, and Big Church. As a Kindergartener, I learned about Jesus, memorized a few short bible verses, sang songs and hymns, and completed worksheets.
In Big Church, I sang hymns, stood for bible readings, and listened to a stern sermon. Then, every head bowed, and every eye closed as we entered a time of confession and redemption. We ended Big Church with a benediction and blessing.
My children did not receive the same curriculum at our church in the early 2000s. Their Sunday School didn’t consist of the traditional learnings I had. Instead, they glued cotton on paper and called it a sheep, and instead of coming home to give me the child’s rendition of Jesus as Shepherd, they said, “I made a sheep.’
Experiential learning is an essential tool, however, but not when it is at the expense of, well…learning.
Big Church became no different. Attending church became all about me and less about worshiping God.
Somewhere along the way, little c church became less and less about big C Church.
It wasn’t until I was well into my forties that I realized this slow fade of dying worship. My faith was stronger than ever but was fueled by what God could do for me in this hurting world (valid) instead of what God could do for all in this world because He. Was. God.
Now, with complete humility, I’m bending the rules, doing a 180 from modern worship, and entering RCIA in 2023.
I’ve prayed, reflected, and sought wise counsel over this conversion, and it’s time.
In fact, I’m overdue.
The rules of modern western medicine can suck at times. Too many doctors tell me they can’t find anything wrong when I sit in pain 60 – 80% of my day. I’m in tears by the time I go to bed and choke down the pharmacy that adorns my bedside table.
Good doctors are performing tests and coming up empty, yet I can’t walk through a store with my family before begging for the keys so I can sit in the car. I’m in so much pain.
Doctors don’t want to find out what’s wrong anymore and only want to treat the pain. I only need to call back when I spasm again so they can up the dosage.
Something has to change.
I’ve not pursued more holistic medicine because insurance won’t cover it, and religion tells me it’s witchcraftery.
But now. Now, I’m bending the rules.
I REFUSE TO BELIEVE BIG PHARMA IS OKAY, BUT HOLISTIC HEALING IS WITCHCRAFT.
I’ve watched too many patients suffer and fall victim to insurance schemes and many good doctors who can’t practice how they were intended.
I’m taking better control over my health in my new 49 is the new 50 mindset. I will do what is necessary to feel whole again.
Several thoughts cloud my mindset and prevent me from doing what I am called to do. I’ve been mindful of how my actions may affect others and their perception of me in the role that I play to them.
Seeing me in a different role than what they are used to affects them more than me, so unless it is hurtful to do so, I am bending the rules about perception.
If my new role makes me look stupid, nerdy, weird or shocking, I don’t have to alter what I’m doing to revert to a role to make people feel comfortable with me.
Honestly, the fleeting thought lasts seconds, whereas my altered reality of their perception lasts much longer. It’s quite self-righteous on my part to think otherwise, so I’m letting it go.
Also, the thing I’m learning about turning 49 (50!) is that proximity does not equal connection. There’s a whole world of my kind of goofball out there just waiting for someone to connect with. Since I’m not a world- or time traveler, I will rely on social media to find them.
Whether close by or far away, deep connection with people with similar interests is at the top of my list. And meaningful, spirited, but polite conversations with dissimilar people are also on the list.
But my mindset will no longer be led by my role to others. God will define my path, and I will listen and adjust my mindset according to the role HE has for me.
Following the Rules
There are a few rules I’m bending upwards. I’m not all rebellion and vinegar, after all.
I am selfish, selfish, selfish with my time.
I’m an ISTJ, One on the Enneagram, and, High C on the DiSC. I like structure and schedules more than Darcy loves Elizabeth.
The idea of boundaries has exacerbated my selfishness.
Working ten hours a day, sitting on the board of a Non-Profit, getting three certifications in twelve months, and editing a book taught me I should have some boundaries.
Boundaries have been good for my sanity, but unfortunately, I have become protective of every minute of my day.
I’m not exaggerating – I have micro-projects at work and home so that if a meeting gets out early, I have a list of things to do because someone always needs something.
However, I’ve also noticed that setting these boundaries has come at the expense of sacrifice, service, and love. In my prayer time, God has made it clear He isn’t having any of that.
So, I continue to pray (will you pray with me?) that God will show me important boundaries that serve Him. How do I transition from getting it all done to what’s important?
In 2022, I’ve taken steps to love more deeply, both in heart and in action. Allison Aars said, “When you finally learn that a person’s behavior has more to do with their inner struggle than it ever did with you, you learn grace.”
While it reads a little self-serving, I also receive this inspiration not to take things personally. When I do not take them personally, I do not feel the need to get defensive. And when I don’t get defensive, I don’t respond with my typical fight mode, which is rarely loving.
I’m bending the rules upward and committing to experiencing love more by giving and receiving, even if it may hurt.
I’m unsure yet whether trauma is overused or we’re simply changing our mindset about it as a society, but there’s no doubt we’re all healing from something.
As part of my new 49 is the new 50 year, I intend to dig into that more deeply, know myself more kindly, and better understand how this will help me obey God’s will for the remainder of my life, whether I have 30 years or one day left.
Okay, Kass, repeat after me: I WILL PUBLISH RUTH’S GARDEN IN 2023.
I am looking for a content editor while learning the self-publishing world. Even if the only two readers are my mother-in-law and grandmother, I will be tickled pink to see Ruth’s Garden in print!
You can read my very first blog about my writing journey in Finding the Joy of Writing Again.
I hope you’ll be with me when it comes time to publish. Visit my author page to learn more about my writing and THE BURIED SERIES.
My contact information is also on my website, and I’d love to hear from readers who love closed-door, contemporary fiction. Who is your favorite villain? Do you like heroes or heroines better? What do you love about the Midwest?
I’m building a small community of women of all ages who are a little bit ‘extra’ordinary who love clean, clever fiction, and I’d love to have you with me. Sign up for my email list (currently a quarterly newsletter + blog posts) and be part of a quarterly giveaway, get the latest on Granny and The Rt. 40 Rest Stop, and get a chance to become a beta reader for Ruth’s Garden. You’ll also get get the first 15 pages of Ruth’s Garden for signing up!
Thank you for being here – it means more than you can know.