50 Shades Of 50

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Today I launched a campaign on Instagram called #50til50. I made the decision to capture snapshots of my life in the 50 days leading to my birthday last summer while I was singing and dancing on a chair in a restaurant on Long Island. The plan came during that hot night dance party while I was channeling my inner rockstar and three graduate students from Harvard jokingly offered to give it all up and go on the road with me as my back up dancers. It was in that moment that I realized that there was some gold to mine in what people perceive as my uniquely rich and fun life.

Surprising and sometimes shocking to me, people often tell me that they want a life exactly like mine or that they even want to be me. The most curious is when people comment on how I have more energy than anyone they know because the past few years have been very difficult and I feel pretty exhausted a lot of the time. The reality is that we are all unified in our human experiences and my life is filled with challenges just like everyone else. I take it to heart when people say that they want what I have created and strive to have more fun, more community, more impact on the world with more ease and am committed to articulating the recipe for my authentically ecstatic life filled with dreams that are a daily reality.

Through my initial research I have come to find that the answers are not exactly where you would expect them -- they actually lie in the shadows. It seems that the deeper I embrace the darkness -- the higher I go. The more I surrender to the unknown the more things work out -- actually, almost magically. Combining this with a commitment to fun, pleasure, self love, truth telling and community -- Voila -- a life that people admire and folks in their early twenties want to emulate.

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Yesterday I publicly invited people in to share my "tricks" -- the ways that I can create a party wherever I am, the heartbreak, the beauty and the shadows -- this is a full expression of my passion, my desires - my life's path and practice.

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So let's take a peek at what this morning look liked for me? (Sharing because I was shocked that nobody warned me about the hormonal changes that I might encounter in my late 40s.)

This morning I woke up with panic and anxiety that comes from the insomnia that has become second nature to me for the past five years. I cried for 15 minutes on the phone with a friend and have been trying to force feed myself because I have no appetite. Wow -- always being an incredibly fit and healthy person its been a journey to navigate this time of emotional intensity, weight gain, insomnia and newly diagnosed asthma (which put me in the hospital last year with 65% lung function). I've tried all kinds of conventional and unconventional approaches to these issues and find that I am at my best when I stay the course with my prescription of fun, pleasure, community and embracing and expressing the range of all emotions, especially the grief.

So, as I start counting down the 50 days to 50, the first thing I'm doing is putting a stake in the ground for the full expression of my life and a determination to play bigger, louder and more gently in both the shadow and the light that are the complex and sometimes contradictory realities of all our lives. And if one person is inspired by my experience and eases into their fifties with truth and pleasure..........my mission will be accomplished.

Now here's to all of us, no matter our age -- living our inner rock star!

Follow #50til50 on Instagram @j9thedivine and Twitter -

Earlier on Huff/Post50:

PHOTO GALLERY
50 Things Every Woman Should Have And Know By 50