Black balloons and “over the hill.” As I near my 50th birthday, there is a tendency to feel loss and regret. True, I may have lost my youthfulness with its sureness and efficiency. I am not as strong or quick as I once was. I no longer think I’m invincible; I know the things I cannot do and the dreams which will not come true. My family has changed. I’ve lost those sweet babies who have now grown into independent adults. However it is my hope that with these losses come new opportunities and, dare I say, wisdom. As I move forward, I will search for these opportunities as I build the second half of my life. I will explore the parts of me that I can be sure of and find new dreams I can pursue. I want my half century mark to be a time of celebration as I find my path on the other side of that hill. I write this, hesitantly and humbly, for myself; but you are welcome to share my coming of age journey.