This year is a big birthday year! Turning the big 5-0 is not as scary as it sounds! I love milestone years and all the rich history that is packed in that number. Bring. It. On.
However, I do remember when my dad turned 50 and for some reason it hit me really hard. Fifty seemed so old then! Fast-forward to today. It feels like all I did was blink a few times and now I’m turning fifty! What? It’s crazy how fast it went!
I’m celebrating it tomorrow in Spain! Since I love to travel it’s the best gift I could get! You can bet I’ll be having sangria! (Or tinto de verano, my new favorite.)
For fun, I borrowed this Q&A from a fellow blogger. (Hop over to Lana‘s blog to read her answers.)
5-0 Birthday Q&A
When and where were you born? Any special stories about your birth?
I was born on October 2, 1967 in Naples, Italy. (You can read more about my birth here.)
Why were you given the first (and middle) names that you have?
My mother got to pick the first name and my father picked the second name. Mom wanted something “exotic” but still easy enough for her Italian family to pronounce. She considered Sharon but ended up with Sheila. Growing up in Sicily where Greek mythology is prevalent and the Odyssey is known by all, my name sounds like the Italian rendering of Scylla of Scylla and Charibdis fame. It is pronounced she-lla (with a heavier pronunciation of the “l”) but written Scilla. When I would explain how my name is spelled they would change the pronunciation to Shay-la because Italian is very phonetic and that is how you would pronounce S-h-e-i-l-a. So very confusing, I know…
When I was baptized in the Roman Catholic church I had to have a third name since the other two weren’t saints’ names. My mom chose Mary. That is now my Starbucks name because I always stutter on Sheila.
What’s your first, most vivid memory?
I must have been around 3 because we were in California so dad could attend school. We had gone to Disneyland and my memory is of the flume ride. I remember that we rode in a log and went up-up-up inside a dark mountain. I could see light coming from the opening at the top of the climb but right above the opening was a scary monster face! It was so scary that I turned and hid my face. Then I remember the big whoosh at the bottom of the hill and getting wet.
What were you like as a child? What did you do for fun?
Being the first-born I was a rule-follower and a good student, but I was very shy. (The first time I ever skipped school I got caught by a parent and was marched to the front office. I was so mortified I never did it again!) As a child, I liked to play with Barbies or my stuffed animals, ride bikes and skates, and read. In middle school I joined the gymnastics team and in high school I played as many sports as I could! I can still do a cartwheel (at 50, yes!) and I still run.
What was the best gift you remember receiving as a child?
I loved stuffed animals and remember getting several as gifts. I also remember getting Nancy Drew books. I also remember one thing I really wanted but never got. It was an Italian doll named Ciccio Bello. That’s probably why I dropped some money on Bitty Baby for my daughter!
What did you want to be when you grew up?
A teacher. I had a teacher in 3rd grade whom I adored and I wanted to be just like Ms. Minor when I grew up. I mean JUST like her! I was going to teach for DoDDs and travel the world. My dream never wavered until I did my student teaching and met Michael. After graduation I decided I didn’t want to teach in a classroom but I did use my degree to teach my own children and now I teach homeschool writing and grammar classes.
Other careers I considered were astronaut and archaeologist or paleontologist.
When did you learn how to drive? What was your first car like?
My dad taught me to drive on a Fiat 126, stick shift in Italy before I moved to the US to attend college. (He taught my son Timothy and my daughter Annie to drive stick on the same kind of car!) In Italy you get your license at 18, and I turned 18 when I was already in college so dad had to teach me before he dropped me off.
My first car was a Fiat 124, and yes, that was in the US. I loved that car but it did give me troubles, so after about a year I traded it in for a new Mazda 323.
How did you spend your previous “decade” birthdays?
How bad is it that I don’t remember any of them except for 40? We were in Italy for my 40th. My parents watched the kids while Michael took me to a beautiful bed and breakfast in Sicily, Donalegge.
How do you feel about growing “old”?
As I like to say, it beats the alternative! But seriously, I know that things change with each passing year – and many of those things are negative – but I love this stage of life. I’m much more confident (and that’s saying a lot for a shy introvert!) and content. I’m healthy and I do not take that for granted. I am blessed with a loving family and friends who are like family. I love community (is that weird for an introvert?) and am so grateful for where God has placed me. I do not take growing old as a negative. On the contrary! Life gets better and better with each passing year! Ole’!
Here’s to the next 50!