Party of 1…Sometimes It’s a Very QUIET Reflective Celebration!


by Carmen Milagro

I began planning my 50th birthday eight years ago and all of a sudden poof it was here and then poof it was gone! Ijole!

However, I was able to photo-document the last month of being “in my 40s” by taking a VERY close look at my face in daily “selfie” portraits! Each and every day for 31 days I took close-up photos of my face to memorize, analyze and yes, criticize my skin, mis arujas, my grey hair and baggy eyes!

Photo courtesy of Carmen Milagro.

Photo courtesy of Carmen Milagro.

But it was also in this “in-depth self-examination process” that I got creative! I began writing in earnest. I invented a new proprietary formula skincare product that I am in the process of launching now! AND I began to improve upon my sense of self and purpose. I also embarked on an introspective journey into the actual reasons to celebrate my transition into my 50s! Surrounded by my sister, nephews, my niece as well as some wonderful lifelong friends I am phenomenally blessed! The birthday celebrations started before I left for Paris on July 6th and will continue in various forms for at least the next 50 days!

Photo courtesy of Matt Banks /

Photo courtesy of Matt Banks /

My birthday happens to fall on Bastille Day, July 14th. My dream was to turn 50 at the Eiffel Tower surrounded by fireworks and the love of my life. I got them both and more fireworks than I ever dreamed possible! It was surreal to actually be there as the clock struck midnight and the fireworks started going off over various neighborhoods throughout the city. For one split second, I celebrated my 50th year on this earth while pretending the fireworks were for me!

While enjoying the view from Le Jules Verne restaurant, alone at the window, taking it all in, the “movie reel of my life” started playing in my head. These last few years have been incredibly joyful and wonderful while at the same time, amazingly sad and extremely difficult filled with many losses; financial, emotional, spiritual as well as the loss of self (temporarily), the loss of other family ties and the loss of love.

I would say the most difficult loss of all was losing my Mami to cancer. Quite honestly, I do not think I will ever fully recover or view the life in the same way as when she was in my life. She was my solace and loved me unconditionally. She was my safe place.

Although, I am fortunate to have so many other loved ones who want to celebrate my 50th with me with dinners and get togethers (for which I am forever grateful) it has come to my attention, especially at the age of 50, that sometimes some of my best celebrations are when I am alone and relaxed while I am working or reading quietly, burning some beautiful candles as I cleanse the air around me…. I feel safe. I feel cherished and adored not by a person per say, but by the universe. I feel loved because I am love. I am not insecure, or jealous and I do not have to justify my existence to anyone.

When I am in a peaceful solitary state, in a reflective mode to reassess, re-evaluate and re-energize myself, I begin to be clear once again about the direction of my life. I remember who I am and whom I’m meant to spend my time with and most important of all, I once again realize that the only person who can provide me with all the things that are important and necessary for my survival, is me. I am the only one who can “provide” what I need:

  • A safe emotional place
  • A safe place to hold onto my dreams, not have to take on someone else’s ideals and dreams
  • A safe place to share our dreams and create new ones…together
  • A safe spiritual place
  • A safe place where I am not judged
  • A safe place where my past is not used against me, my present is celebrated to the fullest and my future is not jeopardized
  • A safe place where I feel accepted 100% as I am
  • A safe place where I am deeply loved for all my good qualities and intentions
  • A safe place where I am forgiven for all my errors, idiosyncrasies and faults
  • A safe place where I am empowered and nurtured
  • A safe place where I am esteemed for my wisdom
  • A safe place filled with patience for all the things I have yet to learn
  • A safe place where I am not abandoned at the first sign of turmoil
  • A safe space to be me

It is most certainly a HUGE responsibility to provide all these things for myself but I am up to it. Finally, I do not need to lean on anyone else to provide for me. There is a HUGE difference in wanting to spend my life with that special person and “needing” to spend it with just anyone, so as not to be lonely. I am lucky, I know who I love.

These last few years have been quite challenging and filled with betrayals & misrepresentations in my life. However, this is my time for reflection on my terms and I am ready. I will not lose my way. I will stay true to mine own course and I WILL manifest the life I want to lead. I have made some pretty good headway and made some very good attempts in the past so I am confident I can do this now. I am truly convinced, once this, my life’s foundation, is firmly set, everything else (all the worldly requests) will fall right into place and not a moment before.

I am re-creating this place for myself once again in the manner that my now 50-year-old-self requires and I cannot think of a better birthday present or a better QUIET celebration! It’s rather late but I have much more to reflect upon, so off I go on my walk around my city, San Francisco, to reclaim it since I am not in France today.

As for tomorrow? Why, more champagne with friends of course!

You can view photos from Carmen’s journey visit