How to Celebrate Your 50th Birthday

FOR DOWNLOAD MORE GALLERY Christine Schweickert was bored with birthdays by the time she turned 50, so she decided to do something daring.
I’d always been overly shy about my body.

Being an only girl and having a heart condition that precluded me from taking gym class and, therefore, having to disrobe in front of others, even wearing a swimsuit was torture. You can see that in old pictures of me: I’m curled into myself, as if to prevent a good look at my body.

So for my landmark 50th birthday, I had to do something big.

Something I never would have imagined myself doing. I asked local artist Pat Callahan to sketch me. In the nude. The sketches are beautiful — soft strokes of pastels on textured paper.

One hangs in Cliff’s and my bedroom. (I hid it when the remodeling contractors were here.)

It still unnerves me to remember posing for the portrait, but the important thing is that I did.
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