In a way I can’t really believe I’m writing this post. 50!! I don’t know how this happened. I know it’s been looming. Once you hit your mid-forties you start thinking about it. But it always seemed a long way off. Of course the signs have been there for awhile now. The grey hair that I am desperately trying to hide, the weight gain that is getting harder and harder to lose, the sagging jawline, the lines around the eyes, the deteriorating eyesight, the onset of menopause. But seriously, how did I arrive here so quickly. I certainly don’t feel 50 but I’m not sure what feeling 50 should even feel like. I don’t feel any different to how I felt in my early 30’s. I’ve been thinking a lot about turning 50. What lessons have I learnt? What is to come? Here are some of my thoughts on turning 50.
When I turned 40 I was OK. I still thought of this as middle age. Middle of my life. 40 done, 40 to go. But the decade that has followed and brought me to 50 (and boy did that decade go) has made me realise that in fact I am closer to death than birth. That is really confronting isn’t it?! And in reality I’ve probably only got 25 good, healthy, active years left in me. If I’m lucky. Longer if I’m really lucky. Although given my misspent youth it is most unlikely. 25 years!! Man there is so much I want to fit into that 25 years. Travel, work. Suddenly there is this huge sense of urgency.
In a way there is a freedom that comes with that sense of urgency. During your earlier decades when you think you have all the time in the world to achieve your goals and do all the things, some of us (read me) tend to put things off. Now with the thought that I’m on limited time I don’t care about the little things anymore and I’m just really determined to do all the things I’ve wanted to. What other people think about me and the decisions I make doesn’t matter any more. I no longer care what the world tells me I should be doing. All of those big goals I’ve been thinking about doing for so many years, well now I’m just going to get in and do it!! I feel liberated.
I am not changing the way I dress to conform to society’s views of how a 50 year old should dress. Call me mutton dressed as lamb – I don’t give a damn. I will wear a bikini – I’ve honestly never felt more comfortable in my body as I do now. Which brings me to my next point.
I don’t care what people think of me anymore. Take me or leave me. I am not hung up on trying to please everyone. I am happy and comfortable in my skin. This is who I am. I don’t need anyone’s approval anymore. I give myself permission to get on with my life. I wish I’d had this confidence in my twenties. Youth is so wasted on the young.
I have learnt to say no with ease and no guilt.
I see through the bullshit – I’ve always been a really good judge of character but that particular super power seems to be heightened as I get older. I can see a mile off the people who are all about themselves. I don’t need these people in my life.
People who listen – really listen – are hard to find. When you do find them, hang on to them. They will be your dearest friends.
Remain silly – I have so many friends who from the moment they turned 30 decided it was time to act like a grown up and took that role very seriously. I’ve never quite understood that attitude myself.
Do all the things – try not say to no to anything. Even if it scares you – say yes! You’ll work it out as you go. Yes to new experiences, to the things you think you can’t do or don’t have the time to do. Say yes to everything! Time is going so quickly and with ageing comes a sense of urgency to fit everything in. The bucket list is growing and time is lessening.
Don’t sweat the small stuff – and it’s all small stuff. I read this book a couple of decades ago and it resonated so much. I was determined to take it all on board. However, I am still guilty of sweating the small stuff but it is something I continually work on. Because I am notorious for worrying too much and stressing over the little things.
Don’t expect too much from people and you won’t be disappointed.
I realise how lucky I am to have both my parents living close by and alive and healthy. This is a great comfort to me, that I know I didn’t appreciate as much in my early years.
I’m really thankful now that I had my last child at 40. At the time it was the most traumatic, exhausting thing I’d ever been through. Now however, well I honestly think she keeps me young. Most of my friends are a good decade younger than me and I don’t feel like the old woman amongst them. I slot right in. I think what I’ve come to realise after all this time is that age really IS just a number. I don’t feel 50, I don’t feel any age. I just feel like me.
I have such a deep love and appreciation for my children who are growing up so quickly. I feel the empty nest is not too far away and it scares me.
And finally and most importantly – I’m here! And that is a privilege that is denied to so many. I’ve lost so many friends and acquaintances over the years. I can’t help but think how incredibly lucky I am.
It’s taken me a long time to arrive at this place but at long last I am happy, healthy, confident, full of love and and optimism. xx
Coincidentally, the night before my birthday, the ABC screened a really interesting doco about mid life women and how they are coping with it. There was so much on there that resonated with me. Have a look. It is still available on iView for a few more days : Sharon Horgan’s Women On The Verge Of A Midlife Crisis
How are you going with the ageing process? Is 50 looming for you or another milestone age? Have you already reached 50? How do you feel about it?