When my now 18-year-old was a toddler, a family friend threw herself a huge 50th birthday party. Wearing a bright purple dress and dancing to Aretha Franklin, she exuded the vibe that turning fifty is fabulous. In fact, she confided in me that all the emotional and physical acts we think are the best in our 30s are nothing compared to how fabulous they are at 50!
While she swore up and down that it was the truth, my 33-year-old self scoffed at the idea that fifty is fabulous.
Then, when my kids were adorable elementary or early middle school ages, I remember watching local moms who had high school or college-aged kids. I almost pitied these “wise,” “experienced” – OK – “older” moms. I mean, their kids were basically out of their daily lives and they were, well, middle-aged.
Then I blinked. Now, I am an older mom.
I’m not kidding, I think I only blinked and now I’m fifty.
Phew, Made It
And, well friends, I did it. I survived for 50 years. I know, it comes as a shock to me, too since I’ve had a rough go at times. The best part is that I didn’t just survive. I have bruises, achievements, laughs, sobs, losses and adventures. I’ve lived! When I look back at my last 50 years, I realize something. Ironically, those older moms and our family friend were spot on. Being this age is wonderful.
See, fifty has a bad rap for being the age of hot flashes, weight gain, weak bones and sensible shoes. Yet, I’m the fittest I’ve been in since college, and I own my first pair of high red boots (OK the hot flashes part is accurate). Conversely, at 30, I was pregnant with terrible maternity clothing, wore definitely sensible shoes, and felt unsure of anything I was doing.
Entering Act II
The idea of turning fifty – and the synonymous phase in life my friends and I are in – IS awesome! We’re at a point of unlimited choices at our feet and more time to embrace them. Since we’ve marinated a bit in life, we know what we want. Shirley MacLaine said, “I think of life itself now as a wonderful play that I’ve written for myself, and so my purpose is to have the utmost fun playing my part.”
Shout it, ladies! “I’m in Act Two of my play, and I am owning my part!”
10 Joys of Being Older
Here are ten ways why we all should embrace our progressive theatric role with passion and how fifty is fabulous:
- Not pregnant – See? I’m winning already.
- Self-Knowledge – Whether it’s in the boardroom, the bedroom, my community, with other humans, and in life. I know what I want. Plus, I don’t need to ask permission to go for it. Turns out, I can hold my own. No matter in what situation is happening, it is more than likely not my first time at the rodeo. The saying, “The more you know, the more you realize how much you don’t know.” Yep. That.
- Older Kids – Sure, I loved my years of having babies. It was wonderful! But this time in my life when my kids are older is so, so sweet. They are cool people. The are my people who now have MY back. The joy I feel watching them soar is unmeasurable.
- Freedom from Pleasing Others – This one took me longer than necessary to learn. But I am blessed to have learned that if pleasing others is my goal in life, then I will never succeed. That is not my job.
- Communication Skills – This goes with the self knowledge gig. Consequently, you always know where you stand with me. I don’t have time for mind games. Additionally, I am not worried about ruffling feathers if I express or share what I feel, need or believe in. We’re grown-ups.
- Wrinkles – You know what? I don’t mind my wrinkles. They are a mark of honor and a life lived. There are my adventure lines.
- Laughter – I laugh more easily than I used to. Not nervous laughter, but joyous. Up until 40, I always took myself and life much too seriously. For example, I’m a horrible dancer. I’m not quite ‘Elaine from Seinfeld‘ bad, but it’s not pretty. However, I no longer care (apologies I advance to my husband). And I will probably always be a bit anal retentive, but now I find it funny and a bit useful.
- Stories – The more time that passes the more fun stories I have to tell. I have stories that involve more and more people – some year after year. Stories are my experiences, journeys, adventures. There’s wisdom and comfort in this.
- Confidence – It took a lot of loss and heartbreak to learn who I am and where my confidence lies. At 50, we all can have the kind of prowess that can only come with self-knowledge, self-acceptance, and a lack of self-consciousness. Boom.
- The grass is green on MY side – Looking at what everyone else is doing and comparing it to my life is for the birds. I like it on my side of the fence. I don’t even look on the other side anymore.
Fifty IS Fabulous
You see, turning 50 not a punishment: It’s a privilege. It’s liberating. Plus, it’s a period of time that I am excited to embrace. I want to see what this decade offers. When my mom turned 50, I was eighteen years old. I had the whole world and years of life ahead of me.
You know what the beauty is?
My son is now 18. He AND I have the whole world and years of life ahead of us. Just like you do. And we can all do it our own way.