Own Your Fifty

Ever since I entered my 50’s I’ve had many people say to me, “Don’t worry, fifty is the new thirty.” As if I needed comforting or something. As if it is preferable to live in a state of denial.

Here’s the thing (yes, yes, there’s always a thing): I don’t want to be thirty. I like myself a lot more now than I did then. As a matter of fact, if I were to meet the me of 20 years ago, I’d probably give her a stern lecture about some of the bonehead decisions she is about to make.

I also genuinely believe that my generation is probably going to be the last to squeak through life while the environment on this planet is relatively habitable. That makes me sad for future generations, because it’s not their fault that we have done so much to destroy their world, and so little to fix our mistakes.

I’m glad I won’t be around for the riots over water, and won’t have to watch the ever-increasing population fight over the ever-shrinking coastlines. I’d really rather not experience the mega-storms. I’d prefer to skip the time when most bugs are resistant to antibiotics.

I also don’t feel that 50 is so freakin’ bad. My body might be a little slower getting started in the morning, but it still functions. I’m still perfectly capable of having new experiences and seeing new sights. I know that there is still much for me to create and write about and do. My future is still unpredictable enough to be exciting.

My advice to you is to own your age. Embrace it. Don’t look at aging as a source of shame, but rather as an accumulation of knowledge and life experience. That’s something to be proud of.

The fact is, we all have an expiration date. When I was 30, that thought scared me. Now, it’s kind of comforting, and I’m okay with it. I don’t mind playing my part in a much bigger picture. In fact, that’s exactly what I want to do.

I bet there is some interesting stuff in those drawers!

8 thoughts on “Own Your Fifty

  1. I appreciate the candor that your observations consistently offer a reader. I appreciate your daily posts for how they cause me to think. As I drink my morning coffee and consider how I embrace being my older self, I am smiling.

    On being 50-plus myself: I too appreciate the “me” I have become because of my life experiences and my ability to learn from them. The perspective I bring to most any conversation is a more thoughtful one; and I am a better listener than I ever was at 20 or 30. I wish we treated the planet better too. I do what I can to reduce my carbon footprint and pass along this idea to my daughter. She’s pretty conscious in that area for a 16 yo already.

    I am also reminded of one of my favorite family members as I read this post. Her name is Florence Jackson and she was my great-grandmother. The life lessons she taught me (by how she lived and let others be their own person) have informed how I am as a person and a parent.

    Nothing seemed to shock her. She had lost a husband in WWI, raised two young sons till they were of age before she remarried, survived her elder son (my grandfather who had a heart attack in his 50s), and enjoyed a happy second marriage of 40+ years before she lost her partner to a stroke. I loved her stories, her resilience, and her vitality. She had seen a lot of life by the time I was 15 and the striking thing about her perspective was how open she was to new things. Why? She had seen a lot of change in her 70 plus years of living. And as long as she could play her piano and pinochle with her fellow grandmothers, make an abundance of pancakes on the seasoned table top griddle for her family on a weekend, and make the occasional trip to Lake Tahoe and the Black Jack tables, life was a good thing.

    I find myself wondering though, what would she have to say about how humans as a species are treating the planet and each other? I’m certain she would speak candidly too!

  2. Elaine

    Thinking back on my youth, I remember how much time I spent in hair and make up and just the right clothes just to go to the grocery. At 65 I really just find jeans and a tee and some comfortable shoes to go just about anywhere. I twirl my gray hair up into a clip and apply a bit of powder. There you go..take it or leave it. I know who I am, what I can do and where I fit in my world. That said, when I go to visit my 95 year old mother, I do try a little harder to fit into her vision of the world, but not too much. After all, she knew me when I didn’t have a stitch to wear.

  3. lyn sutton

    Growing up I always appreciated my elders knowledge and experience. I learned a lot listening to them but don’t see that much in the younger generations today. What I see is older people being ridiculed for their years and thus pressured into denying their age and young girls in their 20’s worrying that they’re starting to look old. Maybe we need to discuss why that is happening so we can reverse this trend because I refuse to dye my hair or get a face, boob or butt lift. Why can’t we accept age (and death) as a natural process and stop fearing it. Besides, if you want to impress with how great you look, just lie and say you are 10-15 years older (not younger) than you are and see how amazed people are at how young you look for your age. Easier and cheaper then surgery. 🙂

  4. lyn sutton

    Well I can be pretty stimulating. On the phone, young people engage with me assuming I’m in my 20’s (little girls voice), but face to face, when they realize I’m old, they tend to shut down. Their eyes glaze over and quickly dart back to the security of their phones. As they desperately type and swipe away hoping I won’t infect them with my oldness I’ll say something shocking to stimulate them. I tell them I’d like to hear their point of view. If that don’t work I threaten to strip naked… 🙂

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