So I have a confession to make but don’t tell anyone. I am in the last week of my 49th year on this planet. Yup, I will turn the BIG 50 in May! I remember when my mom turned 50. The neighbors had a little get together for her and someone announced her age. She was mortified. When I was in my 30’s I always joked with my friend’s daughter that I was still a teenager. Then I bought a house and she came to me with a sly smile and said “You can’t be a teenager”. When I asked why she laughed and said “teenager’s don’t buy their own houses”.
When I bought a Mini Cooper in my early 40’s a friend told me it was my mid-life crisis car. I laughed it off because 40 was NOT mid-life. When I turned 45 I remember going to a St. Patrick’s Day bash and having to walk outside to get some fresh air as I was being attacked by my very first hot flash from hell. I still denied being in some “mid-life” period of my time on this earth. I remember doing the math and although intellectually 45×2=90 I still didn’t feel old.
But now with the BIG 50 looming on the horizon it is hard to deny that I am not only firmly in mid-life, I have even rounded the corner and can accept my life is more than half over. The math is easy on this one. Let’s see, 50×2=100! Even in my career working with the elderly I have only met a handful of centenarians! But I still don’t feel old!
Something weird happened when I turned 45 or so and I’m not sure I can put my finger on it. I started to realize I wanted more out of life. I started to devour self-help book which I had previously scorned. I wanted to learn how to live my life with more purpose and meaning. I wanted to stop shopping and going to bars and watching television as recreation. I wanted to understand myself better and to be comfortable with who I was as a daughter, a sister, a partner and a friend.
Does everyone go thru such a transitional phase at this stage in life? I hope so. Asking questions such as “who am I?”, “what is my purpose?”, “what is important to me?” and “what makes me happy?” helps you figure out if the life you are living is meaningful to yourself. These questions are good for the soul! When I was younger I would hear my elders tell me how much they were enjoying their 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s. When you are 20 you think no way. But as I am quickly approaching 50, I get it! As you get older, you understand yourself better. You have figured out the answers to some of those self-reflective questions and life starts to get easier. Dare I say it starts to make sense?
I have 5 older sisters and have seen them turn 50 and beyond and every last one of them seems vibrant. Some of my close friend have passed this milestone as well and they too seem young and strong. Hell Mother Fran will turn… Oh, I value my life too much to reveal that.
Turning 50 is kind of a BIG DEAL. I am happy to be able to spend my 50th in NYC with 3 friends I have known since I was 18. As I look back over the last 50 years, I like what I see. I like the person I am and the manner in which I live my life and interact with others. I also like the people my friends have become. They are as easy to be friends with now as they were when we were in college. I also get to spend my birthday with my partner and her daughter which will make it even more special.
I don’t understand why people think turning 50 is difficult. It isn’t like you have to tell everyone. Then again AARP just mailed me a membership deal offer; apparently everyone already knows. Being the optimist I will simply celebrate the membership discounts! They seriously have good discounts and who doesn’t like a bargain? 50 is the new 30 right?
Happily turning 50. Lake Girl!