In a couple of weeks, I turn 50. I have sat at the computer for hours, staring at the empty screen trying to find the right words to express my thoughts about reaching this milestone. You see, I’m a bit confused as to how I am supposed to feel about turning the Big 5-O and how I am supposed to celebrate this momentous occasion! While I am leaning toward the idea of throwing some wild soiree to start the new century (gosh, that feels weird typing that) off right, another part of me feels like hiding in a tent made from the hundreds of AARP pamphlets that keep showing up in my mailbox.
I don’t feel 50. But I checked my birth certificate and did the math and, sure enough, I am turning it! I am not sure what 50 is supposed to really feel like anyway. I guess that is what has me so baffled. Is 50 really the new 30, or is it permission to break out the elastic waistband sweats and surrender? While I must admit the idea of forgiving, comfy pants does have some appeal to me, I am certainly not ready to give up. In fact, I feel like I have just begun!
I don’t want 50 to be the new 30, either. At 30, I was so wrapped up in the way I looked, being a good wife, social status, and trying to be super working mom. My need to be perfect was exhausting. Sure, my boobs were perky, my butt didn’t sag, and I dyed my hair because I wanted to and not out of necessity. But I was so tired I couldn’t see straight! Who would want to do that again? Not me. Heck, I need a nap just thinking about it.
I get why people would want to try to make 50 seem younger, though. In our society, aging is almost looked at as an illness instead of something magical. I know so many women who are terrified by the idea of getting older. To them, turning 50 is all about menopause, greying hair, and the inevitable sagging of neck skin. They seem completely unaware of the wisdom, poise and beauty that also comes with years of living. I am so grateful for being able to see these positive traits, at least most of the time. They make the popping sounds I hear while getting out of bed a lot easier to tolerate.
No, 50 is not the new 30! (Thank goodness.) 50 is 50! Fabulous, freeing 50! Filled with a sense of self, contentment, and an appreciation for life. I know what is important now, and worrying about my age and what others think about me is not! No longer do I feel the need to look backward with regret. My 50 years of living have taught me that forward is the only way to reach the top. And I plan on getting there with a margarita in my hand and a spring in my step. (But not too fast a step. After all, the knees are not what they used to be.)