Today I am 50, which feels like a cause to both celebrate and cringe at (but maybe not in the way you think). Last year when I turned 49, I wrote about owning your age; so many women spend so much effort denying or pretending they aren’t as old as they are and it’s a shame. Age, and the experience and wisdom that comes with it, should be honored. I know that Americans don’t like their women to grow old, but it is (if you’re lucky) a fact of life. Like your 20s, 30s and 40s, your 50s should be just as great. Maybe even better. So this post is my small contribution to try and change old-fashioned ideas on ageism. Plus my birthday is now officially International Women’s Day so why not.
What’s great about being 50? I can still run five miles as easily as I could at 30. I can hold a plank for 5 minutes (thank you SLT) which I couldn’t at 30 (not that I really tried). The “I don’t give a damn what you think about me” attitude that really started to take hold in the last couple of years, is in full-throttle. I have enough life under my belt to know that insecurities, anger and envy are a waste of time. FOMO isn’t an issue, I have invested heavily in things that matter most to me—my daughters, husband, family and how I live my life, that I not only content with what I have, I treasure it deeply.
Do I still have a major checklist of things I want to accomplish? Hell yes. But I am only investing my energy when it feels really right, which means sometimes saying “no” more often than “yes”. That said, I also feel like there is still so much to learn and make a point of keeping an open mind to new ideas. I am constantly inspired. There is a possibility that I will be cantankerous when I’m 80, but I hope not. (Did you see 86-year-old Rita Moreno wearing the same dress she wore in 1962 and 93-year-0ld Eva Marie Saint both crush it at the Oscars? #goals.)
What makes me cringe? That I qualify for AARP benefits, as if 50 is over the hill rather than the halfway point in adulthood. Have you ever looked at an AARP commercial? The actors in it aren’t 50….many can’t be 65. No one lumps 30 and 50 year olds together, so please don’t put me with the septuagenarians yet thank you—it’s an insult to as all.
As much as I feel the same, I am curious to see if I get treated differently when I tell people my age which I am going to do a lot this year—just casually throw it into conversation, especially with women I meet for the first time. (Okay, not in a weird in-your-face way, but subtly.) My hope is that by embracing and celebrating being 50, it will feel less scary to others. Some of the fiercest women I know are in their 50s—they are inquisitive, have infectious energy, and are all-in all the time. They are a force you want on your side. I cannot wait to see what they’re like in 20 years. Will I be fierce in my 50s? I hope so. In the meantime, let the party begin!