Some people seem to be traumatized when they hit a big birthday. Not me. Though I loved the 40’s decade, I’m absolutely thrilled to be hitting 50 this week. Why?
- Wisdom/perspective – I was a pretty stupid young woman. I worried about things that were unimportant, beyond my control, or just none of my business. Things can still get under my skin but much less frequently and intensely. Instead, I choose to find forgiveness, acceptance, and a sense of opportunity where I previously felt anger or frustration.
- Self-knowledge – I know myself so much better now, even though I thought I knew myself well back then. I, like everyone else out there, have some pretty darn amazing qualities which I am finally learning to appreciate and develop. The inner journey is as enriching and exciting as anything else in our external world, and well worth the trouble.
- Self-acceptance – I like myself so much better now that I’ve decided to quit hating on myself. How ridiculously unfair and counter-productive is that ticker tape of self-criticism. It’s not motivating. It’s damaging and abusive.
- Reasonable body self-image – I try to tell every young woman to enjoy the great body you have, even if you think it’s not so great. Bodies of all ages are beautiful, so be proud of the health and stamina you have now and enjoy it.
- Security – Financial and career security does wonders for my peace of mind and well-being. My career isn’t over by any means but I don’t have to worry about proving myself any more.
- Deep relationships – There is something distinctly different between a new friendship and one you’ve had for decades. I have unspeakable gratitude for the relationships I have with dear friends and family that span the ages. In addition, I’m better at nurturing relationships now instead of piling on damaging and unhelpful expectations.
- Not taking life for granted – Seeing loved ones die and facing one’s own mortality reminds me of how precious life is. I think this is lesson I will learn much more deeply as time goes on, but for now, I’m aware that each day on earth is a precious gift.
- A sense of connection – In my advancing age, I’m also much more in tune with the connection between us. It’s not just my personal relationships, but this connection spans all of nature and humanity. This connection fuels my sense of purpose and love for all. This sure beats feeling all alone in the world.
- A sense of wonder – Allowing myself to be open to the wonders of life and the world feels like it has opened up a universe of beauty and awe. What if we can approach life with the openness of a child? Perhaps we can find kindness, beauty and wonder even in the inane and insipid.
It’s hard for me to imagine the 50’s being a better decade than the 40’s but I’m going to make it even more amazing. Wrinkles, sagging, grey hair, and fading memory aside, I’m going to embrace this new phase of my life with zest and a sense of discovery. What can you do differently to engage with your life more completely? You don’t have to wait until you’re 50!